Destination: Nanaimo, British Columbia


Nanaimo, like all towns on Vancouver Island,  is small. The city has a few nicknames, including The Harbour City (no explanation needed) and the Bathtub Racing Capital of the World (true story). It is also known for its Nanaimo Bars, a no-bake Canadian dessert bar with distinct layers of custard and chocolate promoted by Tourism Nanaimo via The Nanaimo Bar Trail – reason enough to visit.

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Ferrying from Vancouver to Nanaimo

Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, British Columbia

A ferry pulls into Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, British Columbia

Ferries ain’t no thing but a chicken wing to many Pacific Northwesties, but until I’d traveled to Nanaimo, a larger town on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, I’d never taken one alone. Driving aboard was childishly thrilling, akin to reaching the next level of a video game; the worlds I’d conquered during my travels thus far—deserts, farmland, mountains—were all “played” on land. Here was the water level, and a new kind of notch in my figurative travel belt.

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