Like South Nanaimo and the Old City, the University District is distinguished by its greater concentration of students, young families, and artsy types. It's a very convenient place to live, being close to downtown yet close to the mountain - and also close to the Parkway expressway and VIU.

Note: While the University Village shopping mall is only a few blocks from the university, the Real Estate Board calls that area "South Nanaimo". Homes in that area are listed on my South Nanaimo page.

Homes for Sale in the University District


University District Areas

There are a few distinct neighbourhoods in the University District, as shown in the image below. Scroll past the image for more info about the areas:

Showing aerial view of University District with borders and landmarks and neighbourhood names

College Heights

This neighbourhood of about 400 homes is perched on a knoll above the university and the Parkway. Many of the homes are large and have incredible views toward downtown and across to the coastal mountain range and Vancouver. 

Oceanview College Heights homes

Buttertubs: Beside the marsh there are some larger, well-kept 1970s-80s homes around Bird Sanctuary Dr and Wildlife Pl, as seen below. It's a proud neighbourhood and most of the homes are renovated, though some fixer-uppers are still to be found.

Homes near Buttertubs Marsh


HawthorneHawthorne neighbourhood, University District, Nanaimo

Very desirable for families, this subdivision near the university includes mostly mid-2000s detached homes, as well as a European/loft-style cluster of townhomes at the corner of Wakesiah and 2nd St. Another phase is under construction in 2020/21.

Fairview: An old neighbourhood on the outskirts of downtown Nanaimo - between Wakesiah Ave and Pine Street. These are solid old homes, similar to what is found in Harewood. This area is only slightly less sought-after in comparison with the Old City.

Northwest Harewood (this is not a name that is used): The real estate board's "University District" boundaries happen to include the northwest parts of Harewood, closest to VIU, reaching down to Harewood Road as far as the Colliery Dams. This area has a lot of ageing houses, though many are very nicely renovated, and beautiful gardens are common. This is a popular area for investors to purchase homes for renting to university students, as the neighbourhood rests directly between VIU and shopping.

Recreation and Amenities

The malls of North Nanaimo are easily accessed via the Parkway. But the lakes and ocean and mountain are even closer:

  • Hiking trails (easy to alpine) - 6 minute drive
  • Dog off leash areas - 5 minute drive
  • Rocky beaches - 8 minute drive
  • Lake swimming - 6 minute drive
  • Nanaimo River swimming - 20 minute drive

Nearby Schools

  • Fairview Elementary ; 205 Howard Ave.
  • Georgia Avenue Elementary ; 625 Georgia Ave.
  • Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS) ; 355 Wakesiah Ave.
  • John Barsby Secondary ; 550 7th St.

Back to Nanaimo neighbourhoods