Nanaimo Port Cruise Ship Facility

Nanaimo Port Authority

Sources of Funding
Federal Infrastructure Fund:$8,500,000
Province of BC:$5,000,000
Nanaimo Port Authority:$8,163,484
Total Budget: $25,163,484
Quick Facts: 

The Nanaimo Port Cruise Ship facility received international recognition for design and function.

The Port of Nanaimo had been welcoming cruise ships to its harbour since 2002, however there was no permanent facility to discharge passengers and they had to be shuttled to shore by boat.  Its shallow turning basin and lack of dock space limited it to periodic stops by smaller ships.  Despite the growth in this industry and Nanaimo’s strategic alignment as a community diversifying through tourism, the community was missing out on this opportunity to attract this growing, high value tourism industry. Looking to the future, and the cruise industry’s preference for permanent facilities and larger vessels, the Port Authority began to look at options for a permanent dock.  The current assembly wharf in the Port of Nanaimo had been used for decades by the forestry industry, however use of the current berths would have required significant dredging with important negative environmental impacts.

To accommodate the largest cruise ships operating, a new floating concrete pier was built, consisting of two concrete pontoons that create a structure which is 350 ft long, 50 feet wide and 20 feet deep, moored to a number of pilings.  A new pedestrian bridge from the pier to a new bulkhead was constructed to move passengers from the float to land.  A 7,300-square foot welcome centre, offering spectacular floor to ceiling views of the harbour, was built to accommodate customs clearance, shore excursion processing and waiting.

The Nanaimo Port Cruise Facility Project, completed in 2014, allows for the expansion of tourism in the mid-island region. The facility is now well positioned for the future growth in this industry.  The facility has welcomed some of the largest cruise ships travelling the inside passage to Alaska, such as the Norwegian Pearl. This has solidified the mid-Island as a sophisticated cruise destination with international cruise lines and has introduced the mid Island to a new market of international cruise travelers, allowing for the development of new shore excursion products which reach beyond Nanaimo to the region at large. The facility has also been used by the Canadian Navy, research vessels and other large ships.  The welcome centre has also been used in the off season for special events and conferences.  Future additional uses of the facility could include a foot passenger ferry terminal as well as a wider range of special events.


person years employment created (construction phase)
locally elected officials and MLAs working together
million annual provincial government revenue generated
post completion jobs created
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested
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economic development projects
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projects in small (less than 5,000) communities
communities with ICET projects

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