About Nanaimo & Vancouver Island

Referred to as The Harbour City, Nanaimo is a vibrant community of 84,000 people along the east coast of Vancouver Island. Located on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, Nanaimo is sheltered by the mainland with views of the Georgia Strait. The city has over 1,400 hectares of protected green space. Vancouver Island is renowned for its desirable lifestyle, being voted the Best Island in Canada by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Quick Tips and Facts

Currency Exchange

Exchange services are available at financial institutions throughout the city. You’ll also find ATMs at the airport and ferry terminals. U.S. currency is not widely accepted in Nanaimo.

Legal Drinking Age & Limits

B.C. law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 19. The province’s impaired driving laws, with blood-alcohol content limits of 0.05, are the toughest in the country.

Sales Taxes

Taxes on the sale of goods and services are levied at 5% GST and 7% PST. Goods and services that are exempt from PST are: unprocessed foods, restaurants, motor fuel, children’s clothes and footwear, legal services, massage therapy, vitamins, repair services, and taxis.

Weather & Climate

Vancouver Island has a very temperate climate – one of the mildest in all of Canada – with no extremes in heat or cold. Summers are sunny and warm, but not uncomfortably so. Winters are often cool, cloudy, and rainy – make sure you have your umbrella! Nanaimo is centrally located on the island, and being on the east coast of the Island, is sheltered by the mainland. While the West Coast can see some intense winds and rainfall during the winter, Nanaimo weather is relatively mild.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Month Max Temp °C (°F) Min Temp °C (°F)
January 6.2° (43°) -0.8° (43°)
March 10.9° (52°) 1.3° (34°)
May 17.8° (64°) 6.7° (44°)
July 24° (75°) 11.8° (53°)
September 20.9° (70°) 8.6° (47°)
November 9.1° (48°) 1.5° (35°)
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