Population, Geography and Weather
Nanaimo is located on the east side of Vancouver Island, which is off the southwest coast of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is the largest island on the West Coast of North America. The Vancouver Island/Coast region is the second most populous economic region in the province, accounting for 17.6% of the provincial population, covering 9.1% of the total provincial land mass. With a population base of 735,000, Vancouver Island varies from small rural communities to modern urban centres like Nanaimo. The island stretches approximately 500 km long and 200 km wide, with 3,440 km of spectacular coastline that ranges from rugged to sandswept. With a landmass of 32,261 km, Vancouver island is comparable in size to Holland.
The City of Nanaimo is the second largest urban centre on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo is located on the east side of Vancouver Island, 23 km (14 miles) west from Vancouver and 113 km (70 miles) north of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. The City of Nanaimo covers 88.19 square kilometres within the Nanaimo Regional District. The Regional District stretches north to Bowser, south to Cedar and west to Errington, an area of 2041.32 square kilometres. The City of Nanaimo accounts for 4.3% of the total land area of the region, but is home to 57.5% of the population and operates as the region’s economic and employment centre.
The City of Nanaimo has grown continuously since 2001. According to the latest census, Nanaimo is the fifth fastest growing mid size urban centre in BC. The City’s 2006 population was 78,692, an increase of 5,697 net new citizens since the latest census. This represents a 7.8% increase in population since 2001, an average annual growth rate of 1.56%. Nanaimo’s population for 2011 is estimated at 87,464 based on BC Statistics. This represents a projected annual growth rate of 1.7%. The City of Nanaimo is the most populated municipality outside of Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island. Based on future population projections, strong growth is expected to continue in the Nanaimo area.
Nanaimo has a moderate climate, with over 1,800 hours of bright sunshine each year. During the summer, the average daily high is 21 C (70 F), and during the winter months daily temperatures normally remain above the freezing level.