As a city of about 80,000 we have the shopping malls and big-box outlets that offer consumers a lot of choice at economical prices. But we also have funky boutiques and specialty stores. This page should help to illustrate how to begin your shopping trip in Nanaimo.
This map shows most general shopping areas and malls in Nanaimo. Read down below for more information about each mall.
You can make the map bigger by dragging the bottom-right corner. Zoom in to make the markers easier to work around.
The main artery through town is the Island Highway, and it's strung with a LOT of shopping malls. There is also a bypass highway (the Parkway) connecting the two ends of the city and everything in between.
This is the biggest shopping mall on Vancouver Island, with 150 stores and services, including Avalon Cinemas. It's at the farthest end of town in the north, on the way to Parksville and the West Coast.
|The Bay||Walmart||The Gap|
|EB Games||Tip Top Tailors||Save-On-Foods|
|Sport Chek||Toys'R'Us||Sunglass Hut|
|Chapters||Pier 1 Imports||HMV|
|Black's Photography||The Source||Aldo|
|cleo||Liquor store||Suzy Shier|
|la Vie en Rose||Reitman's||Northern Reflections|
(Formerly Rutherford Mall) North Town Centre is at the corner of Island Highway and Rutherford Road. It has about 50 stores and services, including Galaxy Theaters.
|Fairway Market||Zellers||Urban Planet|
|Best Buy||Sears||London Drugs|
|1 Hour Optical||Paws N Jaws (pets)||Regis Salon|
|Rutherford Hair Stylists||Scotiabank||Target|
|Vancouver Island Military Museum||Peoples Jewellers||Bentley Leather|
|Art 10 Gallery||Schooner Travel||Front Side|
Over 50 stores, ten minutes north of downtown.
|Future Shop||Jysk||Urban Barn|
|Save-On-Foods||La-Z-Boy||Shoppers Drug Mart|
|Bootlegger||Shoe Warehouse||Lucky's Liquor Store|
|Ricki's||Harbour Shoes||Nanaimo's Health Shop|
|CIBC||Maycock Eyecare||Marlin Travel|
|Barry's Tailoring||Beaner's Fun Cuts for Kids||JT Flair Hair Salon|
|Sport Mart||Curious Comics||Alberni Outpost|
|EB Games||Coles Books||Cook's Nook|
|Yellow Bird Art Gallery||The Source||The Soap Exchange|
(Formerly Harbour Park Mall) This mall is in a prime location downtown - it's close to the waterfront walkways and also to the arts/historic/boutique areas of the city. The mall itself has recently undergone a huge modernization; people meet at the Starbucks on the corner, where the ocean can be smelled and heard, yet lots of parking is available nearby.
|Thrifty Foods||London Drugs||Fields|
|Charlie Brown Health Foods||The Source||????|
Don't miss our list of the businesses in the Old City Quarter
(Formerly Northbrook Mall) This is a strip mall with banking, a Home Hardware, Staples, a Thrifty's supermarket, and more. It's just uphill from BC Ferries in Departure Bay.
Located between the university and downtown, this mall has a Value Village, Shoppers Drug Mart, Quality Foods, Starbucks, a liquor store, Subway, a sushi place, and some other shops. This mall has a cool fossil of a 60 million year old petrified palm tree.
This outdoor mall is between downtown and Brooks Landing (see above). There is a Save-On-Foods, BC Liquor Store, Nesvog's Meats, Seadrift Fish Market (this is actually in the next lot over to the north), Blockbuster Movies, and more.
This mall is south of Downtown, almost out of the city. There's a Food Country grocery store here, and some restaurants, and a Rexall drug store, a Buckerfields, and more. There is also a RONA across the highway.
Read our tips for Buying seafood
If you're looking for grocery shopping, you can just travel up the island highway, and near almost every major intersection is a grocery store. We think the local Thrifty Foods has the best service and products overall. Fairway Market at North Town Centre has the largest Asian foods selection, and Quality Foods is good for bargains and hot/deli foods. Food Country at Southgate Mall is huge and has a lot of great prices.
The primary mall downtown is Port Place, which has a good selection of stores for people who want to "stock up". But if you're shopping for more character and the experience of Downtown Nanaimo, you need to walk up Commercial St. or along Victoria Crescent.
Zoom into downtown on the map above, to get a sense of the streets' layout
Heading uphill across the Bastion St Bridge, you'll see an old church on the left (old for this part of the world, anyway). Now the street you're on is called Fitzwilliam, and you can see the exposed strata of old Nanaimo as you climb the hill. This is the Old City Quarter, with its boutiques and specialty stores, and its diverse food options including fine dining (here's a list). There's also a pub (the Oxy) at the top of the Quarter, in an old restored heritage building by the railway.
If you want to see all the shops downtown, especially if you want to sniff out some extra used book stores, antiques, pawn shops, and the Sound Heritage music store, you should check out Victoria Crescent and Nichol Street.
Did you notice any businesses or shopping areas missing from this page? Please let us know.