What was once the center of Nanaimo's booming coal mining industry has undergone a major revitalization; many of the area's grand Victorian homes and miners’ cottages have been renovated, resulting in a community attracting those looking for a slice of history in a quickly-developing urban setting.
Long before coal mining shaped the landscape of the South End, the shoreline of this traditional Snuneymuxw territory was dotted with longhouses, and it's sacred sights told stories of the land. With hotels and saloons on the once-bustling Haliburton Street, the surrounding area quickly transformed into an upscale, family-oriented neighbourhood. A strong sense of community still exists in the area due to its passionate groups who pride themselves on preserving the historical significance of the land and maintaining its amenities. Plus, the neighbourhood’s central location boasts stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and nearby green space, making this district the epitome of West Coast living.
Parks and Recreation
In the heart of this south end neighbourhood is Deverill Square Park. Thoughtfully restored by the South End Community Association, this family-friendly park features a waterpark, playground, basketball court and lit playing field; making it the ideal setting for annual community celebrations. Stroll through this vibrant neighbourhood to the harbourfront seawall, dotted with art installations, cafes, and ice cream shops. Follow the seawall to Maffeo Sutton Park, host to many festivals and concerts throughout the year, including the famous weekend-long International Bathtub and Dragon Boat races.
To get back to nature, visit Petroglyph Park, or explore kilometres of scenic boardwalk at the Chase River Estuary, a short drive away. For indoor recreation, head to the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, twin rinks at the Ice Centre, or check out the brand new covered outdoor sports complex at Harewood Centennial Park.
Thinking of a day trip? Hop on a ferry to nearby Newcastle, Protection and Gabriola Islands and enjoy viewing the city from a new angle as you explore beaches and trails, and hunt for clues of Nanaimo's mining history. Or take a scenic floatplane ride with Harbour Air.
Skip the north end malls, and explore the nearby retail shops that line the streets of downtown and the Old City Quarter–a quick ten-minute walk from Harbourview District. From bookstores to one of a kind boutiques like Archer and Arrow, Cayo Fashions, and NYLA, you're sure to find a treasure or two. Downtown is home to Port Place Mall with a large medical clinic, London Drugs, casino, Thrifty Foods, and eateries.
All major amenities are just a short drive away, with shopping and services from Country Grocer to the Chase River Veterinary Clinic at South Parkway Plaza and Southgate Malls.
Entertainment & Nightlife
When it comes to dining and cultural entertainment, some of Nanaimo's best venues and restaurants are a fifteen-minute walk from your door. On your way to downtown stop in for sushi at the Firehouse Grill or make your way to the Old City Quarter to check out a variety of pubs and restaurants such as Asteras Tavera, Le Stella Trattoria and Coach and Horses.
For a truly local dining experience, visit Gabriel's cafe, in the heart of downtown. Their farm to fork motto means that their meats, eggs, and produce are locally sourced from small sustainable farms. For a taste of Nanaimo's craft beer industry, check out White Sails Brewing, a gathering place to unwind and take in locally inspired brews and enjoy the company of friends and family.
Experience Nanaimo's growing community of artists at one of White Rabbit Coffee Co. pop up art shows or take in some musical talent at the Queens. The Vault Cafe hosts weekly events and is the ideal setting to work remotely during the day, and transition into an evening unwinding with friends.
Off the harbourfront walkway is the Port Theatre, hosting more than 250 performances and musical events a year, and home to the Vancouver Island Symphony. When it comes to dining and entertainment, everything you need is within walking distance.
At Harbourview District, you can have it all. Stunning ocean views, and walkability to transit and shopping in Nanaimo's downtown core. Nanaimo's central transit terminal is just a 9-minute walk from your door, and even closer is the Helijet terminal connecting you to Vancouver in 20 minutes. Nanaimo is also home to two seaplane terminals. Harbour Air is just an 18-minute walk along the harbourfront, and the SeaAir terminal is approximately a 10-minute drive, located next to the Departure Bay ferry terminal.
By car, it takes approximately twenty minutes to reach North Nanaimo, for a smooth, fuss-free commute. With no real rush hour, you can be home from work in a fraction of the time it would typically take in a larger metro area. The Nanaimo Airport is just 13 kilometres south of Nanaimo proper, and it's now the second busiest on the island and currently undergoing a massive expansion.
Real Estate Activity
Nanaimo, recognized as the North and Central Vancouver Island economic hub, is the fifth fastest-growing urban center in BC. The real estate market, fueled by the area's affordability, climate and proximity to larger city centres, continues to hold steady. The benchmark price for multi-family dwellings as of January 2019 was $323,921 (Vancouver Island Real Estate Board), with sale prices continuing to rise year over year.
As Nanaimo's economy grows, and the downtown core continues to draw buyers and investors, the demand for real estate has radiated into surrounding downtown areas. This growth is making Harbourview District a prime opportunity to own a slice of urban living at an affordable price. With an abundance of new condo developments in South Nanaimo, very few can offer ocean views, an established sense of community, historical charm, and are within walking distance to downtown.
Nanaimo, "The Harbor City," is an oceanside community located on the southeast side of Vancouver Island and its second-largest urban center. Nanaimo has a population of approximately 90,504 and a population of 155,698 in its surrounding area (Regional District of Nanaimo). Based on BC Real Estate Association stats, the population for the City of Nanaimo is projected to grow to 138,476 residents by 2041.
The south end community that encompasses the Harbourview District has a population of approximately 540 people, and the surrounding downtown and Old City Quarter has a population of roughly 1470. Affordability and proximity to downtown are making this south end neighbourhood a desirable location for people looking to experience the conveniences and cultural vibe of urban living.
The average age of Nanaimo residents is 44.2 years, according to Stats Canada, with 66,795 residents between the ages of 15 and 64 years old, making up 63.7% of the population. The average age of those who populate, Downtown Nanaimo, the Old City Quarter and the South End is between 20-50 years of age. Residents of working age are employed mainly in sales and service, trades and transport, and business, finance, and administration, with an average total income of $76,949 for private households. Nanaimo is drawing the attention of young professionals and families looking for an affordable community to set down roots as homeowners, while still having all the amenities of city living.
Post-Secondary Educational Programming
Nanaimo houses the main campus for Vancouver Island University (VIU). Offering a range of post-secondary programming, VIU has a student population of 14,484. The international student population has seen a steady incline of enrollment year over year with a student population of approximately 2,000, with the majority of students coming from China, Japan, and India. Many students choose to stay in Nanaimo and on the island after completing their education–contributing to an increasingly diverse demographic. By car, VIU is approximately ten minutes away or catch the bus at the nearby downtown bus terminal.