You’ve got plenty of options for enjoying a relaxing and entertaining time on the mid-Island during the month of March. Festival Nanaimo feaures more than 40 events, from music and food to dance and more. Courtesy Tourism Nanaimo

March (or drive) into the Harbour City this month!

From Festival Nanaimo’s 40-plus events to waterfront sights and sounds, mid-Island city has it all

If you’re looking to switch up your entertainment and activity calendar this month, a trip north up Highway 1 to the Harbour City offers great opportunities to cross some things off your Island bucket list.

Whether you’re a fan of live music, a wee dram of whisky, dancing, culinary options or more reflective pursuits, the sixth annual Festival Nanaimo offers 40-plus events to choose from in March – including eight signature events with a wide variety of interests. Less than two hours’ drive away from Victoria, this historic, vibrant and colourful waterfront city is closer than you might think, says festival producer Margot Holmes.

“We welcome visitors to come and see Nanaimo in a different way,” she says. “It’s a perfect chance to stay overnight, see a show, enjoy downtown cafés, walk along the waterfront and more.”

From Festival to freestyling it, there’s many ways to experience Nanaimo:

  • Music at the Port and more – Choose from the Vancouver Island Symphony’s Iconic Beethoven concert (March 14) or Happy Hour! SoundBites (March 19) shows, and the magic of Ken Lavigne’s 3 Knights With a Tenor show (March 26). Or bring back the big hair and dress in your favourite spandex and leg warmers for the Back to the 80’s Dance Party (March 21) at Beban Park Social Centre.
  • A wee dram and live theatre – If you’ve got a cultured palate, there’s the always-popular Wee Tipple Party – Nanaimo’s Whisk(e)y Festival at the Grand Hotel. And if theatre is your passion, experience the Canadian premiere of Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein (March 8) or the hilarious Arts Club Theatre production of Kim’s Convenience (March 25) on stage at the Port Theatre.
  • Peruse the produce – The first three Wednesdays of the month (noon to 4 p.m.), the Island Roots Winter Market lands in the Centennial Building at Beban Park. Browse through a selection of farm-grown produce, fresh-baked goods and handmade products for a taste of the mid-Island.
  • Plan a mid-week getaway – Some events on the Festival Nanaimo calendar happen mid-week, from Tibetan Gong Meditation to concerts and plays, giving you even more reason to book a night or two’s accommodation at a great rate.
  • Don’t forget the Nanaimo Bars – Not only is this ubiquitous dessert a treat in its original form, you can find its flavours infusing everything from tea and soap to beer and martinis. Try a search for the most interesting application!

You can find a full cross-section of March activities at festivalnanaimo.com, and stay up to date on the Festival Facebook page.

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The harbourfront walkway in Nanaimo offers great views of seaplanes and boats of all sizes coming and going. Courtesy Tourism Nanaimo

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