Should I live in Nanaimo or Victoria?

The dilemma of where is the finest location to live in Canada is a difficult one to answer. We all have different notions about what our perfect place is. If you are looking to settle in the British Columbia province, Nanaimo and Victoria are most likely the cities at the top of your list. 

You should live in Victoria if you prefer a busy, city life filled with lots of excitement. Nanaimo is more suited to people who prefer a slower pace and like the more boring side of life.

Victoria’s finest feature, aside from its natural beauty, is its moderate temperature, which features long, pleasant summers and temperate winters with little snow and frost. Besides, it is a larger city with a larger demographic base for the arts than Nanaimo. 

Aside from that, it is also a fantastic location to live if you’re searching for a lovely place that’s surrounded by natural beauty, has safe and family-friendly neighborhoods, and is recognized for its laid-back lifestyle! However, there are a few drawbacks, such as the high cost of living and the island’s remoteness from the mainland, which makes travel difficult.

On the other hand, Nanaimo is a desirable place to live for families, students, and retirees. On national and even worldwide lists, the city has been named as one of the greatest places to live. Nanaimo has grown at an annual rate of 8% during the last four years. These figures are far higher than the national average of 5% growth and even the 5.3 percent increase in British Columbia.

Let’s take a closer look at what living in both cities is really like, so you can get a better idea of which one is better for you. The two cities are only around a two-hour trip apart.

Nature and Landscape

The first significant advantage of living in Victoria, BC is the city’s incredibly stunning surroundings. It is located on Vancouver Island’s southern coast and looks out across the Pacific Ocean to Washington, USA; many areas of the city have panoramic ocean vistas, and the downtown center is built around a gorgeous harbor.

Many of Vancouver Island’s beautiful natural elements, such as woods, lakes, the coast, and mountains, are just outside of Victoria. Year-round, there are numerous opportunities for physical activity, and it’s a fantastic area to immerse yourself in an outdoor lifestyle.

In terms of tourism, Nanaimo does not have much to offer. Because of the ferry ports, it is a center for the North Island, and it contains all of the big-box shopping. Unfortunately, it isn’t really appealing. It is adequate for an overnight stay in my opinion, although Parksville and Qualicum provide better spectacular views.

Cost of Living

Many individuals like Nanaimo because it is less expensive – especially when compared to other cities. Families wishing to expand require additional room, while retirees searching for a comfortable lifestyle require alternatives in Nanaimo. Because the market in Nanaimo is increasing every year, it is now simpler to purchase your ideal house, and your property will be a sound investment for many years to come.

The most significant disadvantage of living in Victoria is the high expense of living. Victoria, like the rest of British Columbia, is an expensive city to live in, and it is most certainly the most expensive city on the Island. This Numbeo cost-of-living calculator reveals that consumer costs for goods such as food, petrol, and groceries are more expensive in Victoria than in Nanaimo.

The Weather

Victoria has a temperate temperature and pleasant weather all year. It is frost-free for almost eight months of the year, and it seldom snows in the city. According to statistics, it has an average of 2,193 hours of sunlight per year and just 58.3cm of rainfall per year, compared to 146cm in Vancouver.

Summers in Nanaimo are short, pleasant, dry, and partially cloudy, whereas winters are lengthy, very cold, rainy, and largely overcast. The temperature generally ranges from 36°F to 73°F throughout the year, with temperatures seldom falling below 26°F or rising beyond 80°F. The ideal time to visit Nanaimo for sunny activities, according to the tourist score, is from mid-July to late August.


Victoria is a safe and welcoming city for families. The crime index in this research is low, and the majority of those questioned reported low or moderate opinions of crime and risk in the city. It is typically safe to stroll around the city at any time of day or night, as it is in most cities in BC and even Canada, however, caution should be used in specific areas.

Nanaimo was placed third on Maclean’s magazine’s list of the most hazardous cities to live in 2017. Nanaimo is also ranked 37th in Canada among 229 large cities with populations of 10,000 or more, according to the country’s news magazine, with a crime severity index of 121.

Local governments, on the other hand, have been putting in place the necessary procedures to ensure that your stay in Nanaimo is as smooth as possible. According to current statistics, the number of sexual assaults in Nanaimo was 19% less than the national rate, the number of weapons offences was 23% lesser, and the number of cannabis smuggling and manufacturing was 89% lower than the national average.

Job Opportunities

Victoria has a variety of good career possibilities, making it an attractive area to reside. The Provincial Government is a high-demand business, given the BC Parliament buildings are headquartered in Victoria. If you want to work in the government, Victoria has many employment openings.

The tourist industry is also a significant employer in Victoria, with over 60,000 employment spread over the island. It is a popular tourist destination because of its accessibility to the mainland compared to other regions of Vancouver Island. It receives over four million tourists each year. As a result, there are numerous career opportunities in this business in the city.

Nanaimo locals earn an average of $69,000 per year, according to the most recent figures. In Nanaimo, there are various possibilities for retail managers, accountants, and operations managers, with salaries ranging from $36,000 to $95,000 per year. Three of the major employers are mentioned here: Western Forest Products Inc, Hub International Inc, and Real Estate Webmasters.

The average hourly rate in Nanaimo is around $33. Employees at companies like Vancouver Island Health Authority, The Country Grocer, The Home Depot Inc, Inn on Long Lake, and Western Forest Products Inc are paid between $14 and $38 per hour, depending on the job requirements.


Both cities have strong suits and weaknesses that weigh fairly against each other. It is important while making a final decision, that you first highlight what it is you are looking for in a home. Then, use this guide to help you make an informed decision.

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