Design Commercial - Downtown Reimagined!

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Project Updates

We have some exciting news! The Design Commercial Concept Plans for an enhanced public realm were endorsed by Council during the June 20th, 2022 Council meeting! The project team would like to thank everyone that has helped us get to this important project milestone. Through your input and feedback, we have been able to present a concept design that reflects the wants and needs of the community.

In addition, Council has directed staff to include the Design Commercial Implementation Plan as part of the 2023-2027 Budget deliberations. As part of the presentation to council, the 3D rendered fly-though video linked below was unveiled! You can click here to view the meeting agenda which includes the full report to council or here to view the full Council meeting (the Design Commercial presentation begins at approximately the 1:00:40 mark).

The following documents are also now available for viewing under the 'Documents' tab:

  • Design Commercial Draft Final Report
  • Design Commercial Draft Concept Plan (high resolution)
  • Proposed Commercial Street Cross Section
  • Design Commercial Phase 2 Consultation Summery Report



Downtown is the heart of Nanaimo. It is the traditional meeting place, commercial centre and transportation hub for our community. Commercial Street was recognized as one of the Great Places in Canada due to its mix of historical buildings and lively commercial activity.

The City has made significant investments in Commercial Street over the past 10 years with the construction of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, securing the new Marriot Hotel and acquiring key redevelopment sites at Commercial and Terminal Ave.

While Commercial Street has many positive attributes, the public realm has become tired and there is an opportunity to refresh this important area of downtown. This project will develop an action plan to enhance the public realm space on Commercial Street. The action plan will incorporate the needs of local businesses and enhance opportunities for community events. Features such as public art, surface finishes, street trees and lighting will be reviewed through this process.Design Commercial is relying heavily on an engagement process which has included meetings, walking tours, interviews, and design studio open houses with public participants, key stakeholders, Mayor & Council and City staff.

Engagement outcomes are being used to develop and evolve ideas into design options which will be integrated with the technical aspects of the design process to produce the final master plan design elements.

design.commercial@nanaimo.ca

Phone 250-756-5321

Project Updates

We have some exciting news! The Design Commercial Concept Plans for an enhanced public realm were endorsed by Council during the June 20th, 2022 Council meeting! The project team would like to thank everyone that has helped us get to this important project milestone. Through your input and feedback, we have been able to present a concept design that reflects the wants and needs of the community.

In addition, Council has directed staff to include the Design Commercial Implementation Plan as part of the 2023-2027 Budget deliberations. As part of the presentation to council, the 3D rendered fly-though video linked below was unveiled! You can click here to view the meeting agenda which includes the full report to council or here to view the full Council meeting (the Design Commercial presentation begins at approximately the 1:00:40 mark).

The following documents are also now available for viewing under the 'Documents' tab:

  • Design Commercial Draft Final Report
  • Design Commercial Draft Concept Plan (high resolution)
  • Proposed Commercial Street Cross Section
  • Design Commercial Phase 2 Consultation Summery Report



Downtown is the heart of Nanaimo. It is the traditional meeting place, commercial centre and transportation hub for our community. Commercial Street was recognized as one of the Great Places in Canada due to its mix of historical buildings and lively commercial activity.

The City has made significant investments in Commercial Street over the past 10 years with the construction of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, securing the new Marriot Hotel and acquiring key redevelopment sites at Commercial and Terminal Ave.

While Commercial Street has many positive attributes, the public realm has become tired and there is an opportunity to refresh this important area of downtown. This project will develop an action plan to enhance the public realm space on Commercial Street. The action plan will incorporate the needs of local businesses and enhance opportunities for community events. Features such as public art, surface finishes, street trees and lighting will be reviewed through this process.Design Commercial is relying heavily on an engagement process which has included meetings, walking tours, interviews, and design studio open houses with public participants, key stakeholders, Mayor & Council and City staff.

Engagement outcomes are being used to develop and evolve ideas into design options which will be integrated with the technical aspects of the design process to produce the final master plan design elements.

design.commercial@nanaimo.ca

Phone 250-756-5321

  • What we Heard

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    Feedback received during the February 1st to 3rd, 2022 Design Charrette as well as the online Draft Design Survey conducted from March 21st to April 14th 2022, have been summarized in the: What we Heard Report.

    The online survey was promoted through the Get Involved Nanaimo website as well as through social media using the videos linked below.


  • Design Week - February, 2022

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    Design Week, held from January 31st to February 3rd, 2022, comprised virtual open house events and a series of meetings with key stakeholders, City staff, and City Council. In addition, our partners from Toole Design were diligently evolving starter ideas generated during the week as well as feedback gathered during Discovery Week and our on-line surveys, into draft design options. The week culminated in the unveiling of concept designs which were reveled during the closing night presentation. A video link to the presentation can be found below.

    We look forward to hearing what you think about the ideas brought forward in the presentation video including the design concepts shown below.



  • Discovery Week - November, 2021

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    Discovery Week was held from November 22 - 25, 2021. City Staff and our partners from Toole Design conducted various stakeholder interviews and walking tours, public open houses, public presentations, and a workshop with City Council. It was a very busy and rewarding week for the project team!

    Discovery Week was a collaborative and interactive process which was intended to articulate values, refine visions and principles, identify issues and constraints, and to generate starter idea for the project area.

    What we Heard

    Based on the inputs received from public participants and other stakeholders during the Discovery Charrette, the following aspects will be considered during the design phase of the project:

    • It will be important for future concepts to be sympathetic of the street’s unique character. It would be advantageous to amplify the street’s connection with the existing buildings’ architecture.
    • Providing more space for people to move comfortably and easily on foot and rolling is important as well as reducing vehicle dominance within streets.
    • Increasing livability in this area could help meet a number of needs of respondents. Developing designs that are: more people-oriented, have quality streetscapes with engaging public realm, increased visibility and natural surveillance could help raise the attraction to live, do business, and visit the area.
    • There is a clear need for enhanced public and green spaces, that are vibrant, flexible, programmable, safe, and enjoyable.
    • Developing people-oriented streets can further help offer a space for facilitating desired street activity (e.g. music, arts, culture, markets, outdoor seating).
    • Opportunities should be sought to incorporate desired community amenities and street furniture, this includes: facilities to stop and rest, places for shade and shelter, water fountains, washrooms, and spaces to play and exercise
    • Any future street design should coordinate and compliment the City of Nanaimo’s housing and homelessness strategy and action plan.
    Themes and ideas collected from participants during the Discovery Charrette


    The video below is a recording of the public presentation that concluded Discovery Week:


Page last updated: 21 Jun 2022, 09:50 AM