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

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
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

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read