The city of Nanaimo is a busy place with lots of events to keep both visitors and locals busy. Nanaimo is known for its festival culture, which is used to celebrate its vibrant traditions of the past. Whether you are looking to live in Nanaimo or just visit, read on to get some details on a few of Nanaimo’s most popular annual events.


  • Maple Sugar Festival
    Winter in Nanaimo is characterized by the annual Maple Sugar Festival! This is a bilingual festival that teaches about Canada’s sugar shack traditions. Included in the festival are dance and music performances as well as delicious sugar taffy. Come and enjoy this three day event and learn all about a proud French-Canadian tradition.  
  • Nanaimo Global Film Festival
    Every February the Nanaimo Global Film Festival features a themed series of films from around the world. This festival primarily screens films about bettering the world and the current global situation. The films shown during this two day event bring hope and inspiration to every audience member, and put some of the world’s best filmmakers on display.  
  • Symphony of Roses
    For one day a year every March, the people of Nanaimo send symphonies of roses to each other across the town. Participants can purchase a dozen roses to send to a friend, colleague, or loved one. Spread love throughout the city in support of the Vancouver Island Symphony with this event that shows Nanaimo’s true neighbourly spirit.
  • Nanaimo Beer Festival
    Presented by the Nanaimo Kinsmen, the Nanaimo Beer Festival gathers local breweries together for an evening. Visitors can sample local and imported beers, ask questions, and find out the best combinations. Grab the beer-lover in your life and check out beer fest!  
  • “Empire Days” Celebration
    This three day celebration in May remembers the history and culture of Nanaimo. This festival features music, family activities, fireworks, and a parade. The Empire Days Celebration honours Nanaimo’s heritage, and is a great time for the whole family.
  • Nanaimo Bathtub Races and Marine Festival
    In July, Nanaimo hold this world class event that features free activities, arts and crafts, food vendors, beer gardens, and entertainment. This event also includes seminars on boating and boat safety, and of course the motorized bathtub race! Fireworks and a parade can also be seen over the four day festival.
  • Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival
    This festival features over 70 teams of Dragon Boat racers. Also at the festival are food trucks, candle and carnation ceremonies, beer gardens, and a pancake breakfast! Every July this event offers a packed weekend of fun!
  • Annual Nanaimo Pumpkin Festival
    The Nanaimo Pumpkin Festival is a classic fall tradition. Visitors can experience pumpkin carving, hayrides, a petting zoo, face painting and many other fun activities. While you are there check out the local farmer’s market for fresh fall produce. This is a family friendly event that your kids will not want to miss!