Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // May 2022


New public art installations around town
beginning this May

Image: Curtis Van Charles Sorenson, concept design for Maffeo Sutton restroom, 2022

Announcing two new public art installations that are being installed throughout May.

A new mural installation is in progress on the central restroom facility at Maffeo Sutton Park / Swy-a-Lana. Artist Curtis Van Charles Sorenson has created a series of local coastal landscapes, inspired by the wild parks of Nanaimo. The fields, lands, animals and plant life are translated through a stylized colour palette that is combed with break outs of black and white graphic elements.

This May we are also launching Hidden Messages, a city-wide installation of hidden poems that are revealed in the rain. Commissioned in partnership with Active Transportation, this project pairs Nanaimo’s Poet Laureate, Kamal Parmar, with Urban Design Roster participant, Webb Creative. The team at Webb Creative designed stencils of the eight haiku poems, which are accompanied by QR code audio clips of the poems read by Parmar. Installed across Nanaimo’s active transportation routes at ten locations in the City:

McGirr Sports Field Trail
E&N Trail at Northfield Road
Haliburton Multi-use Path
Colliery Dam
Bowen Park Trailway
Queen Elizabeth Promenade
Departure Bay Walkway
Walley Creek Trail
Front Street
Metral Drive at Mostar Road

More about Urban Design

Image: QR Code, Hidden Messages, Webb Creative, 2022

Image: Concept Designs, Poems in Windows, Webb Creative, 2022

More poems heading to local windows

Continuing the activation of poetry in public places, our Poet Laureate, Kamal Parmar, has engaged two local writers, Kim Golberg and Amber Morrison Fox, to add to our poster series. The posters, designed by Webb Creative, create a colourful print space for a rotating roster of poems for windows. New poems by the authors will appear over the next four months, starting in May. Interested community members may continue to submit their own poems for the poster project until July 2022 through emailing

More about Poetry

Image: Featured performers, Concerts in the Park Series, 2022

Concerts in the Park Series Returns!

Don't forget to pack your lawn chair when heading out to our parks throughout the summer months! Our free Concerts in the Park Series returns this summer with an exciting and varied selection of music for the entire family to enjoy. Nanaimo's own Fiddelium & Folk Band delighted audiences at our opening concert with rollicking fiddle and folk music at Colliery Dam Park. If you missed the ensemble of young string musicians there are nine more concerts to come!

Save the date for concerts through June, July and August:

  • June 1 - Bandiera Parker (Brazilian/Bossa Nova) in Harewood Park
  • June 14 - Ken & Greg (Blue Grass) in Diver Lake Park
  • July 5 - Waterstone Trio (Blues/Country/Pop) in Pipers Lagoon Park
  • July 6 - Sol Azul (Soft Latin) at Departure Bay Kin Hut
  • July 13 - An Evening of Soul, Blues, Pop with singers Buwa, Ty Koch & Joshua Holoway (Mixed genre) in McGregor Park
  • July 20 - Les Amies Musicales with VIS Musicians Emily Nagelbach, Guyonne Le Louarn, Alexandra Lee and Mezzo Soprano, Erin Lawson (Classical) in McGregor Park
  • August 3 - Cathedral Grove Trio with VIS Musicians Lani Krantz, Paolo Bortolussi and Minjee Yoon (Classical) in McGregor Park
  • August 17 - Summer Vibes Quartet with VIS Musicians Nicole Arendt, Jonathan Bernard, Chris Helman and Michael Vaughan (World/Jazz/Classical) in McGregor Park
  • August 23 - Shika (Traditional Japanese/South Asian/Western Folk/Indie) in Neck Point Park

More about Concerts in the Park

  Image: Aaramë Robillard,The Descendents, 2022

Congratulations to our 2022 Culture & Heritage Award Winners

Every year since 1998, the City of Nanaimo has celebrated local excellence in arts and culture through the Culture & Heritage Awards. The annual awards program is an opportunity to honour extraordinary achievement while generating awareness and pride for the calibre of arts and culture activity in Nanaimo, as well as the dynamic impact of the sector on our community’s economic, social and cultural well-being.

