There are so many incredible areas in Nanaimo, and our MMS Team wants to help you determine the best fit for you and your family when moving to our gorgeous city.   According to the Vital Signs Canada 2014 publication, the 10 best things about Nanaimo were: natural environment, parks, climate, friends & family, sense of community, air quality, locally grown food, recreation & sports, arts & culture and walkability.  These features resonate with retirees wanting to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. We want to provide you with an overview of the most popular Nanaimo neighbourhoods so that you can select the ones that work for your specific wants and needs.  The Globe and Mail featured Nanaimo as one of the most desirable places for retirees to live.  The article described our wonderful city as having “all of the amenities of a city without the traffic congestion and high property prices of Vancouver”.

Where else can you live in a city where most homes have ocean or mountain views, or are only a short walk to parks and recreation?  Even though Nanaimo is well over 100,000 residents, it still has that small-town feel.  Nanaimo offers easy access to freeways and commuting options around the Island and to the Mainland – whether by plane, ferry, car or bike.  In Nanaimo,  you can fish in the morning, golf after breakfast and be at a ski hill by lunchtime.  In fact, two seaplane companies carry approximately 80,000 passengers annually using the floats at the Port’s Seaplane Terminal.

From my vantage point, it’s both Nanaimo’s diversity and its “community-centered” vibe. Nanaimo offers a rich blend of old neighborhoods, acreages, and new executive subdivisions. You can enjoy the “old school” feel even today when you walk along Commercial Street and the downtown Seawall.  And yet, it’s growing and changing. In my neighborhood, we have young families that are new to the Island, as well as older residents who have been here for generations. The same is probably true on your street too. We have old homes, new homes, rental homes, family homes, condos and townhomes. All of us like the mix.


Nanaimo’s newest and one of the most desirable areas boasts new executive style homes as well as waterfront estates.  Many homes offer expansive ocean views and close proximity to Woodgrove Mall, Costco and many other shopping centres.


McGirr Elementary – 6199 McGirr Road, (250) 758-8946

Pleasant Valley Elementary – 6201 Dunbar Road, (250) 390-4027

Randerson Ridge Elementary – 6021 Nelson Road, (250) 758-5076

Frank J. Ney Elementary – 5301 Williamson Road, (250) 729-8045

Dover Bay Secondary – 6135 McGirr Road, (250) 756-4595

Aspengrove School – 7660 Clark Drive, Lantzville, (250) 390-2201


South Nanaimo is an area currently being redeveloped and revitalized to take full advantage of its proximity to all areas in Nanaimo, as well as its jaw-dropping ocean and harbor views.  This area is home to numerous heritage homes that date back to the 1800’s and is minutes to downtown, Vancouver Island University and sports activities.


Bayview Elementary – 140 View St, (250) 754-3231

École Pauline Haarer Elementary – 400 Campbell St., (250) 754-2722

John Barsby Secondary – 550 7th St., (250) 753-8211



The vibrant downtown Nanaimo is often referred to as the Old City and truly is the hub of Nanaimo, where residents can enjoy the Port Theatre, Diana Krall Plaza, Nanaimo Museum, Nanimo Conference Centre and countless festivals year-round along the harbor promenade.  The downtown offers unique shopping opportunities, specialty restaurants, and its Commercial Street was recognized in 2011 as one of the best streets in Canada for its historic storefronts and bars according to the Canadian Institute of Planners.  This area offers a mixture of new condos and heritage homes with plans for additional development and plans for a passenger-only commuter ferry to Vancouver in addition to the numerous floatplanes and helijet flights.


Fairview Elementary – 205 Howard Ave., (250) 753-3418

Nanaimo Montessori School – 945 Waddington Road, (250) 753-0649

École Pauline Haarer Elementary – 400 Campbell St., (250) 754-2722

Brechin Elementary – 510 Millstone Ave, (250) 754-7523

Nanaimo District Secondary School – 355 Wakesiah Ave., (250) 740-2000

John Barsby Secondary – 550 7th St., (250) 753-8211



Aptly named the University District, this neighbourhood surrounds Vancouver Island University and offers a mix of older and newer homes, condos and townhomes and many rental properties designed to meet the needs of university students.  In addition to the university, this area is also close to Nanaimo’s largest secondary school, NDSS, as well as the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Nanaimo Ice Centre, Serauxman Stadium and Gyro Field,  and all-season turf field that was built in 2017 adjacent to NDSS.  It is only a short walk to downtown, Buttertubs Marsh or Westwood Lake which is a popular swimming spot during the summer months.


Mountain View Elementary School – 2480 East Wellington Road., (250) 753-2831

Fairview Elementary – 205 Howard Ave, (250) 753-3418

Georgia Ave., Elementary – 625 Georgia Ave., (250) 753-1044

Nanaimo District Secondary School – 355 Wakesiah Ave., (250) 740-2000

John Barsby Secondary – 550 7th St., (250) 753-8211


This Oceanside neighborhood boasts generous-sized lots and well established homes in addition to new construction that are walking distance to the breathtaking Departure Bay beach, ferry terminal, parks, and Sugar Loaf Mountain.   Nanaimo Golf Course features beautifully maintained executive homes that border the golf course and many offer outstanding ocean views as well.  There is a blend of old-world elegance and modern architectural designed homes in this neighbourhood which makes it very popular.


