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Hotel Blog


Image By: Lotus Johnson


Nanaimo is known for its abundance of nature, but it is also home to impressive works of arts, history, and culture. Nanaimo’s rich history and resident artists make it the perfect place for museums and art galleries. While you’re in Nanaimo, stop at the Nanaimo Museum, Nanaimo Art Gallery, or take a quick trip to Gabriola Island for art in the middle of nature. 


Nanaimo Museum

The Nanaimo Museum has been operating since 1967, and relocated in 2008 to a larger museum to expand its exhibits. The museum takes visitors on a journey through a variety of displays and artifacts that follow Nanaimo over time. The museum covers a variety of historical topics such as the Snunéymuxw exhibit in the past and present, and various industries that have been prominent in Nanaimo such as coal mining and timber. The museums guides guests from the city’s past into the city today. All guests are required to wear masks, and can enter with a reservation online beforehand. Guests can choose from a self-guided tour or a ‘bubble buddies’ program, where guests can get a guided tour with members of their household bubble. Admission is currently free from now until September 18!


Nanimo Art Gallery

The Nanaimo Art Gallery was opened by Malaspina College in 1976, which is now Vancouver Island University. The gallery is known for supporting and hosting the community with its Art Lab learning space and its Gallery Store hosts work from a variety of artists in the area. The Nanaimo Art Gallery hosts one exhibition at a time. February 26 to April 25 they are hosting ‘Rain Shadow’, a work made of 10 different artists from the Pacific Northwest region.  ‘Rain Shadow’ explores the changing landscape, topography, and identity of places through several mediums. Masks and social distancing are mandatory for visitors. 


Isle of the Arts

Gabriola Island is also known by another name – Isle of the Arts! The island is home to one of the highest rate or artists per capita in Canada. It's easy to understand why, beautiful scenery and peaceful atmosphere would be enough to spark anyone’s creativity. Gabriola Island is a short 22 minute ferry from Nanaimo. On the island, there are a variety of stores full of handcrafted paintings, pottery, textiles, glasswork, and so much more. It’s also home to Gabriola Island Museum, sharing the unique history and creativity of the island. 


While you’re getting your arts and culture fix in Nanaimo, consider staying at the Best Western Dorchester Hotel. Our hotel is situated in the centre of downtown, right on the harbour, minutes from the mainland ferry, and in the middle of everything you need. 

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