The event will be held at Vancouver Island University (VIU). VIU shares a rich history and connectedness with its communities. VIU is a dynamic, internationally known university supporting a student population in excess of 16,000 full-time and part-time learners, including over 2,100 international students, 1,500 aboriginal students, and employing over 2,000 faculty and staff.Through their ongoing evolution and growth, VIU is proud to have contributed to the development of the Vancouver Island culture, social, economic and knowledge base.

900 Fifth Street
Nanaimo, BC
Canada V9R 5S5
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Getting Here

Those planning on attending the symposium can reach the event by plane or ferry.


For quick and easy international connections from anywhere in the world, Nanaimo Airport (YCD) is located just 18 kilometers south of downtown Nanaimo and is a gateway to Vancouver Island. Airport shuttles and taxis connect the city with the airport and a number of rental car kiosks are conveniently located at YCD. Short and long-term parking are available.

3350 Spitfire Rd., Cassidy BC V0R 1H0
Phone: 250-924-2157


There is the BC Ferry Service between the mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. BC Ferries is the largest ferry service in North America and the second largest in the world, offering many amenities to make your trip across the Strait of Georgia enjoyable.

Two routes serve Nanaimo:

  1. Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) [1 hour 40 minutes]
  2. Tsawwassen to Duke Point (15 minutes south of Nanaimo) [2 hours]

160 Front St, Nanaimo BC V9R
Phone: 250-753-9344

About Nanaimo, BC

Indiegnous Community

Things to Do

Nanaimo, BC is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver.It is the second largest city on Vancouver Island.

The uneven shoreline, sheltered islands and sandy beaches of the east coast of Vancouver Island have been, for centuries, a place of beauty. Aboriginal people were the first to make this sheltered stretch of coastline their home. Eventually settling in what are today, Departure Bay and Nanaimo, the Snunéymuxw, a Coast Salish people, found food, fresh water, and winter shelter among the islands and inlets. It was this wealth of natural resources that encouraged the migration of Europeans to this coast many years later. Animals harvested for furs, forests for timber and fish for food were just some of the treasures found here, but it was coal, the black fuel of the 19th century, that would forever mark the heritage of Nanaimo. Today, the houses, commercial buildings, the city plan and the very shape of the land records the progress of a community that grew from a company coal town to a thriving port city.
The Snunéymuxw left abundant traces of their original settlement in the Nanaimo district, which are evidenced by the many archaeological sites in the area. Their homes, the first architectural structures to be built in Nanaimo, were great longhouses measuring about 100 feet long by 30 feet wide. Built with skeletons of log beams, the longhouses had split cedar planks for the walls and shed roofs with a smoke hole. Each longhouse housed several families, providing a place for sleeping, cooking and celebrating.

Uy’ skweyul.
Good day.

The city of Nanaimo is situated within the traditional Coast Salish Territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN). Anthropological evidence identifies the Snuneymuxw have been engaging in a sacred relationship with this land for approximately 5,000 years.

Currently, the SFN has one of the largest registered memberships in British Columbia with a population of over 1,700 living both on and off reserve land. The language of SFN is hul’q’umin’um’, one of twenty-three documented Salish languages.

Guided by the snuw’uy’ulh (traditional teachings) of the ancestors and elders, Chief John Wesley and his elected council are working to create and maintain policies of stewardship of ecological, political and social engagement for its members.

Snuneymuxw currently operates a health center, preschool and elementary school, elder’s center and recreation center; in addition to engaging in a number of economic development initiatives such as co-management of Newcastle Provincial Marine Park, a commercial fisheries operation and the Tuytaxun community store.

Uy’shqwaluwunts kw’us i ulup xwu’ ‘I utl’ Snuneymuxw.

We are happy to have you come to Snuneymuxw.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park
Traditionally known as Saysutshun by the Snuneymuxw people. Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park is part of Snuneymuxw First Nation Traditional Territory.

The tours are offered and lead by an experienced Snuneymuxw guide that will talk about the Snuneymuxw First Nations history and its uses for Newcastle Island. You will hear stories of the past that have been handed down from generation to generation. After the traditional storytelling there is a an nature walk where guests will learn of traditional medicines that the Snuneymuxw people still use to this day.

Nanaimo Museum

Seated in the heart of Nanaimo’s vibrant downtown district, the museum is located in the Port of Nanaimo Centre building right off Commercial Street.

The museum offers many exhibits one focused on the Snunéymuxw. Three unique interactive features will help to further your understanding of their culture. A virtual museum kiosk developed with the Virtual Museum of Canada and the Snunéymuxw will expand on the interesting community, language, and objects. Discovery backpacks provide exercises and puzzles for children and lastly, the petroglyph workstation allows you to create rubbings of local petroglyphs.

100 Museum Way, Nanaimo, BC
Canada, V9R 5J8
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