A preview of Nanaimo’s New Convention Centre

Nanaimo Real Estate

Everyone in Nanaimo has at least heard of it, and almost certainly seen it as they walk or drive by. There’s this big new building in the middle of the downtown core that has recently become something more than just concrete and iron girders. This “Port of Nanaimo Centre” is emerging as a tastefully finished building. At least, that’s what we can see on the outside.

The conference centre called the “Port of Nanaimo Centre” is about to open. From what one city official told me, it will all begin in three weeks. It’s exciting for businesses downtown and for Nanaimo as it promises to bring people from across the island and the mainland to Nanaimo. This is reflected in the sudden price change in certain commercial properties in the downtown area once the plan to build this centre was finalized.
Members of my company, Coast Realty, have had the privilege of being given periodic private tours of the building. Last week, I joined one of these tours and got to see a very nearly finished conference centre that nearly floored me. I can sum up my reaction by what I kept saying during the whole tour “Wow! What is this doing in Nanaimo!”.

This is not to say or imply anything against Nanaimo, far from it. I’ve lived and travelled all over the world and I chose Nanaimo as my ideal place to settle down for a variety or reasons. (As I outline on my website.) What I mean to say is that this is the sort of centre you would normally only see in big cities, which I think just goes to show that Nanaimo is very much on the verge of graduating from smalltown-dom and is poised to continue the surge of growth we have seen in recent years. Not even just recently actually, I remember meeting a lady who told me of her teen years her during the war, and back then there were only about 1500 people in Nanaimo. That’s a lot of growth if you ask me.

Anyhow, this centre is not what it appeared to me from the outside. First and foremost, it feels about four times the size from the inside as it looks from the outside. The main conference room is bigger than the ballrooms of the Tokyo Hilton (which I recently attended a wedding function at), and just as tastefully decorated. This room can be divided into as many as four smaller rooms to accommodate multiple conferences. The floor is covered with three foot by three foot panels of carpet that can simply be picked up, washed and stuck back in place after someone spills some coffee or wine on them. This is part of the eco friendly design. (Washing less carpet space at a time and having to replace less too.)

There are a handful of murals and artistic displays of lighting which combine that natural “welcome to the west coast” feel with the sensation of life in the early 21st century.

Also in the 21st century theme is the technology which is built into the complex. There are network cable built to provide internet access ports all over the building. Every conference room has a flat screen TV that will show information as to what events are happening in that room at what time(s) during the day. I presume this will be something similar to what we see in airports, except of course with less events than an airport has flights. There is also a smaller auditorium room which seats about 200, at the front was crescent shaped table at which a panel of speakers can each be given their own microphone and view screen (or teleprompter?).

Not to mention the giant kitchen that is of the size that you usually see in large hotels and the new home for the museum which again makes Nanaimo feel more like a bigger urban centre with its spacious and simple yet tasteful layout.

Downtown has just taken a big step in being revitalized. In fact, maybe we should stop using the word “revitalize” for downtown and start using words like “continued growth” because I think it’s already past where it ever was.

Ryan Coffey

P.S. Unfortunately, I’m still battling with this wordpress program regarding the layout of my photos. At this point I don’t think it’s me, I think the program was made by demons. Please be forgiving on my photo layout! 🙂




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