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nanaimo-habour-viewNanaimo has a number of nicknames including the quirky 'Hub, Tub and Pub City', though it's 'Harbour City' that Nanaimo is best known as, and for good reason! As well as being the second largest city on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo also has the second largest harbour and it's this large harbour that is at the centre of both locals and tourists lives here in Nanaimo. The Harbour City grew when coal was discovered in the vicinity and the docks were used to transport the coal off Van Isle to other parts of British Columbia. Although no longer used for the export of coal, Nanaimo Harbour is still the hub for tourism and industry in the city, and welcomes many of Vancouver Island's visitors who travel across the waters via BC Ferries. Visitors coming to the Harbour City have several options for getting here from mainland B.C. If you're planning on bringing your car over you can catch a ferry to Nanaimo from two points near Vancouver - Horseshoe Bay, to the north of Vancouver, and Tsawwassen, to the south of Vancouver. Visitors without transport, or who prefer to leave the car behind, are able to walk onto the ferries or bring a bike. There are also seaplanes from harbour to harbour. Once you arrive at the Harbour City, there are plenty more reasons for you to stay and enjoy Nanaimo's harbour.  We certainly feel that the best place to stay is with us at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse - the perfect blend of upscale hostel, European Inn and funky B&B - one block from the waterfront and in the heart of the downtown core. While in the city, take a trip on board a Nanaimo Harbour Ferry to see more of this friendly city from the water, or use them as a way to get to Newcastle Island Provincial Park, which is only accessible by boat. Also consider coming to the Harbour City at the end of July to experience bathtub racing at its finest! Yes, we did say bathtub racing! This strange sport was invented here in Nanaimo and of course takes place right here in the harbour. On dry land you can also enjoy the Harbour City. The waterfront area is very popular, and attractions include Nanaimo Museum, the Seawall, and the oldest free standing Hudson's Bay Trading Company fort in North America, the Bastion. Check out our blog for many specific festivals, locations, events and hidden secrets of Nanaimo, BC!