Nanaimo was a scheduled rest stop on my journey across Vancouver Island from Victoria to Tofino, and I was determined to find out a little about the town that created “Canada’s Favourite Confection.”
Getting to Nanaimo seems to be pretty easy. Of course, I rode up via motorcycle from Victoria, but the city is reachable easily by air via the many seaplanes that come in and out of the harbor and also BC Ferries which run to two terminals near Vancouver (Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay).
The city has a great Harbourfront Walkway where you can watch the Ferries roll by in the distance. The walkway connects to Maffeo Sutton Park to the north, which is filled with public art, people enjoying the sun and many festivals throughout the year.
I found this last example of public art to be interesting. This is Frank Ney, former mayor of Nanaimo (for 21 years!). Anyway, Frank used to dress up like a pirate (as depicted in this statue) and is renowned for starting Nanaimo’s most famous yearly event – the Bathtub Races. Started in 1967, the Bathtub race started in Nanaimo and ended all the way across the Georgia Strait in Vancouver. Now it ends in Departure Bay which is close to Nanaimo.
I was also taken by this tidbit: “He also, while Mayor, initiated the creation of cut-away corners of sidewalk curbs in downtown Nanaimo after spending one day in a wheelchair in order to experience for himself the difficulties in getting around experienced by those in wheelchairs.”
What a guy.
And yes, I did grab a Nanaimo Bar (to go) before retiring for the night.