Meet your neighbours!

We are highlighting a number of Old City businesses. Here is information about Compassion Inspired Health

How long have you been in the Old City and what brought you to the neighbourhood? I found my way to the Old City 15 years ago when I was working with NARSF Programs.

What do you love the most about the Old City? I love the diversity. The proximity to everything. It is such a livable space.

What would you like to see more in the neighbourhood? I love some of the Old City events like the Christmas walkabout and seed swap and would love to see more.

Tell us about your business in the old city. I am a Psychotherapist and a Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher offering individual/couple counselling and group workshops (in-person up at Bethlehem Centre) and online with my colleague Dr. Kristy Williams. For many years I worked with NARSF Programs and Nanaimo Hospice, however now I offer a part-time private practice as well as teaching mindfulness programs. This year, we have a 6 week live online class starting Monday the 19th, an in-person weekend retreat on November 5/6th and a week long intensive retreat in the spring of 2023.

What is another business in the OCQ you think is great? Oh goodness so many! From cafes to restaurants, massage, osteopathy and of course Superette – we have everything.

Walking through the front garden
Upcoming courses
Front porch

Solace Centre

How long have you been in the Old City? Since 2007.

Any unique stories about your building? We moved in after the house had a huge renovation by moving the house to the back of the lot.

What do you love the most about the Old City? The diversity and community feel.

What would you like to see more of? More events and vegetarian restaurants.

Tell us about your business. Lynne Carroll RMT practices out of the space. Although her schedule is full, she will call the wait list when cancellations occur. Join the wait list! Together, Lynne Carroll and Jaspaul Khalsa offer Kundalini Yoga and Meditation at the Rotary Field Bowl (more space there than Solace). Follow them to find out schedules, upcoming workshops and retreats.

What other business you think is great in the Old City? Valerie Veilleux and Markus Hastings (ARTISTS)

Window Seat Books

How long have you been in the Old City and what brought you to the neighbourhood? I’ve been here for 4 years now! It is because of the Old City Quarter that I opened my bookstore actually. I was investigating what it would take for me to open the business, if it was something I wanted to do and just looking at what was for rent in Nanaimo and then I found 309C Wesley Street. It felt like the perfect spot to open my little bookstore. The area was so quaint with beautiful views and awesome neighbours. I didn’t want to miss the chance to be in the OCQ, so I just did it! It is beautiful, I love my neighbours and it is downtown, which makes me feel like I live in a city.

Do you know the history of your lot or building? When was it built? First owners/use? Unique stories?

Honestly, I am not too sure about the history of the building (Heritage Mews) but I do know the OCQ used to be where all the gambling and tomfoolery happened! I have had many people coming in to the store letting me know what the space used to be though, and so far this space has held a flower shop, a fabric store, a henna tattoo shop. Thank you for this question though, because now I am very interested in finding out about first owners and use. There is a lot of history to be learned, you can do Heritage Walks and there are plaques in the area dedicated to pioneer Nanaimo residents. Now you have inspired me to take the time to learn.

What do you love the most about the Old City? Our neighbours! It really feels like a self-sustaining little community! There’s coffee, and plants, and tattoos and haircuts, pizza and sushi, clothing and kids toys, stationary and books, housewares and health cares…. it’s just such a wonderful area to play! There is a lot of love and pride for the area and it seems like all the businesses really care about growing it into a fun, interesting and welcoming place to be.

What would you like to see more in the neighborhood? I’m really hoping to convince my neighbors to stay up all night one day (or just open late)! When I lived in Montreal, there was a thing called Nuit Blanche, where businesses, museums, movie theaters etc. would open their doors all night until 3-4 in the morning. It felt special to go to the spa at midnight. So, yes, more special events I guess, but this year it has really been great! We’ve had the Soap Box Derby, the Wine Walk, a Car Show, and the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival. It is inspiring to see everyone cooperate to bring more life to the neighborhood

Tell us about your business in the old city. Windowseat Books is a cozy independent bookstore on Wesley Street. We are the only bookstore in downtown Nanaimo that sells new books with about a 10 year gap since the last one, so we are very excited to be here! We have a small but always interesting selection of books, and we try to keep all different tastes in mind when we order. We want our readers to be able to find something to read no matter how they feel that day. A little something for everyone. We try to carry a good balance of familiar and well-loved authors as well as lesser-known but must-read authors, especially Canadian, especially from up and coming publishers. Finding those awesome reads is our passion! We love helping our readers find the perfect book for them and if we don’t have what you are looking for, we also do special orders for you. It has been amazing growing our business in the OCQ. We now hope to bring more readings and literary events!

What is another business in the OCQ you think is great? This feels like choosing a favourite parent! How could I choose just one?! There are shops, like Mad About Ewe and Yours & Mine Consignment, who were so welcoming and kind when I first moved in. White Rabbit and Common Foundry have worked really hard to collaborate with everyone in OCQ and create a community. There is Plantara that felt like a breath of fresh air when they opened a year ago. And then, Jonny’s Barber Shop, right next door, who acts as our DJ in the summer and our best friend in the winter. We’re tied at the hips now; I can’t imagine not having him as our neighbour!

Window Seat books

Alec and Sharon are happy to live in the old city

How long have you lived in the old city? We have lived in the neighbourhood since 2013.  We moved here so our daughters could attend VIU,  and to prepare for retirement. 
Our home on Milton Street was constructed between 1902 and 1908. It is well known in Nanaimo as the dashound house. There once was a doggie party where 63 dashboards showed up!
We were drawn to the neighbourhood by its character and walkability, and drawn to our home by the character, garden, and views. 
What would you like to see more of in the old city? I would like our neighbourhood to be safer and calmer and quieter.  A density increases, traffic increases. It would be good if the neighbourhood did not suffer more noise and speeding. We have had little to do with NOCA, but appreciate the work they did in holding the old hospital site to city’s neighbourhood plan.