Bathtub Racing in Nanaimo
The Nanaimo Bar is a no-bake cookie bar named after the City of Nanaimo.
Nanaimo is a centrally located city on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Nanaimo was incorporated as a city in 1874, and has population of more than 83,000. The city is well known for its wealth of recreational opportunities, including biking, boating, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling. Nanaimo is approximately 110 kilometres (68 miles) northwest of Victoria, and 55 kilometres (54 miles) west of Vancouver, separated by the Strait of Georgia, and linked to Vancouver via the BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay Terminal in West Vancouver. As the site of the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal, Nanaimo is the gateway to many destinations on the island, including Campbell River, the Comox Valley, Parksville, Port Alberni, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, and Tofino. Destinations off its coastline include Gabriola Island, Newcastle Island, and many Gulf Islands.
Bathtub Racing Capital of the World
The city is known as the “Bathtub Racing Capital of the World” and the “Harbour City.” In 1967, the first bathtub race has held to promote Nanaimo and increase its visibility worldwide. The first race was billed as the “Nanaimo to Vancouver Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.” The race was part of the City of Vancouver’s annual Sea Festival until the 1990s, when tubbers raced from Nanaimo to Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach. The race to Vancouver ended with the demise of the Vancouver Sea Festival in the mid-1990s. The race is now held annually on the last weekend of July and involves a course beginning in Nanaimo Harbour and ending at Departure Bay.
Nanaimo Mayor Frank Ney was one of the largest supporters and promoters of the annual race from its inaugural race in 1967 until his death in 1992. Mayor Ney, an avid participant, would regularly dress as a pirate and tour the town and surrounding communities in his costume. A bronze statue of Ney as a pirate is located at Swy-a-Lana Lagoon in downtown Nanaimo.
Nanaimo is also referred to as the “Hub City” because of its central location on Vancouver Island and the layout of downtown streets that form a “hub” pattern. It is fondly known as the “Hub, Tub, and Pub City” because of its association with bathtub racing and its numerous “watering holes” in Old Nanaimo. The Regional District of Nanaimo has its headquarters in Nanaimo.
Nanaimo is served by three airports: Nanaimo Airport (YCD) with services to Vancouver (YVR); Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport with services to Vancouver Harbour (Coal Harbour) and Vancouver Airport (YVR South Terminal); and Nanaimo/Long Lake Water Airport. Nanaimo has three BC Ferry terminals located at Departure Bay, Duke Point, and Nanaimo Harbour. The downtown terminal services Gabriola Island while Departure Bay and Duke Point service Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen respectively. Highways 1, 19 and 19A traverse the city. Nanaimo Regional Transit provides bus service in the city.