Rainy Day Activities in Nanaimo

Well, it looks like our luck has run out this week – rain is in our forecast. Of course, our weather changes so unpredictably, so who knows, maybe by the time you’re reading this it’ll be sunny the rest of the month. However, just in case the rain is here to stay, here are a few Tourism Nanaimo approved activities for those grey, rainy days:

Take in Nanaimo’s History

Explore the Nanaimo Museum where you can completely immerse yourself in Nanaimo’s proud and diverse culture. From First Nations to Coal Miners to Chinese Immigrants, there is so much to learn about our long and fruitful history! The Nanaimo Museum has many permanent exhibits, but they also feature really cool travelling exhibits. For example, the current featured exhibit is “Ring of Fire: Canadians in the Pacific in WW2”. Visiting from the Military Museums in Calgary, this exhibit tells the stories of Canada’s troops in the Pacific during World War II. The “Ring of Fire” exhibit runs until November 15th, 2014.

Learn the history of the Nanaimo Bar! |Credit: Sean Helmn

Learn the history of the Nanaimo Bar! |Credit: Sean Helmn

Experience Local Art

Rainy days are great for getting lost in one of Nanaimo’s many art galleries. Head down to Commercial Street where you can visit the Nanaimo Art Gallery and Barton Leier Mixta. The Nanaimo Art Gallery features works by both Vancouver Island and Canadian artists including art, jewelry, ceramics, textile art, and more. Including works of their own, Grant Leier and Nixie Barton’s gallery also features an eclectic range of leather bags, backpacks, journals, and purses fair-traded from India. One block over, on Bastion Street, you can peruse the Artisans’ Studio and Hill’s Native Art. The Artisans’ Studio is self-defined as “A local artist co-operative with a global reach”. This studio sells artwork, jewelry, hand-made gifts (and more) from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island & surround island artists. Hill’s Native Art is a gallery and gift store that exclusively showcases First Nations and Inuit arts and crafts. If you’re looking for authentic Aboriginal artwork, this is the place to go. Lastly, stroll up to the Old City Quarter and visit G.E.M. Gates & Gifts Showroom where you can find a unique selection of artwork including handcrafted metalwork by Laura Ewing and G.E.M. owner George.

Dry off and cozy up in a local café 

What better way to seek shelter from the rain than to cozy up in a warm, inviting café, listening to soothing coffee shop tunes, people watching, and catching up with a friend? Luckily there are plenty of cafés where you can do just that. If you’re already out and about exploring art galleries downtown, there are a number of cafés where you can dry off. On Commercial Street, enjoy a cup of joe at Perkins Coffee Company, an espresso at Mon Petit Choux, or a London Fog at Serious Coffee. If you’re looking for a view, head to the harbourfront walkway where you can enjoy a latté at Javawocky or a hot brew at Tea on the Quay.

Wildlife watching at Piper’s Lagoon

One of my favourite rainy day activities is to go wildlife watching. This is for a few reasons. One, rain seems to bring out wildlife. Whether that’s because it’s cooler out, it’s quieter or there’s just something in the atmosphere, I don’t know. Speaking of quiet, my second reason for why rainy days equal great wildlife watching days is that there’s a lot less people hanging about. Lastly, thanks to grey skies, your eyes don’t have to battle harsh sun to catch a glimpse of a flying bald eagle.

When all else fails, embrace it!

When you live on the Island, you learn to fully embrace the rain. Since we live in a perpetual grey state in the winter months, it’s really hard to avoid the rain – but that’s why umbrellas and wellies were invented! My absolute favourite time to explore hiking trails is in the rain – beside the puddle jumping, the vibrant forest greens are so captivating and easy to get lost in. The sights, smells, and sounds of a rainy day walk in the forest is my all-time favourite way to enjoy a day in the rain. Try the quiet, yet majestic, Benson Creek Falls Regional Park:

What are your favourite rainy day activities? Let us know in the comments below!

– Sean

(For more ideas on fun activities in Nanaimo, check out our ‘Things to Do’ page here!)

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