Nanaimo /nəˈnaɪmoʊ/ (Canada 2016 Census population 90,504) is a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is known as “The Harbour City”. The city was previously known as the “Hub City”, which has been attributed to its original layout design where the streets radiated out from the shoreline like the spokes of a wagon wheel, as well as its generally centralized location on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo is also the headquarters of the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The Indigenous peoples of the area that is now known as Nanaimo are the Snuneymuxw. An anglicised spelling and pronunciation of that word gave the city its current name.
The first Europeans to find Nanaimo Bay were those of the 1791 Spanish voyage of Juan Carrasco, under the command of Francisco de Eliza. They gave it the name Bocas de Winthuysen.
Nanaimo began as a trading post in the early 19th century. In 1849, the Snuneymuxw chief Ki-et-sa-kun (“Coal Tyee”) informed the Hudson’s Bay Company of coal in the area. Exploration proved there was plenty of it in the area and Nanaimo became chiefly known for the export of coal. In 1853 the company built the Nanaimo Bastion, which has been preserved and is a popular tourist destination in the downtown area.