nanaimo harbour

Guide to Moving to Nanaimo: What to Expect

nanaimo harbour

After all the work of finding the right property and budgeting for the costs of your new home, getting ready to make your move to Vancouver Island is a cause for celebration. 

There are many reasons why so many people are choosing to relocate to the Nanaimo area. Retirement, job prospects, and a relaxed West Coast lifestyle are common motivators. But there are also some important factors to consider when gearing up for the big move, and this article will make sure that you are on the right path.

We’re not just talking about packing a good rain jacket (although that is very important). Here is your full guide on moving to Nanaimo, from the real estate team that knows the market better than anyone else!

Preparing for the Big Move

man moving into a new home

Moving may be exciting, but that doesn’t make it easy. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve moved before, a big move comes with its share of curveballs.

Here are some tips for getting your move done right.

  • Label your boxes with the rooms  they will be going into.
  • Pack an “essentials” box. This will include a few sets of cutlery and plates, kitchenware, cleaning supplies, dish towels, and anything else you will need for your first night in your new home. 
  • Use larger sized moving boxes instead of a range of different sizes. This makes them easier to stack and means fewer trips to the truck for you or your moving company.
  • Give yourself lots of time to move properly. Start at least 1-2 weeks before your moving date and try to make an inventory of what items you are packing and how many boxes are packed. This will help you track in case anything gets lost along the way.

Getting to Nanaimo

Living in Nanaimo offers unique experiences and a laid back lifestyle (not to mention some amazing seafood). But Vancouver Island does present one challenge that takes a bit of getting used to: transportation.

Moving to the Island means that you will need to transport the majority of your possessions using the BC Ferries system. Uhaul and other moving trucks qualify as an oversized fare, so you will need to budget for this additional cost. 

Also, it’s always a good idea to book a reservation and avoid travel on summer weekends and holidays year round. The Island is a popular holiday destination, and traffic surges during these times.

If you are travelling with personal luggage, you can opt to get to Nanaimo by seaplane, helicopter, or by flying into Nanaimo Airport from Vancouver or select local cities.

Worried about the cost and time of traveling to the mainland in the future? Thankfully, Nanaimo and nearby Victoria are home to all services that you could need. 

A high-speed commuter ferry is currently in the works, which will take passengers directly to Vancouver’s Waterfront Station – just in case business or personal reasons mean that you will have to travel often to the big city. 

So You Made it to Nanaimo. Now What?

There’s not much more tiring after a long day of moving. Reward yourself with a takeout meal from one of the local favourites like Smokin’ George’s BBQ, sushi from Nori Japanese, or Pizza from Mambo.

Then you can start getting settled, unpacking those neatly packed moving boxes and furnishing your new home just how you like it. 

You only get to be a “newcomer” once in Nanaimo, and thankfully there are several local organizations that are dedicated to making you feel at home

The Nanaimo Newcomers Club is an organization for women to get involved socially, and the City of Nanaimo keeps a record of hundreds of social, cultural, and sports clubs for anyone to join. The benefits of living in a city of 100,000+ people are that there are probably others who share the same interests as you, yet there is still a feeling of small town charm.

Weather in Nanaimo

Nanaimo has a reputation for having one of the mildest climates in Canada. It’s location in Vancouver Island’s rainforest means that the average winter temperature is approximately 8 degrees celsius.

Although you don’t need to prepare for the worst like Canadians in the rest of the country, there are still some things to consider. 

Although snow is rare, it does happen in Nanaimo. Keep a snow shovel and sidewalk salt stash, as these items sell out quickly in stores when snow does fall. 

Most Nanaimo residents don’t own snow tires, unless they plan on travelling to other regions in the winter (like the Mt. Washington ski resort, only a 90 minute drive from Nanaimo).

Of course, the rainy climate means that you should prepare by having decent raingear, and ensuring that the drainage around your home is adequate.

Enjoying Your New Life in Nanaimo

kayaks beside the ocean in nanaimo

“The Harbour City” offers an excellent quality of life and access to amenities without the “big city hustle” that is the fast-growing Victoria region directly to the south.

This has led to increased demand in the Nanaimo real estate market and an influx of new residents. The city is slated for growth for years to come, so come be a part of it!

Have any more questions about Nanaimo real estate or living in Nanaimo? Get in touch with our team. We know the market, and we love helping people start a new life in Nanaimo.