Red shows Brechin Hill, blue shows Vancouver Ave. area

Brechin Hill / Stewart Ave. / Newcastle

Brechin is the hill on your right when you disembark from the ferries at Departure Bay. The neighbourhood includes some funky homes built to enjoy the amazing views of Departure Bay and Newcastle Island; decks are large, windows are tall, roads are steep, and there's a sort of maritime feeling, almost like some areas around Kitsilano in Vancouver.

As you travel south toward downtown, you move into a neighbourhood sometimes described by locals as the "Vancouver Avenue" area. For lovers of old-town Nanaimo, this is the best real estate available, matched only by the Old City area.

This is a beautiful old part of town (it was the wealthy "North Ward" in Victorian times) with stunningly maintained character homes, some with surprisingly large lots and ocean views. This neighbourhood's streets slope down to the ocean, such that you can usually look down the road and see boats, backdropped by Newcastle Island across a narrow channel.

Nomenclature: Stewart Avenue runs south from the base of Brechin Hill (at the ferry terminal) towards downtown. The last section is the Vancouver Avenue area. The entire region described on this page is called the "Newcastle" area.

Along bus routes? Yes.
Nearby parks: Beach Estates Park, Bowen Park, Maffeo Sutton Park, Newcastle Island (by boat)

Nearby Schools


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Here's an attractive view of Brechin Hill's northern aspect, overlooking Departure Bay above the ferry terminal. The bottom end of Beach Estates Park is visible as a beach in the photo.

Historic map of the Brechin Hill area, 1955