In-person AGM!

Mark your calendars for our Annual General Meeting on Friday, October 14 at 6:45 pm. We meet in the hall at St. Andrew’s United Church on Wesley Street.

Community/Heritage planner Chris Sholberg from the City of Nanaimo will speak about the new City Plan and how it affects the old city. Get an update on what the Association has been up to in the past year and elect the Board of Directors for 2022-2023. Memberships are still only $10 for individuals and $20 for a family. New this year – you can pay via e-transfer to – please list the name(s) and address of those paying their memberships.

You can also fill in a membership form and bring it to the meeting if you’d like to get more involved! We’d love to have you join!

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. 

Supportive Housing at 285 Prideaux Street

Construction is about to begin at the BC Housing housing project at 285 Prideaux Street. Construction workers from NRB Modular Solutions will be on site beginning August 22, 2022 to begin construction. This project will bring 51 supportive homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to Nanaimo. The project is anticipated to be completed in spring 2023.

What you can expect: 

– Hours of work will be Monday to Saturday, between 7 am and 6 pm. Some work may also take
place on Sundays between 9 am and 5 pm.
– There will be security patrols at the site at various times.
– There will be noise from excavation equipment, earth moving machinery, concrete delivery trucks
and other heavy equipment, particularly for the initial 10 weeks of construction
– The westbound lane of Fitzwilliam Street adjacent to the site will be closed off. The sidewalk along this section will also be closed 24 hours a day until this scope of work is complete.
– There will be potential road closures during off-site civil works for approximately two months starting in early 2023 affecting Prideaux Street and the left turn lane of Fitzwilliam Street.

BC Housing will continue to keep the neighbourhood informed about this project. Learn more at:

Questions and feedback can be sent to BC Housing at

Onsite emergency contact:
Ryan Maas

Let’s Celebrate!

Saturday, May 28 from 1 to 4 pm at Pawson Gyro Park. Join us to celebrate our first Beautify the Boulevards and Alleyways! Everyone is welcome to come and share their experience of how their beautification went, what they learned and how to improve for next year. Participants are welcome to share their gardening methods, plants that are important to them and methods of gardening significant to their culture.  Contact us to book your spot to speak at the wrap up or simply show up on the day. Neighbours are encouraged to bring seeds/plants significant to you to give away trade or sell. We will be handing out free seed packets for boulevard beautification. We would love to hear your ideas, and welcome volunteers and resources. Contact the committee  :
Thank you to the group of neighbours who started this project and the Nanaimo Foundation and neighbourhood small grants for the grant.

New seed library in the ‘hood!

Guess what just popped up in the neighbourhood? A lovely little seed library on the 100 block of Milton Street. You can pick a packet of seeds or even a seedling. Feel free to donate any small plants you’d like to share with your neighbours.

Old City Cleanup Party

Mark your calendars for the second annual “Old City Clean Up” on Saturday, April 30 from 10 am to 3 pm. Get outside and clean your yards, boulevards, and streets. Mow your lawn, pick up garbage, tidy your yard and help a neighbour. Take a before & after photo and tag us!

Meet up at the White Rabbit Cafe (321 Selby Street) at 3:30 pm to celebrate!

Garbage bags and pickers are available from 10 am to 11 am at Pawson Park.(corner of Machleary and Franklyn Streets). Garbage bags can be dropped off opposite Pawson Park at old hospital site before 3 pm. Garbage will be removed by the City of Nanaimo at 3 pm sharp!

Thank you to the City of Nanaimo Local Government for our garbage bag donation and pick up.

Beautify the Boulevards and Alleyways in the old city!

Join us on Sunday, March 13, 2022 from 1 to 4 pm at Pawson Park (corner of Franklyn and Machleary streets) as we kick off this new project!

What does a beautiful neighbourhood look like?
You may have noticed some of our fellow Old City area residents have made gardens on the street side
of their homes. We’d like to help you do the same. NOCA has formed a committee to help you develop a small garden near your home. This could be in the strip between the sidewalk and the curb, within a traffic calming ‘bump out’ like those along the 300 and 400 blocks of Milton Street, or any roadside green space you would like to transform.
We can offer design help, examples of current boulevard gardens, seeds, plants, gardening tips, and manual labour to get you started. Contact us if you live in the old city and would like a free seed package with various plants to start beautifying your boulevard. Packages will be handed out March 13.
Your ideal boulevard planting might include drought resistant, food, ornamental, or pollinator attracting plants, or a combination. Learn more by coming to our project kick off on Sunday, March 13, 2022.
Would you like to share gardening methods, plants that are important to you and methods of gardening significant to your culture? Contact us to book your spot to speak at our Kick off March 13. Neighbors are encouraged to bring seeds/plants significant to you to give away trade or sell.
Thank you to the Nanaimo Foundation and neighborhood small grants for the grant to start this project.
We will have a gathering on May 28 for all participants to share about their experience. We would love to hear your ideas, and welcome volunteers and resources. Contact the committee on facebook or email us at :
Learn more about boulevard beautification with our guide.
City of Nanaimo requests for this project:
– Notify the city of your boulevard location
– You the residents are responsible for maintenance of your boulevards
– Anything planted or placed will technically become City property, so if necessary, at some point could be removed or altered
– The responsibility is on the residents to know of the location of any underground services before digging or planting
–  Participants must not dig, disturb or pile excessive materials in the critical root zone of City boulevard trees

– Plants chosen should not obstruct visibility of roads. 

If you  would like to have a tree planted in these landscapes, please notify the city by contacting Patrick McIntosh, the Urban Forestry Coordinator at the City of Nanaimo at 250 755 4460 (local 4357) If 
you are willing to enter a watering agreement the city could have a tree purchased and planted for you. 

Community Safety – who to call

Have you wondered who to call for various issues in your neighbourhood?  For example when should you call Bylaw Services, Public Works or Nanaimo Animal Control?

This City of Nanaimo brochure provides lots of very useful information.

New Animal Responsibility Bylaw

Did you know Nanaimo has a new Animal Responsibility Bylaw?  Be a good neighbour and familiarize yourself with the Bylaw by reading this Fast Facts Brochure.

NOCA is taking an educational role and spreading the word.  Talk with your neighbours and let’s continue to make the old city the best place to live in Nanaimo!