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Vancouver Island Conference Centre
Contributed by: davidstanley
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Trip Journal
The Vancouver Island Conference Center in downtown Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, is an exciting new venue for meetings, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, receptions, and other events. Just completed, the Port of Nanaimo Centre opened in 2008 with 38,000 square feet available in a variety of modules, from the 13,697-square-foot ballroom to numerous smaller rooms accommodating groups of under a hundred. The ballroom forms the heart of the complex, with seating for 1,300 persons theatre style or 720 when set up as a classroom. As many as 1,400 people can attend receptions here, while 960 can be seated at banquets. The ballroom can be broken down into four salons of differing size, and just across the corridor are five smaller meeting rooms for specialized use. The 7,368-square-foot conference pre-function area connects it all. An elevated walkway joins the main building to the 200-seat Shaw Auditorium with another four smaller meeting rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs. A feature of the Auditorium building is the oceanfront terrace with splendid harbour views. Flexibility and convenience have been built into these state-of-the-art facilities. The new home of the Nanaimo Museum is at street level directly below the ballroom in the main building. A row of upscale retail outlets face historic Commercial Street. A 140-room luxury hotel will be built alongside the Centre at a later date. Presently conference visitors can chose from the three-star Coast Bastion Inn a block away from the Centre, the nearby Best Western Dorchester Hotel, and many other hotels and motels. A Ramada Hotel is on Rosehill Street, a 10-minute walk away. Nanaimo is the main travel and service centre for central and northern Vancouver Island. Car ferries from Vancouver arrive at Departure Bay and Duke Point near the city every other hour. In addition there are seaplane flights from Vancouver International Airport and downtown Vancouver to Nanaimo Harbour, a short walk from the Port of Nanaimo Centre. Trains, buses, and a modern highway link Nanaimo to British Columbia’s capital, Victoria. Nanaimo is a Canadian eco-tourism superstar with hiking and mountain biking in summer and cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing in winter. The Mount Benson Regional Park complements the Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park and splendid Pipers Lagoon and Neck Point parks further up the coast. Virgin rainforests in the nearby Linley Valley are also undergoing park development. The Vancouver Island Conference Centre is nestled in the heart of picturesque downtown Nanaimo with the colourful fishing harbour a stone throw away. A large shopping mall is just around the corner, and numerous pubs, restaurants, cafes, and shops are within sight of the building. The Vancouver Island Public Library next to the Conference Centre provides public internet and research facilities, and the 800-seat Port Theatre next to the library is mid-island’s top arts and entertainment venue. Nanaimo’s municipal and regional parks are exceptional, with splendid sea and mountain views. Nanaimo is a vibrant, exciting city where work and play become one, and you are invited. Photos and travel information on Nanaimo are available at while the Go Nanaimo Blog carries news and views from the Harbour City.

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