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Nanaimo WaterfrontThe lovely "Harbour City" Nanaimo - also known as the "Bathtub Racing Capital of the World" is located on the East coast of the island. You will arrive either by ferry or by floatplane and will be in the perfect spot for making plans to discover the island. There are two big highways on Van Isle (one going from South to North the other one from East to West) and both of them pass Nanaimo. Therefore Nanaimo can be seen as the gateway to cities both on the island and off its coast. But don't think Nanaimo itself has nothing to offer! During summer there are a lot of festivals going on such as the famous "Bathtub Race", art shows, culturally specific exhibitions, and live theatre taking over the streets. The ones who like it quieter can enjoy BC's beautiful landscape while hiking on Mt Benson or just going to one of Nanaimo's countless parks. Nanaimo also has a very interesting history. The original main industry was coal mining. However, later forestry got more important. The history of Nanaimo is one of a blending of cultures. First Nations, British, Spanish, and French cultures all have roots within the city, and what better way to celebrate than by creating city wide cultural projects? With the incredible variety of influences contributing to the art, music, and atmosphere that make up Nanaimo, it's no wonder that the city was named Cultural Capital of Canada in 2008. Nevertheless, at some point travellers want to explore the rest of the island. The best way to do that is by renting a car. Of course, the Greyhound and the local buses are an option, too, but you will miss breathtaking spots. tofino-beachNanaimo is only about a 1.5 hours drive away from Victoria and the famous surfer's city Tofino can be reached in 3.5 hours. But as the locals know there is more to see than just the regular tourist spots. The North of the island provides beautiful, small cities such as Cumberland and Courtenay and also the skier's paradise Mt Washington. For those who consider a trip to Alaska: there's a ferry going from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and once you've made it there Alaska is only a stone's throw away. In a nutshell, Nanaimo offers everything travellers need. Of course it is not Vancouver or Tofino but once you've opened up your heart to this lovely city you won't want to leave it anymore! For more information about renting a car visit http://www.rentawreck.ca/ or http://www.enterprise.com/ or http://www.greyhound.ca/ for bus routes. For more information about staying in Nanaimo visit http://www.paintedturtle.ca/