The University District encompasses the Vancouver Island University – VIU, Senior Secondary schools, a French Immersion school, and condenses Nanaimo’s largest sporting facilities in one area that includes the Nanaimo Ice Centre (NIC), Aquatic Centre, and the Serauxmen Stadium. From this area you can easily access the Parkway Trail and ride or jog all to the North End of Nanaimo. Not to be confused with College Heights, the “University District” is a new name for the parts of Harewood closest to Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina U-C). University Village is at the heart of the District and offers a Quality Foods, Starbucks, Subway, Shoppers Drug Mart, and more. There are character homes, new homes, and everything in between. University Heights is a neighbourhood, thoughtfully and adjacent to the wooded trails of Colliery Dam Park, quiet and only minutes to the trendy Water Front District.
The University District’s boundaries may be thought of as running south into Chase River near Tenth St, west to the college, and north to Third St or Bowen Rd, depending on who you’re asking. The railway tracks might be thought of as separating the University District from “South Nanaimo” to the east, toward the water.
People who want to see old coal mine workings should go to Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park. There was a productive coal mine there from 1912, and it houses the only coal tipple remaining on Vancouver Island, safely inside a fenced area. The place became a provincial park in the 1970’s and is about four hectares. Colliery Dam park’s trail system runs a figure-eight around two manmade lakes, with a great deal of interesting geology and beautiful views.