Cheap accommodation in Nanaimo BC | University Rooms

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Bed and Breakfast accommodation in Nanaimo’s student residences

Not just for students - anyone can book!

  • Staying in Nanaimo's university halls of residence is a convenient and affordable way to visit the second largest city on Vancouver Island
  • With recently-built rooms from C$40 per person, it is a comfortable and cost-effective alternative to staying in a hostel or a cheap hotel
  • We offer Bed and Breakfast and self-catering accommodation in student residences in central locations throughout Nanaimo, all great starting points from which to explore the city

No availability?

  • Availability is mainly in the summer vacation period (June, July, August, September), when students clear their rooms
  • Rooms typically become available two to three months in advance, so please revisit the website within that period if nothing is available now
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Nanaimo BC Visitor information

Nanaimo

Nanaimo is the second-largest city on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, after Victoria. It has been called the "Bathtub Racing Capital of the World" and "Harbour City". Nanaimo is also sometimes referred to as the "Hub City" because of its central location on Vancouver Island and due to the layout of the downtown streets. It is also fondly known as the "Hub, Tub, and Pub City".

Nanaimo is about 110 km northwest of Victoria, and 55 km west of Vancouver, separated by the Strait of Georgia, and linked to Vancouver via the Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries terminal in West Vancouver. As the site of the main ferry terminal, Nanaimo is the gateway to many other destinations both on the island — Tofino, Comox Valley, Parksville, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park — and off its coast — Newcastle Island, Protection Island, Gabriola Island, Valdes Island, and many other of the Gulf Islands.

Accommodation at Nanaimo’s university residences

The main campus of Vancouver Island University is located in Nanaimo, which brings many international students to the city. In the summer it opens its residences to visitors and tourists. It should be understood that these residences are designed primarily for students and not children or adults expecting a high level of luxury. However, with this in mind, the halls do meet a level of comfort that we expect most visitors to be happy with, and we will welcome any feedback where this is not the case.

Getting to Nanaimo

Nanaimo is served by three airports, with the two biggest being Nanaimo Airport, with services to Vancouver, and Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport, with services to Vancouver harbour and Vancouver Airport. Nanaimo also has three BC Ferry terminals located at Departure Bay, Duke Point, and downtown. The downtown terminal services Gabriola Island while Departure Bay and Duke Point service Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen respectively. Highways 1, 19 and 19A traverse the city. Bus service in the city is provided by Nanaimo Regional Transit.

 

History 

Nanaimo BC History

Nanaimo

The first Europeans to come across Nanaimo Bay were part of the 1791 Spanish voyage of Juan Carrasco, commanded by Francisco de Eliza. They named it Bocas de Winthuysen. Nanaimo began as a trading post in the beginning of the 19th century. In 1849, the Snuneymuxw chief Ki-et-sa-kun ("Coal Tyee") informed the Hudson's Bay Company that there was coal in the area, and by 1853 the company built a fort, known as the Nanaimo Bastion (still preserved today). Subsequently, the town was mainly known for its export of coal.

Robert Dunsmuir helped establish coal mines in the Nanaimo harbour area on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, and later mined in Nanaimo as one of the first independent miners. In 1869, Dunsmuir discovered coal several miles North of the city at Wellington, and soon after created the company Dunsmuir and Diggle Ltd. so that he could acquire crown land and finance the start-up of what became the Wellington Colliery. With the success of the enterprise and the Wellington Colliery, Dunsmuir expanded and began including steam railways. The Nanaimo Mine Explosion of 1887 killed 150 people and was described as the largest man-made explosion until the one at Halifax. A further 100 men died in another explosion the following year. In the 1940s, lumber surpassed coal as the main business, although Minetown Days are still celebrated today in the neighbouring community of Lantzville. Nanaimo has enjoyed a succession of four distinct Chinatowns. The first, set up during the gold rush of the 1860s, was the third-largest in British Columbia. In 1884, due to mounting inter-racial tensions related to the Dunsmuir coal company's hiring Chinese strike-breakers, the company assisted in moving the Chinatown to a location outside city limits. Then, in 1908, when two Chinese entrepreneurs bought the site and tried to raise rents, with the help of 4,000 shareholders from across Canada, the community combined its forces and bought the site for the third Chinatown at a new location, around Pine Street. This third Chinatown, by then already derelict, burned down in September 1960. A fourth Chinatown boomed for a while in the 1920s, on and around Machleary Street.

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Universities in Nanaimo BC

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