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A recent article in Readers Digest touches on that point exactly and all arrows point to Nanaimo. This article is not available online so allow us to indulge in providing you with an excerpt:
“In these belt-tightening times, many Canadians don’t have the vacation dollars they once dad.  Still, according to an Ipsos survey earlier this year, 69 percent of Canadians planned to take a vacation in 2009 – despite the economic slowdown.  For many, this means taking trips closer to home.”
The article goes on to talk about destinations Out of Vancouver…
“With Nanaimo as your base, you can take some amazing day trips around Vancouver Island.  Accommodation at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse for one week is just $435 per couple, or $605 for a family of four, and a suggested itinerary of six fascinating day trip is posted on the hotel’s website (see below). These excursions include whale watching, kayaking off Newcastle Island, exploring Tofino (complete with wildlife viewing and a steam train ride) and Gulf Island hopping. Among other local points of interest: WildPlay Element Parks, where activities range from bungee jumping to a treetop aerial obstacle course; and the Dinghy Dock Pub and Restaurant, which refers to itself as Canada’s first floating pub. Further info at www.paintedturtle.ca