Harewood is a charming and relaxed neighbourhood of about 3.25 km², spread across the flat space that lies between VIU and the hill above Downtown. It's very convenient to downtown and the university, as well as being snug against the wilderness behind town, and the Parkway that connects Nanaimo to the rest of the Island.
This is an old community, having been a rural district with its own municipality prior to its annexation by Nanaimo in 1976. When this area was first settled as land for the families of labourers in the late Victorian/Edwardian eras, it was subdivided as five-acre plots (harewood used to be called "Five Acres"). Over time, these plots were subdivided and newer homes (1920's craftsman bungalows to post-war ranchers and split-levels), were added beside them.
This is a great place to find a well-made home of solid wooden construction. There used to be a lot of old-growth fir available in these parts, and it shows.
There was a time in recent memory when people outside of Harewood considered it to be gritty and called it "Scarewood". But it's a much nicer part of town these days, owing in part to the growing university, an influx of young professional families and students, and some significant investment, including the renovation of Harewood Mall into University Plaza. There is also renovation at 4th and Bruce, with the Gateway to India restaurant getting a makeover, and the old seedy Fun Centre arcade having been replaced with a technology firm. Signs of the times, it's said.
There is also a lot of development in the Chase River district just south of Harewood, so the transition is very palpable.
Harewood's boundaries may be thought of as running south into Chase River near Tenth St, west to the university, and north to Third St or Bowen Rd, depending on whom you're asking. The railway tracks might be thought of as separating Harewood from "South Nanaimo" to the east, toward the water.
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