Nanaimo : Vancouver Island –One Short Stopover

Last day at Parksville but we headed out early to Nanaimo for a short stopover before heading back to mainland.


Before departing from Parksville, we had lunch at this place called Lefty’s Restaurants, which was opened by Leftys.  We had some delicious pancakes and a special brunch omelets ( I don’t know the name because it wasn’t on the online menu).

wine menu on a wine bottle
salmon omelette

After brunch, we were on our way back home to Vancouver.  We drove back to Nanaimo to get on the ferry, but since we had a bit of time (or so we thought),  we decided to do a mini tour of the town.

old bookstore – children area
old bookstore

They have a downtown, which was a little more south than Departure Bay, where our ferry was.  I’ve never been to Nanaimo, so I thought it would be nice to check out the second largest town on Vancouver Island.

Nanaimo city center
Nanaimo City Center

The impression of the town was … quiet, and not that impressive.  I think the most interesting part was the old bookstores that lined the main street.

Nanaimo Museum
Nanaimo Museum

The other place we stopped by was the Nanaimo Museum.  Admission was only $2 and they cramped everything inside from old photos and memorabilia, to a replica of a ships, Chinese medicine store, classroom and even a coal mine.  For $2, it was pretty good price, particularly on a cold rainy day.


We walked around the waterfront after.  It was smaller pier, with some boats lining the pier.  The most famous landmark in Nanaimo is the Bastion, which was built in 1853 by the Hudson’s Bay Company.  It original purpose was to defend the coal mines.  Normally, it is opened to the public, but it was closed for renovations during out visit.

Nanaimo Bar

The thing I was really looking forward to was the Nanaimo Bar but the chocolate store I wanted to do to wasn’t opened that day.  Therefore, we went to another café just across the street.  In the cafe, we had to grab our own menu and find our own seats.  A waitress will then come by to take the order from us.  I didn’t really think the pastries was that fresh but I just ate it and made our way out.

Old Quarter

The final place we went to in Nanaimo was the Old City Quarters, or the original downtown.  The free guides were really selling this place but it looked very much like a residential area with some stores on the ground floor.  A lot of the homes are ‘heritage homes’ but again, it wasn’t that impressive.  Perhaps I was looking too forward to it, so I had a bit of a letdown.


Happily, we were on our way out to Departure Bay but so did a lot of people.  We weren’t able to make the next ferry back to Horseshoe Bay, which meant we needed to wait another 2 hours at the terminal.  There is a small Quay in the area, where passengers can grab some food and shop for souvenirs but we elected to stay inside the car to take advantage of the free WiFi and watch movies  until we can get on the ferry.


By night, we made it on the ferry and we had the same White Spot dinner as the first day.

.. and we were back in Vancouver.  Happy New years!

Date of Visit: January 2nd 2016



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