Great Neighbourhoods in Nanaimo Part 2: Cilaire

Ryan Coffey
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For an intro to this series, please see the first post of the series, here.

On the very southern end of what the Nanaimo MLS map refers to as the “Departure Bay” area, is an ocean side neighbourhood known to locals as ‘Cilaire’. Word among longtime Realtors is that when Cilaire was developed in the sixties, it was the fanciest part of town. This area has some of the finest examples of west coast contemporary homes in Nanaimo as well as a variety of other well built homes of that era. Of course, there is lots of ocean view as these properties are all on a gently sloping hill over the water. I do think though, that the elementary school has views that rival any fancy home in Nanaimo.

The shape of the streets in this subdivision make it fairly easy to distinguish the contours of the neighbourhood. Cilaire Drive is a loop that goes around the most central parts and there are a few roads that jut off it mostly along the waterfront or to wards Departure Bay Rd.  As traffic going through those streets isn’t really on the way to or from anywhere that isn’t a property in the neighbourhood, the streets are pretty quiet and the traffic doesn’t fly by like they do on a straight road full of commuters.

nanaimo cilaire real estate

This doesn’t mean that Cilaire is isolated. In fact it’s a easy walk to a nearby mall known as Brooks Landing. You can walk down Departure Bay Road in either direction and find access to beaches and walking trails. You could even walk or bike to the ferry terminal if youwanted to and go to the mainland as a foot passenger which everyone out here knows is much cheaper thank taking a car.

Nearby parks include Beach Estates park, which is pretty much a Nanaimo secret. It’s a path that goes down a gulley behind Cilaire Elementary and makes its way down to a spot of beach next to the ferry dock. The whole time walking down there you can’t believe you are in the middle of town. Old growth trees and very few buildings can be glimpsed all the way down and then suddenly your at a beach and there’s those giant boats that are so familiar to anyone from Vancouver Island. Walking the other way, North along Departure Bay Road, is  what most would refer to as Departure Bay beach. Lots of space for taking yourself, your dog  or your kids for a run. However, if you live in Cilaire you don’t necessarily need to bother with going all the way up Departure Bay Road they way the other Nanaimoites do. There are two access points to the beach from withing Cilaire itself. Regardless of which way you get down to Departure Bay beach, there are quite a few parks there to choose from as well.


Ryan Coffey