Nanaimo is a port city on the east coast of Vancouver Island, roughly 100 km north of Victoria. The name Nanaimo is derived from the Snuneymuxw people, part of the the Island Halkomelem First Nation, who continue to live in the area; the name has had many European spellings historically, including Sna Ney Mous, Sne-ny-mo, Snanaimuq, and Nanymo.1 The Spanish explorer Narváez was the first recorded European to see Nanaimo harbour in 1701.2
In the mid-1800s, this coal-rich area attracted the HBC's mining interests, which saw the creation of a trading post and then Colvile Town, named after Colvile, a name discontinued in maps of the area after 1860.3
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 417.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Nanaimo, BC Geographical Names Information System.
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Colvile, Eden

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Vancouver Island


The Colonial Despatches Team. Nanaimo. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)