Image of the Ballroom (speaker setup) at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Info for first-time visitors


Exchange services are available at financial institutions throughout the city. You’ll also find ATMs at the airport and ferry terminals. U.S. currency is not widely accepted in Nanaimo. Today’s exchange rate


As of July 2010 in B.C., the federal 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) are now a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). HST applies to almost all goods and services including retail, restaurants, attractions and tours, some of which were previously PST-exempt.

Alcoholic Beverages

B.C. law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 19. The province’s impaired driving laws, with blood-alcohol content limits of 0.05, are the toughest in the country.

Average Temperatures in Nanaimo

Month Maximum temperature C (F) Minimum temperature C (F)
January 6.2° (43°) -0.8° (32°)
March 10.9° (52°) 1.3° (34°)
May 17.8° (64°) 6.7° (44°)
July 24° (75°) 11.8° (53°)
September 20.9° (70°) 8.6° (47°)
November 9.1° (48°) 1.5° (35°)

Just how big is Vancouver Island?

Vancouver Island’s size, 32,261 sq. km. (19,356 sq. mi.), comes as a surprise to first-time visitors expecting to tour it all in a weekend. The drive from Victoria in the south to Port Hardy in the north is 502 km (312 mi).

Quick Facts

  • Population: City of Nanaimo 78,874; Regional District of Nanaimo 137,580
  • Location: On east side of Vancouver Island, 48.3 km (30 mi, 26.1 nautical mi) west of Vancouver and 113 km (70 mi) north of Victoria.
  • Main Industries: Tourism, advanced manufacturing, technology, business and government services, marine research, regional retail, health and education centre.
  • Climate: One of Canada’s most temperate climates. Expect moderate rainfall in winter.