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Nanaimo Neighbourhood Guide

Neighbourhoods in Nanaimo

Nanaimo contains several neighbourhoods that are broken mainly into three sections: North, Central, and South.

Although each neighbourhood is distinct in its personality, we’ve grouped similar ones to give a general idea of the area’s overall vibe and options.

A woman stretches out her hands to encourage chlid to hug her, on a dock with the sun in the background.
  • North Nanaimo

    Commercial real estate

    North Nanaimo is known for its shopping options. Costco and Woodgrove Centre are top attractions, but several other big chain stores surround the area. Traffic is a bit heavier here due to all the amenities being so close together. Commercial real estate options are best found in this area, as it is full of shops, restaurants, medical offices, and warehouse-style properties. 

    Homes in North Nanaimo are newer than ones built in the southern neighbourhoods, due to a large amount of development over recent years. Families prefer to live in North Nanaimo because it is one of the safest neighbourhoods around, plus there is a good amount of waterfront to enjoy.

  • Upper and Lower Lantzville

    Rural ocean views

    The District of Lantzville is technically just outside of Nanaimo but is often included as a neighbourhood due to its proximity. Lantzville contains homes that are either on the water or have ocean views, with many other homes leaning towards a more modern build. As Lantzville is more rural than most of Nanaimo, property lots tend to be a little bigger. Lower Lantzville offers a rural, village charm along the waterfront, while Upper Lantzville is known for its outstanding views and slower pace of life. 

    This is a quiet neighbourhood that mimics the countryside. Outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, golfing, and visiting the beach are all common recreational choices. Huddlestone Park is a beautiful place to have a picnic or hang out, and it provides access to the beach. 

  • Pleasant Valley

    Acreages and Lakes

    Pleasant Valley is located to the south of Upper Lantzville and offers the convenience of being close to Nanaimo’s best shopping options. It is also only a 20-minute drive or so to the quiet, sandy beaches of Parksville.

    This northern neighbourhood has seen more development over the years, with its oldest homes having been built in the 1980s. This is also one of the best areas to look for acreage for sale, as it is still in the development stage. 

    Brannen Lake and Green Lake are scenic lakes within Pleasant Valley that are located near residential areas. There are also a few small parks dispersed throughout. 

  • Departure Bay

    single-family homes

    Departure Bay is a highly sought-after neighbourhood because it contains a variety of single-family homes, ranchers, and townhouses that overlook the Strait of Georgia. These views regularly contain the BC Ferries, which adds a unique experience in addition to the natural scenery. Not to mention, getting to the ferries is a lot easier when you live nearby! 

    Departure Bay Beach is a popular destination for locals to casually stroll along the shoreline, take a dip in the ocean, and watch the boats sail off in the distance. It is a peaceful oasis within a relatively developed area of Nanaimo. Nearby spray parks, coffee shops, and convenience stores assist in creating more of a prolonged outing. Departure Bay also contains other parks including Woodstream Park, Wardropper Park, Kinsmen Park, and Sugarloaf Mountain Park, among others. 

  • Hammond Bay

    waterfront views

    Luxurious homes in Nanaimo with scenic water views are plentiful in Hammond Bay. Built on a hillside facing the ocean, Hammond Bay contains unparalleled views of the Strait of Georgia. Real estate listings mainly contain immaculate, executive-style single-family homes with waterfront views. Several new developments have opened up additional options for condominiums and townhouses, but most properties are still relatively large houses. 

    Several amenities and good schools make this a preferred neighbourhood for families. 

  • Brechin Hill

    Unique Hillside Homes

    Brechin Hill’s residential real estate listings are diverse, with both old-character homes mixed with modern waterfront condos. Located on a hillside, this neighbourhood is known for being a bit on the creative side, offering a large number of unique homes to choose from. Views of Departure Bay and Newcastle Island can be seen from most homes, making it one of the most scenic neighbourhoods in Nanaimo. 

Rocks hitting water Nanaimo, BC
Hiking mountain view in Nanaimo, BC
  • Old City Quarter

    strong sense of community

    The older city quarter is located near the downtown core of Nanaimo. This area contains a mix between heritage buildings and new construction. Although it isn’t the economic hub of the city anymore, it has evolved into a space with many local businesses, quirky shops, and a strong sense of community. The iconic “Beacon” condominium with its copper roof and oceanfront views is often featured in media releases. 

    The oldest heritage homes dating back to the late 1800s are found in this area. Newer developments mimic these old styles, as to maintain the neighbourhood’s charm. This neighbourhood is suitable for those that are looking for a strong community, a funky vibe, and a little piece of Nanaimo’s history.

