10 Facts – Nanaimo

Located on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, and occasionally known as both ‘the Bathtub Racing Capitol of the World’ and ‘Harbour City’ (I know which title I’d prefer), the city of Nanaimo has played an important role in the development of both Vancouver Island as well as British Columbia as a whole and, to honor that, here are ten historical facts about the city:

  1. The area where Nanaimo would eventually appear was originally occupied by the Coast Salish Peoples who called it Snueymuxw (Snuh-NAY-moo)

    The Indigenous People of Nanaimo; image from wikipedia.

    The Indigenous People of Nanaimo; image from wikipedia.

  2. It is the third oldest city in British Columbia
  3. The first Europeans to arrive in Nanaimo Bay were with the 1791 voyage of the Spanish Juan Carrasco
  4. The city began as a trading post in the early 19th century
  5. It was called Colevile Town until 1860 when the name was changed to Nanaimo; at this time the name Colevile was stricken from all maps and records
  6. In its early days the town was know chiefly as an exporter if coal

    The Nanaimo Dunsmuir Coal Warf. Imagr from www.historytothepeople.ca

    The Nanaimo Dunsmuir Coal Warf. Imagr from http://www.historytothepeople.ca

  7. In 1853 the Bastion was built in order to protect the harbour and its surrounding area

    The Nanaimo Bastion; image from www2.viu.ca

    The Nanaimo Bastion; image from www2.viu.ca

  8. The first immigrants arrived in 1854 and they arrived from London by way of Honolulu
  9. Near the end of 1854 the first census was order which determined that there were 151 people in the white population, 32 dwelling houses, 3 shops, 6 outhouses, 1 school with 29 students; no one was over 60, 15 people were between 50-60, and nearly 1/2 were under the age of 20
  10. In the 1940’s lumber finally supplanted coal as the number 1 industry
Nanaimo in the 1940's. Image from www2.viu.ca

Nanaimo in the 1940’s. Image from www2.viu.ca

For more information check out the City of Nanaimo site and Tourism Nanaimo website.

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