Departure Bay is a beautiful oceanside neighbourhood, a bowl-shaped valley rising from a large beach.
It is a highly desirable area owing to its spectacular ocean views, large swimming beach and park, well-kept homes, and central location. Almost anyone who's been to Nanaimo will be familiar with Departure Bay as the large bay where the ferry arrives from Vancouver. (But the ferry terminal is not in the residential area referred to as Departure Bay - it's in the Brechin Hill neighbourhood.)
There are luxury waterfront houses down by the beach of course, but as you go uphill you'll find different types of neighbourhoods. At the southern end are Cilaire and Beach Estates - then further north is the Lynburn neighbourhood, also notable for its mid-century and higher-end postwar homes. There are some strata buildings close to the beach, and then to the north, the land rises as dark basalt bluffs covered in houses of wood and glass. Sherwood Forest is tucked into here (with streets named Prince John Way, Marion Way, Bowstring Close, Nottingham, etc.).
North of Sherwood Forest there is still a lot of undeveloped land (beautiful undulating lands with arbutus and moss and towering firs and hemlock), with multiple ridges rolling back toward the Hammond Bay area. These ridges are still being developed with beautiful newer custom homes, but a large area has also been preserved as hiking trails and protected lakes.
Amenities are very near with several big malls within a 10 min drive. But even closer are the many beaches and rocky shores, most notably Pipers Lagoon and Neck Point, and of course the long sandy Departure Bay Beach, a popular (but seldom crowded) swimming beach with a playground, grassy lawn, driftwood hide-outs and a coffee shop.
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Properties for Sale in Departure Bay
Did You Know?
The first telephone line in British Columbia was installed here in the 1880s - it ran from the wharves at Departure Bay up to the coal town of Wellington (now part of Nanaimo, between Diver Lake and Long Lake). One of the mining engineers assembled the telephone system based on instructions he saw in a science magazine.
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