Nanaimo Arts & Culinary Culture Walking Tour

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

For most of my life, the only time I had ever spent in the Nanaimo are was either at Departure Bay or Duke Point ferry terminals. Nanaimo is a port for vessels carrying tourists, travellers and commuters however in recent years its own downtown core has become known as a great place to eat, shop, and live. During our recent girls getaway to Victoria, we stopped off in Nanaimo for the first day to explore what this burgeoning arts and culinary community has to offer.

The Harbour City is split into several districts and in one afternoon of walking around we hit the Waterfront, Old City Quarter, and Arts District.

Mon Petit Choux Bakery
Location: 101 – 120 Commercial St.

Mon Petit Choux Mon Petit Choux

Mon Petit Choux Mon Petit Choux

When walking into this “little corner of Paris” in Nanaimo you get a bear-hug of aromas from fresh-baked bread and buttery croissants. I enjoyed an Americano and a delicious Croque-Madam to get my morning going. The owner is very passionate about real, fresh, organic and local ingredients going into their food. There is even a mission statement posted on the cafe’s window that reiterates her message to passersby. Mon Petit Choux is the smaller sibling to The Wesley Street Cafe up in the Old City Quarter.

Vancouver Island Conference Centre
Location: 101 Gordon Street

EJ Hughes - Malaspina EJ Hughes - Malaspina

While we weren’t there to attend any keynote sessions, the sign out front at the conference centre advertised a unique showing of E.J. Hughes’ Malaspina mural. Completed in 1938 it was recently restored after being discovered at the historic Malaspina Hotel prior to its demolition. The conference centre serves not only as a meeting place, but also an extension of the Nanaimo Art Gallery for city expositions, complimenting the Nanaimo Museum just across the street.

Barton and Leier Gallery
Location: 99 Chapel Street

Barton Leier Gallery Barton Leier Gallery

This colourful boutique and gallery shimmers, shines, and dazzles with local and international pieces. Paintings and hand-made jewelry adorn the walls while trinkets, chains, ornaments and accessories hang all around.

Barton Leier Gallery

Barton Leier Gallery Barton Leier Gallery

Barton Leier Gallery Barton Leier Gallery

2 Chefs Affair
Location: 123 Commercial Street
Website: DNBIA

2 Chefs

Only a month old this new bistro cafe specializes in eat-in and take-out lunches prepared by a husband and wife team. After some very sweet treats throughout the day their “Smokin’ Hot” clubhouse sandwich was exactly what I needed to re-charge.

Old City Quarter Old City Quarter

Throughout our walk we ducked into independent shoe stores, home decor meccas, clothing shops, and a European specialty deli. Every proprietor was around to greet us, tell us about their latest collections, and chat about their passion — whether it was fresh-baked breads, imported squid-ink pasta, or the cozy knit sweaters. Old architecture and traditions mixed with modern concepts around every turn. It easily convinced me that Nanaimo can be a day-trip destination from Metro Vancouver by ferry or float plane.

Diners Rendezvous

During this walking tour we also paused to get a tea leaf reading and explored a few stops along the Nanaimo Bar Tour, which I’ll cover in future posts.

Follow all articles from our girls getaway in Nanaimo and Victoria this November by viewing my Vancouver Island category.

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3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. MarinaTuesday, November 23rd, 2010 — 10:39am PST

    Thanks for this great post – my husband and I are moving to Nanaimo in January. Many people have asked “why Nanaimo?”…I will be happy to direct them to your post when they ask me that in the future!

  2. IrisTuesday, November 23rd, 2010 — 10:47am PST

    Great to read your blog about Nanaimo. We also have some amazing parks in here Nanaimo like Newcastle Island, Pipers Lagoon, Westwood Lake and my favorite, Neck Point Park. It is beautiful here!

  3. Chelsea BarrThursday, November 25th, 2010 — 3:16pm PST

    Thanks for taking the time to visit the Harbour City! So excited to share some of Nanaimo’s “jewels”!

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