Established in 1991, the Nanaimo Community Archives is dedicated to preserving the region’s archival heritage. We acquire, preserve and provide public access to the historical records of Nanaimo.

Our holdings include thousands of one-of-a-kind maps, architectural drawings and photographs. The NCA is the official repository of the archival records of the City of Nanaimo, Nanaimo District Museum and the Nanaimo Historical Society. Our holdings also include service club, community organization, fraternal club, family and a wide range of other community records. These records document ordinary and extraordinary people and events that allow us to establish a sense of community, of family, and of particular times and places. They are, in essence, the actual evidence of how we have lived. 

Click here to view a small sample of our collection


Situated about 75 miles from Victoria, on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, and is the shipping point of the extensive coal fields in that district. It is a thriving business town, of about 1,200 inhabitants, and the center for a much larger number of people if the mining population is taken into consideration. It has bi-weekly communication with Victoria by Spratt's commodious steamer, "Cariboo Fly." The Sitka steamers call here. 

In addition to providing research assistance and staff guidance in our reading room, we offer the following: 

  • Photocopying and Photograph Reproduction 
  • Contract Research Services 
  • Archival Preservation Advice 

By saving the community’s records, we ensure that Nanaimo's rich and unique history will be available to future generations. Be part of preserving your heritage: contact us about donating records, becoming a member or a volunteer, or for more general information.

NOTICE: It has come to our attention that photographs and information from this website are being used on other sites without permission or credit. We are happy to share our resources but ask that if you copy items from this site, you make sure to indicate the source.  A simple "Information / Image courtesy of Nanaimo Community Archives" line is sufficient. In addition, some of the photographs are copyrighted and the original donor has not given permission for website publication.  

Please remember that we are a small organization that works hard to preserve Nanaimo's archival heritage.  This involves acquiring, processing and preserving in archival enclosures all of the materials that come to us.  None of this is cheap and, at the very least, deserves a source credit.  Thank you for your cooperation; we take it as validation of the work we do.