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nanaimo-waterfront-boatingThe city of Nanaimo, BC may have started life as an industrial town, but it is now very much a centre for tourism; popular with tourists as well as the many locals who have come to call the city home. With a population of around 80,000 people, Nanaimo, BC is actually the second largest city on Vancouver Island, after the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. In addition to this permanent population, the city attracts thousands of visitors per year. So what exactly is it that makes Nanaimo, BC so popular? The location of the city is a major attraction... from Van Isle itself, Nanaimo is one of the most easily accessible cities; a fact which has meant the city has grown into VI's premier shopping destination! Both the natives and the visitors love coming to Nanaimo for the shopping which includes shopping malls and large stores on the outskirts of the city, plus the smaller independent, and sometimes quirky, stores within the city and the Old City Quarter. So if you love shopping, you'll love Nanaimo, BC! With the excellent connections to the rest of Vancouver Island, the city also makes a great base for visitors. Unique accommodations and many restaurants mean Nanaimo is an excellent place to stay, and if you rent a car you can easily get to many of the other attractions on VI too. And let's not forget accessibility from the rest of B.C. - being situated almost directly opposite Vancouver City, across the Strait of Georgia, Nanaimo is the major entry point for many visitors travelling across from Vancouver and the rest of British Columbia. As well as the shopping, great places to stay and meet other travellers from around the world, and places to eat, Nanaimo, BC attracts both natives and visitors in many other ways too. One of the city's nicknames is Harbour City as the harbour plays an important part in everyday life. Ferries dart back and forth from Vancouver, while pleasure boats set sail from the second largest harbour on Van Isle.