Nanaimo is located on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, in the
province of British Columbia. It is approximately 112 km north of Victoria,
the provincial capital, and 55 km west of Vancouver, across the Straits of
Once the location of five separate native villages, Nanaimo derives its
name from a Coast Salish word, Snuneymuxw, "a great and mighty people".
Near the end of 1854, Governor James Douglas ordered the first census of
the colony. In Nanaimo, the white population was 151; there were 52
dwelling houses, 3 shops, 6 outhouses and 1 school with 29 students. No
one was over 60 years old; 15 were between 50 and 60 and nearly half were
Incorporated in 1874, Nanaimo is the third oldest city in British Columbia
and, with a current population of approximately 80,000, it is the second
largest city on Vancouver Island.
From 1853 to 1938 the major industry in Nanaimo was coal mining. In 1938,
with the construction of a pulp and paper mill near Duke Point, forestry
became the major industry. Today Nanaimo has a diversified economy consisting
of fishing, forestry, tourism, retail and wholesale trade, construction,
manufacturing, and knowledge and technology based business.
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