Rock City Elementary – 3741 Departure Bay Road, (250) 758-2434

Departure Bay Elementary – 3004 Departure Bay Road, (250) 758-6541

Cilaire Elementary – 25 Cilaire Drive, (250) 758-7941

Wellington Secondary – 3135 Mexicana Road, (250) 751-0126



Central Nanaimo is a neighbourhood that stretches from Departure Bay to downtown Nanaimo and offers a multitude of real estate options such as charming character homes designed to take in the amazing views of Departure Bay, ocean view condos, access to the seawall and the Nanaimo Yacht Club.


Brechin Elementary – 510 Millstone Ave., (250) 754-7523

Forest Park Elementary – 2050 Latimer Road, (250) 758-6892

Cilaire Elementary – 25 Cilaire Drive, (250) 758-7941

Quarterway Elementary (École Quarterway School) – 1632 Bowen Road, (250) 754-6845

Wellington Secondary – 3135 Mexicana Road, (250) 751-0126



Diver Lake is a family-friendly neighbourhood designed around the Diver Lake, which is home to trout fishing, walking trails, tennis courts and minutes to all amenities.  Beban Park is also nearby and offers an indoor swimming pool, numerous ice rinks , walking and exercise trails, tennis and pickleball courts and even a driving range and pitch and putt golf course.  This neighbourhood offers reasonably priced homes suited for both retirees and young families.


Uplands Park Elementary- 3821 Stronach Drive, (250) 758-3252

Coal Tyee Elementary- 2280 Sun Valley Drive, (250) 729-0450

Wellington Secondary- 3135 Mexicana Road, (250) 751-0126



Nestled between Departure Bay and North Nanaimo, Uplands offers unique homes that take advantage of the views and accessibility of beautiful Long Lake, a popular lake for boaters and swimmers in the summertime.  Many of the homes boast easy maintenance yards due to the rockier landscape and blend moderately priced family homes with townhomes, duplexes and lakefront estates.  Linley Valley is a new subdivision of executive homes (many with legal suites) that have been built within the past 5 years around the Linley Valley trails, parks and wetlands.  Interestingly, this area was home to Nanaimo’s only zoo in the 1950’s.


Uplands Park Elementary – 3821 Stronach Drive, (250) 758-3252

McGirr Elementary – 6199 McGirr Road, (250) 758-8946

Randerson Ridge Elementary – 6021 Nelson Road, (250) 758-5076

Rutherford Elementary School – 5840 Hammond Bay Road, (250) 758-5331

Frank J. Ney Elementary – 5301 Williamson Road, (250) 729-8045

Dover Bay Secondary – 6135 McGirr Road, (250) 756-4595



Hammond Bay encompasses several neighbourhoods within Nanaimo and stretches from the edge of Departure Bay to North Nanaimo and includes desirable subdivisions such as  Glen Oaks, Stephenson Point and Pipers Lagoon.  Considered one of the most scenic neighbourhoods in Nanaimo, this area is home to many luxurious homes with higher sales prices.


Departure Bay Elementary – 3004 Departure Bay Road, (250) 758-6541

École Hammond Bay Elementary – 1025 Morningside Drive, (250) 758-5711

Frank J. Ney Elementary – 5301 Williamson Road, (250) 729-8045

Four Seasons Montessori – 4960 Hammond Bay Road, (250) 758-897

Dover Bay Secondary – 6135 McGirr Road, (250) 756-4595



Chase River traditionally was a semi-rural area that was home to small farmlands, and larger homestead lots near the southern tip of Nanaimo and bordering Cedar.  This area has seen a rapid growth in new subdivisions over the past 10 years to meet the demands of families seeking affordable new homes that are within a 5 minute drive of downtown Nanaimo.  There are many amenities near Chase River including shopping centre, Rona store, and lots of hiking trails.


Chase River Elementary School – 1503 Cranberry Ave., (250) 754-6983

Cinnabar Valley Elementary – 1800 Richardson Road, (250) 716-1030

Park Ave., Elementary – 395 Eighth St., (250) 754-5591

John Barsby Secondary – 550 7th St., (250) 753-8211


Located 10 kilometers south of Nanaimo, Cedar offers a more relaxed rural lifestyle with larger acreages, farms, and homes designed for privacy.  There are also several executive neighbourhoods in Cedar that include the sensational Cedar-By-the-Sea and Yellowpoint waterfront.  This area is very popular with those wanting to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle with the Cable Bay Trail nearby as well as many proposed opportunities for development.  Although a few minutes from Nanaimo, Cedar offers a shopping centre and many restaurants, pubs and home-based businesses as well as elementary and secondary schools.


Cedar Elementary School – 2215 Gould Road Nanaimo, (250) 722-2722

Cedar Community Secondary – 1640 MacMillan Road, (250) 722-2414