Tourism Info

Ask an expert - views

Heading near the water will give you some of the city
Heading near the water will give you some of the city's most spectacular views.
— image credit: The News Bulletin

Where can people go for the best views of Nanaimo?

When it comes to catching a glimpse of the Harbour City, its best attribute could just be its geography.

“Nanaimo is a vertical city,” said Gail Adrienne, Nanaimo and Area Land Trust executive director. “You can start climbing at the water and it’s a rare place that doesn’t have some kind of a view.”

The cream of the crop is, of course, Mount Benson with its panoramic views extending well beyond the city’s boundaries.

But if a three-hour hike up the mountain is not for you, fear not – there are plenty of spots easily accessible to capture the beauty of Nanaimo.

Adrienne’s list of best views is broken into two categories: from the hills and from the water.

“You can get up a hill quickly and easily on foot or bike, or a short drive for those people who are not very ambulatory,” she said.

The hill list includes: the Westwood Ridges – not nearly as high as Mount Benson, yet a tremendous view just the same; Vancouver Island University or a little higher up the hill into College Heights; Cottle Hill or the north ridges of Linley Valley; and Sugarloaf Mountain Park in Departure Bay.

Of course, some of Nanaimo’s oldest streets – Fitzwilliam, Kennedy, Milton or Albert – provide some good views as well.

Visitors to Nanaimo get one of the best views when arriving from the Lower Mainland on B.C. Ferries or float planes, and ferries from Gabriola, Newcastle and Protection islands give tourists and residents an up-close look at Nanaimo from the sea.

“Whether it’s a ferry, power boat or kayak, you can get out and see Nanaimo from our protected waters,” said Adrienne. “Just look at the view from the Dinghy Dock Pub.”

Those who enjoy a little exercise can also see all that Nanaimo has to offer with a visit to Jack Point and Biggs parks near the Duke Point ferry terminal.

“We are really blessed with views that horizontal cities like Victoria would love to have,” said Adrienne. “Yet, our views are often taken for granted. People should get out and enjoy how beautiful Nanaimo truly is.”

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