History of Nanaimo

Nanaimo has a unique and colourful history.  Founded on coal mining in the early 1850s, the City evolved from a small Hudson's Bay Company outpost to the dynamic regional service centre for the mid-Island that it is today.   

Brief History of Nanaimo (PDF)
Read a brief history of Nanaimo's historical development.

Heritage Buildings, Sites and Structures
Learn about Nanaimo's heritage buildings, sites and structures. Take a self-guided heritage walk (or bike ride) through some of Nanaimo's oldest neighbourhoods

Past Mayors of Nanaimo
View a list of Nanaimo's mayors since the City's incorporation in 1874.

Freedom of the City Recipients
Freedom of the City is the highest honour that the City can bestow, and its purpose is to recognize lifetime achievement in supporting the livability of Nanaimo, or those who have brought recognition to Nanaimo through his or her achievements.  It can also be granted to military units which have earned the City’s trust.

City Emblems
The City's emblems officially represent the City of Nanaimo and its unique identity as a municipality.

Letters Patent & Orders in Council
Letters Patent and Orders in Council were issued by the Provincial Government since 1874, and specifically relate to the City of Nanaimo and its evolution as a city.

Looking for something in particular? 

Try contacting the Nanaimo Community Archives. Established in 1991, the Nanaimo Community Archives is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the region’s archival heritage. They acquire, preserve and provide public access to the historical records of Nanaimo, including one-of-a-kind maps, architectural drawings and photographs.

Try contacting the Nanaimo Museum. The Museum is located in downtown Nanaimo on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nations. It is a dynamic community facility offering diverse interpretive programming, encouraging visitors to "Make a Discovery" while exploring the history and heritage of our area. 

Related links

Last updated: June 20, 2024

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