Nanaimo is now a city of more than 100,000 people, according to the municipality’s best estimates. (City of Nanaimo photo)

Nanaimo is now a city of more than 100,000 people, according to the municipality’s best estimates. (City of Nanaimo photo)

City of Nanaimo’s population reaches 100,000

Mayor says ‘big number’ is worth celebrating

The Harbour City is now home to 100,000 people.

According to the City of Nanaimo’s best estimates, population has reached six digits, “an important milestone in the city’s history,” said Mayor Leonard Krog at last week’s council meeting.

The city’s population was 90,500 in the 2016 census. The 100,000-plus count will become more exact and more official later this year when 2021 census information is available, but in the meantime, data from B.C. Stats and the city’s GIS platform make Nanaimo’s economic development officer Amrit Manhas comfortable in confirming that 100,000 has been reached.

B.C. Stats doesn’t estimate population by municipality, but estimates by regional district, school district and local health area, for example, and so Manhas was able to extrapolate Nanaimo’s estimated population.

Krog, at last week’s meeting, presented a brief timeline of the city’s growth from Snuneymuxw villages, through its coal mining history and incorporation in 1874 when there were 1,000 residents, to today when Nanaimo considers itself B.C.’s fifth-largest urban centre after Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford-Mission.

Saanich is Vancouver Island’s most populous municipality, with Victoria third.

“We are not done growing…” Krog said. “I know that for some it is a difficult adjustment from the small town they may have grown up in or their grandparents knew, but there is much to be positive about in this city’s future.”

Manhas said population size and growth speak to a community’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest. She said population growth increases the consumer base for business, expands the pool of skilled workers to grow business and attracts new business.

“We are at this point providing the services and amenities of large metropolitan areas,” she said.

Her department is working on a state of the economy report to present to city council this month and Manhas said she’s seeing “great indicators,” for example a real estate market that’s seeing more young families moving to the city. She said the majority of Nanaimo’s growth in recent years has come from people relocating from other parts of B.C., and said the city’s population growth has come with “increasing” diversity.

READ ALSO: Infrastructure, internet, industrial land key to Nanaimo’s economic development strategy

READ ALSO: Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

A hundred thousand people in Nanaimo has caused a squeeze. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2020 data puts Nanaimo’s apartment vacancy rate at just one per cent, down from two per cent in 2019. Dale Lindsay, the city’s general manager of community development, said he thought “significant investment” in new rental buildings the past few years might have eased the vacancy rate, but acknowledged that it does take time for projects to come online.

“We have some major buildings now that are getting near occupancy,” he said. “How that number will impact the vacancy rate, I don’t know. We’re all hopeful it makes a positive impact, but we’re also seeing continued interest in Nanaimo.”

Anecdotally, said Lindsay, people are interested in moving to mid-size cities for reasons of affordability, more room to spread out it a pandemic, and because of new opportunities to work remotely.

Krog said people are choosing Nanaimo as a city in which they want to raise a family, learn, work, invest and play.

“We are poised to be the city that I think all of us want it to be, that is livable, that is a leader, that is attractive to everyone and sets an example,” the mayor said. “100,000 is a big number and it deserves celebration.”



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Canada Population

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan Christian’s Grace George lines up a shot during the three-point portion of the BC School Sports Pandemic Basketball Challenge after taking a pass from Cam Stevens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian leads the way in pandemic basketball challenge

School tops participation numbers for second time this year

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

‘It was a great week for Jan Pullinger, MLA. She accompanied Andrew Petter, the new Minister of Health to Lake Cowichan. He credited her with saving the Youbou mill. Left to right, Jan, Petter and Sam Beldessi, president of the Cowichan Seniors. Pullinger and Petter were visiting the Seniors’ Centre.’ (Lake News, March 6, 1996)
Lake Flashback: A new library, Peewee sports, and a resignation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read