A Walk About the Neighbourhood

On a frosty sunny morning we went for a ramble around our neighbourhood: down the road to Maffeo Sutton Park and Swy-A-Lana Lagoon, passing people dog walking and crab fishing on the pier, along the waterfront to Cameron Island and looping back around to Nanaimo’s Bastion and up Bastion Street through downtown and back to the Old City Quarter, where we live.

It is a rare winter here: the mild temperatures, grey clouds and buckets of rain that give the west coast it’s lackadaisical attitude to winter and rainforests of Western Red cedar, Douglas fir and Western hemlock have been – for the moment – replaced by frost, the bluest of skies and snow, in some places more than others. Because we are so close to the ocean, we don’t have too much but we don’t have to go too far to get some.


We paused on the bridge over the lagoon and tried to figure out what those huge bubble-like things were on the far side. Then we turned and saw magic: a woman creating huge iridescent bubbles that were catching the sun and floating out over the water.

She was busking: I hope she made loads.


Nanaimo’s most familiar landmark and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s oldest freestanding fort, the Bastion.

Some of the businesses in the Old City Quarter. I really love Gallery Row and catching up with the new work on it each time I’m around; we sometimes stop and choose our favourites. It inspires me to put up some art in my own garden in Dublin, a project still on my list.

We have the cutest little neighbourhood libraries (another idea I’d love to transplant to my Dublin estate). Currently we’re enjoying a vintage Hardy Boys, a Dean Koontz novel and a book of Lear’s poems and limericks from these two.

From the where the libraries are, we can look out over the downtown area, across the harbour to Newcastle and Protection Islands and over the Strait of Georgia to the coastal mountains on the mainland. I think that those mountains look more huge and majestic with snow on their peaks – I know they are beautiful but they just seem more beautiful than in summer.

The houses have lovely details, interesting windows, lovely porches. Many of them are early 20th century Craftsman style and all are unique. My mom and I like to talk about them (in a good way!) as we walk past. I’d love to post photos but am not too comfortable with taking pictures of people’s homes – but I may yet get my courage up for that.


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