Guest Blog: Time-Lapse Nanaimo

One of my favourite #ExploreNanaimo activities is to enjoy a Saturday morning at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza and the nearby walkways and marina floats in that boat basin area. On June 13, 2015, I spent 3 hours in various spots around the marina area, enjoying watching the movement of boats, people and clouds. I enjoy filming time-lapse videos because slow things like cloud movement become beautiful and interesting when sped-up. It is a whole different way to view the constant movement that’s around us.  By observing the area for a few hours, you get a sense that the waterfront is a place that people enjoy visiting, especially on a weekend morning. And by watching the small boat traffic, you are reminded that Protection Island is part of the city, and that its people use the marina as their link between their homes and the rest of the city. And by watching the float plane traffic, you are reminded that Nanaimo is easily connected to a whole different world in Vancouver.

You can learn a lot about an area by observing the people movement and how people use transportation in their lives.   That’s probably why watching boats and planes is fascinating to me.  You get a sense of how people stay connected between the different locations of their lives.

In my video, I started on a marina float, which gives a nice water-level view of the boats exiting the marina. But the ocean movement means that my camera moves, which means that things get  too shaky for time-lapse.  So I moved to the other side of the marina, to a spot on the walkway beside the Cameron Island condos. This gave me a nice view of the boat movement, and also the people movement in the plaza. And it was nice to have some iconic Nanaimo structures in view, such as the HBC Bastion and the Lighthouse Bistro.  Then I saw some cloud movement happening behind the Port Theatre, so I turned my attention to that for a while.  After that, the direction of the late-morning sun made me find a different location, and so it was time to shoot towards the marina from the plaza parkade.  The walkways along the edge of the top level of the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza parkade allow a variety of angles with either Protection Island or Cameron Island condos as a background.

At the end of my 3 hour visit, I was happy and content because I enjoyed a such a simple and interesting time.   And I was also happy to have 180 minutes of video footage, ready to be edited on my home computer.


Mike Bonkowski is a lifelong Nanaimo resident who enjoys exploring Nanaimo’s viewpoints and waterfront with his camera, creating time-lapse videos.  When he’s not exploring Nanaimo or reading about BC history, Mike can be found working in a local accounting firm. You can reach Mike by email at or visit his YouTube Page for more videos like this.

mike bonkowski mdm

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