This year, The City of Nanaimo was honoured to recognize the achievements and dedication of three excptional cultural leaders; 

Honour in Heritage 
Joy Bremner

Joy Bremner receives an Honour in Heritage Award in recognition of her dedication as a champion of the Métis people, one of Canada’s three Indigenous peoples. She has demonstrated leadership through her work at Mid Island Métis Nation (MIMN) and Métis Nation B.C. over the past two decades.

Bremner, a Cree Métis, of descent from the Red River Settlement, is a long-time resident of Nanaimo whose passion for giving back to the community has resulted in strong support for youth and families.In creating greater awareness of Métis heritage in Nanaimo and across the Mid-Island region, she regularly bridges the gaps that exist for Métis people.

Celebrate Joy's work with us.  Watch her tribute video by clicking on the image, below.

Click the button to read more about Joy's tireless work for the Mid Island Métis Nation (MIMN) and Métis Nation B.C.

More about Joy

Honour in Culture
Bruce Halliday

Bruce Halliday is celebrated with an Honour in Culture Award in recognition of his leadership as the Port Theatre’s longstanding General Manager/Director of Programming.

Originally from Duncan, Bruce has spent his entire working life in the performing arts sector. Bruce’s career has been informed by his wealth of knowledge, gained through wide experience within the performing arts field. He has shared this knowledge as an active advisor and guide for emerging artists, local arts groups and professionals across the country.

His capacity as an arts leader brought the Port Theatre through the pandemic in strong form. He is celebrated for facing the monumental challenge and change for the performing arts with intelligence, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

Learn about the immense contributions Bruce has made to our community through his tribute video.

There's still so much more to know about Bruce, the lives he has touched and the legacy he has built. Click here to read his bio.

More about Bruce

Excellence in Culture
Brendan Tang

Brendan Tang receives the Excellence in Culture Award for his contributions in visual art.

Tang’s work explores issues of identity and the hybridization of material and non-material culture. Primarily known for his sculptural ceramic work, Tang produces and exhibits visual art in a wide variety of media through which he often expresses a love of both futuristic technologies and ancient traditions.

Tackling the melding of cultures, Tang takes a personal approach to identity as an ethnically-mixed Asian Canadian. His family history has involved shedding the markers of identity in order to succeed in an adopted country – within a few generations his lineage has spanned China, India, Trinidad, Ireland and Canada. Raised in Nanaimo, Tang has gone on to work across the world.

See more of Brendan at work in the studio to learn about how this accomplished visual artist is a leader of the artist in the video below.

To get to know Brendan even better, find his bio here.

More about Brendan

Photo credit: Sean Fenzl, images of J Bremner, B Halliday & B Tang, 2022 
Video content credit: ReWild Us Media, Culture & Heritage Award Videos, 2022, with footage provided by Knight Studios

Image: Megan Lum

Meet Megan
Temporary Recreation Coordinator, Special Events

The Culture and Events team welcomes another new dynamic team member!  Meet Megan Lum.

Megan has been with the City since 2007, with positions over the year ranging from Program Assistant in Arenas, before spending a year as the Marketing and Communications Specialist and finally landing her dream job of Recreation Coordinator in 2010. Over the years she has overseen our adult programs, fitness programs and children’s programs, before settling in as the Youth Coordinator for the past decade.

She now steps on to a new path with special events coordination, and she’s no stranger to them! Megan has had the chance to work on many exciting events during her years at PRC including: Canada Day celebrations, Healthamongus, New Year’s Eve Finale, Winter Wonderland, the Terry Fox Run,Youth Week, the PRC Student Art Show and Sale, Family Day, and the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay events.

In her life outside of work, Megan is a busy mom of two, aged 6 yrs and 2 yrs. In her “spare time” she can be found learning to sew her own clothes, running, or playing hockey. A fun fact about Megan is that she used to perform as a magician’s assistant.

In keeping with her experience as a magician's assistant, where Meg goes, magic tends to follow!  We look forward to seeing what fun and community spirit she conjures during her term.

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With respect & gratitude, we acknowledge that our work is carried out on the
territory of the Snuneymuxw people

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