  • Central Nanaimo

    desirable location

    It doesn’t matter what you are looking for, as Central Nanaimo will likely have it or be within arm’s reach of it. Nanaimo Regional Hospital is a major amenity in this area, making it a desirable location for healthcare professionals to live. Other amenities include restaurants, schools, convenience stores, retail stores, medical offices, and several outstanding parks. Bowen Park is one of the largest that is perfect for hiking, swimming, tennis, and lacrosse to name a few. 

    Homes tend to have larger lots and are relatively affordable compared to the rest of Nanaimo. A few well-established condominiums and townhouse complexes round out the area, allowing more real estate opportunities for living or investing. 

  • Uplands

    waterfront /waterview homes

    If you are looking for waterfront or ocean-view properties, Uplands is a great place to look. With residential homes located near both the ocean and Long Lake, a water view isn’t hard to come across. Residents enjoy using the lake for boating, swimming, fishing, and other water sports. 

    Homes are a mix of styles containing west coast contemporary, modern, craftsman, and some of the most luxurious in all of Nanaimo. Several condominium and townhouse complexes are also found in the area. Berwick on the Lake is a large senior living complex, making Uplands also desirable for seniors and retirees. 

  • Diver Lake

    First Time Home-Buyers

    Diver Lake is located between North Nanaimo and Central Nanaimo. It is suitable for first-time home buyers as homes are a bit older and thus fairly affordable. These homes are mainly ranchers and split-level properties, but you can find a mixture of several housing types within Diver Lake. Recent developments have opened up additional subdivisions with newer homes, some of which are custom-built. 

    Diver Lake is a hotspot as it is surrounded by nature on all sides. Walking trails lead down to the lake onto a small dock, allowing for a place of respite within Nanaimo’s busy city. The lake also has a nearby playground and tennis courts. Northeast of the lake is the Country Club Centre, a shopping center containing several large stores including a grocery store, pharmacy, medical clinic, and fitness gym. 

  • South Nanaimo

    heritage homes

    South Nanaimo is another older part of the city which contains homes built mainly in the 1960s to 1980s, mixed with heritage homes. This area is popular for families because homes tend to be more affordable and it is away from the heavier traffic found in the northern parts of the city. Residential real estate listings lean towards single-family detached homes, townhouses, and apartment buildings. However, new subdivisions have begun to be developed within this region.

  • University District (Harewood, 5 Acres)

    University District

    Previously, University District was referred to as “5 Acres,” a nod to its historic past of how it used to be distributed as five-acre plots. Today, it is nicknamed “Harewood” and is popular with students and families. 

    Vancouver Island University is within the University District, which makes this area popular with students. Condos, older homes, and remodelled homes are commonly found within this neighbourhood. These homes are desired also as investment properties for rental income. The Nanaimo Aquatic Centre is another main amenity for the area. 

Photo of Nanaimo city and forest Ballard Fine Homes Photo of Nanaimo city and forest Ballard Fine Homes
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  • North Jingle Pot, South Jingle Pot

    Old Meets New

    North and South Jingle Pot sits under the protection of Mount Benson. This area has a mix between rural farm-like properties and newer developments. With beautiful views of the mountain and acreage, it serves as an alternative to the other rural neighbourhoods that is much closer to the city centre. North Jingle Pot tends to have newer, more upscale builds compared with South Jingle Pot’s older farmhouses, subdivisions, and eclectic homes.

  • Cedar

    affordable housing

    Further south of Nanaimo, more affordable housing can be found in Cedar. Acreage, farms, empty lots, and older homes make up this less-developed region. If you are looking for a house out in the country, one of these neighbourhoods will surely be what you are looking for. It isn’t too far away from most amenities – a fifteen-minute drive will get you to most places that you need to be. Known as one of the quieter areas of Nanaimo, Cedar provides a slower, more relaxed pace of life compared with those near the city centre. 

  • Chase River

    More Affordable Homes

    The Chase River – Cinnabar region is similar to rural Cedar, but with more amenities nearby. This is another South Nanaimo option for affordable homes in a rural setting. The main commercial district is Tenth Street near the Trans-Canada Highway. Restaurants, retail stores, and the Southgate Shopping Centre are all found here. 

  • Extension

    Spacious Lots

    Extension is one of the largest neighbourhoods in terms of land size. It is also one of the oldest! If you are looking for a farm or rural property that isn’t too far from the downtown core, then Extension is a good fit. Spacious lots, riverfront properties, and undeveloped acreage allow for many possibilities. 

    Diver Lake is a hotspot as it is surrounded by nature on all sides. Walking trails lead down to the lake onto a small dock, allowing for a place of respite within Nanaimo’s busy city. The lake also has a nearby playground and tennis courts. Northeast of the lake is the Country Club Centre, a shopping center containing several large stores including a grocery store, pharmacy, medical clinic, and fitness gym. 

Neighbourhood in Nanaimo Ballard Fine Homes
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