Nanaimo is located on the east side of Vancouver Island off the southwest coast of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is the largest North American island in the Pacific Ocean. The Vancouver Island/Coast region is the second most populous economic region in the province, accounting for 17.3% of the provincial population, covering 9.1% of the total provincial land mass. With a population base of 789,396 (2015) 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 sand swept. Total area for Vancouver Island region is 84,231.41 sq km. With a landmass of 32,261 km, Vancouver Island is comparable in size to the Netherlands.
Vancouver Island is divided into six regional districts stretching south to north: The Capital District, Cowichan Valley, Alberni-Clayoquot, Nanaimo, Comox-Strathcona and Mount Waddington. The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is the second most heavily populated part of the island. With 154,572 (2015) residents (19% of Vancouver Island Coast total), it trails only to the Capital Regional District in both total population size and density. The RDN is the smallest regional district in geographic size, with just over 2,000 km2 (2% of the total). Regional District of Nanaimo is the 5th most populated regional district in the province of British Columbia.
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 kilometers. The City of Nanaimo accounts for 4.3% of the total land area of the region, but is home to 58% the population and operates as the region’s economic and employment centre.
Nanaimo has 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. Environment Canada consistently recognizes Nanaimo as one of the mildest climate regions in the nation, for its above-zero temperatures through fall and winter, and comfortably warm weather in spring and summer.
Summer months between June and September have average daytime highs in the mid-20s Celsius, and lows of about 10.