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Today known as the "Hub, Tub and Pub City", Nanaimo sits on Vancouver Island in British Colombia. This quirky nickname came about because the original layout of the city is one of streets more like spokes of a wagon wheel radiating out from the shoreline, whilst the city is associated with bathtub racing and known for its plethora of pubs. It is the central point for most of the island's best kayaking destinations if you like to paddle around the water. It is where squatters still sit in quirky shacks on Shack Island in Hammond Bay that were homes to destitute people during the Great Depression.
Nanaimo was originally a coal-shipping city and once upon a time coal tunnels were everywhere in the area. Today most have collapsed or been flooded, but there is one that you can gawk at in the Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park, south of Nanaimo. There is a brilliant campsite on Newcastle Island for those chasing some outdoor adventure. In Departure Bay you will find the Pacific Biological Station that was established in 1974. Conducting marine research, the favorite project is an attempt to save the sea horse in the Philippines. You can paddle a kayak or canoe through a cave on Jesse Island or simply stroll along the waterfront of the harbor and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. If eating is not on your mind this is where you can organize a fishing trip or just gawk at the tug boats, freighters, sea planes or whatever else seems to be floating in the harbor. Grab a crab pot and see if you can catch any, chat to the buskers, buy a souvenir along the pathway or you may be lucky enough to see a cheeky seal looking for a tasty handout. The Nanaimo boat basin is where you can walk at low tide from Newcastle Island to Protection Island. Remember to have ear plugs if you are around the Bastion when at noon each day the cannon is fired and on certain days you can watch the Brigadoon Dance Academy's highland dancing performing.
If all of this is too on the mild or ho hum side, go bungee jumping over the Nanaimo River.
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