Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // March 2022


Announcing the 2022 Street Banners 
by artist Roz MacLean

                          Image: Roz MacLean,Street Banner Design, 2022

Commissioned on the theme ‘Growing and Thriving in Nanaimo’ this banner design celebrates the benefits of gardening in 2022, which has been named the Year of the Garden across Canada. The design, by Roz MacLean was commissioned through the Urban Design Roster program. Rendered in bright contrasting colours with simple and striking graphics, the banners give a view into the ground, foregrounding deep roots and the beautiful blooms they support.

“This banner design considers the plant life of this region. With this year’s theme inspired by a garden, I wanted to think about systems of growth and life that consider wellness, from root to flower and earth to sky. I enjoyed learning the names and characteristics of the plants you can see in the design, such as Kinnikinnick, Fireweed, Blue Camas, White Avalanche Lily and Iris Tenax. Roots nourish plants, and everything below the soil is just as vital to flourish as what appears above. This is true for plants and for human beings!” says MacLean.

Roz MacLean is a visual artist who works in traditional and digital mediums, with projects spanning illustration, expressive art and design. In her practice she explores themes of human nature, community and connection with the natural world. This is her first public art project in Nanaimo.


More about Street Banners

  Image: Emily Thiessen,Traffic Cabinet Wrap Design, 2022

New Traffic Wraps

Coming Soon!

In Spring 2022, several new Urban Design projects will be installed on City streets.  Covering traffic bins for anti-graffiti efforts and offering colour to City streets, these new box wraps by Emily Thiessen celebrate different types of mobility.

Calling All Poets!
 A message from the Poet Laureate, Kamal Parmar

 Image: Kamal Parmar, Poet Laureate, Poems for Windows Project, 2022

There’s something about poetry that lends itself to the human condition. Perhaps it is poetry’s unapologetic free form that eases us out of a stressful regiment and soothes a chaotic mind. No matter what it is, poetry is known to be a particularly therapeutic form of literature.

In the lead up to Poetry Month, this April, we are calling all poets to submit poems on the topic of healing, love, and pain; poems that resonate for sensitive souls, and the minds that have been caught in the shadows.

The poems should be no longer than one page.

Send the poems to and look forward to seeing a selection of poems throughout April on the @culture_nanaimo Instagram.


More about Poetry

REIMAGINE NANAIMO Phase 3 Now Underway!

Phase 3 of REIMAGINE NANAIMO is underway! From March 1 to April 8, 2022, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the City of Nanaimo draft City Plan - Nanaimo ReImagined. The draft plan combines, replaces and updates a number of existing policy documents and provides a more coordinated city-wide policy direction.

In addition to land use policy, the plan's content is guided and structured around the following five goals:

1.  A Green Nanaimo – Resilient and Regenerative Ecosystems
2.  A Connected Nanaimo – Equitable Access and Mobility
3.  A Healthy Nanaimo – Community Wellness and Livability
4.  An Empowered Nanaimo – Reconciliation, Representation and Inclusion
5.  A Prosperous Nanaimo – Thriving and Resilient Economy

Here’s how you can get involved:

Review the draft City plan – Nanaimo ReImagined documents

Explore the key directions in the draft City Plan

Share your feedback through the Phase 3 – Draft City Plan Review survey

Stay tuned to for more engagement opportunities!

                       Image: Elise Boulanger, 2022

Resilience in Arts and Culture 2021: Vignettes

The City of Nanaimo’s Cultural Plan for a Creative Nanaimo strives to “ensure sustainability for artists and artisans who are essential for a vibrant arts and culture scene.” The Covid-19 Pandemic continues to impact the Arts and Culture sector in ways that require creativity and ingenuity in order for artists, businesses and organizations to continue to flourish. In December of 2020, City Council approved a one-time grant fund stream called the 2021 Resilience Grant to support new, one-time events and programs taking place in 2021. Successful applications put forth programs that were designed to adapt or respond during the Covid-19 pandemic and we’re pleased to share the outcomes of three projects supported by the Resilience Grant Fund in 2021:


More about Grants

 Images: Elise Boulanger, Nanaimo Music Symposium, 2022

Elise Boulanger

Elise Boulanger is a bilingual multi-instrumentalist performing artist, independent musician and composer. Josh Rudolph is a Nanaimo Symposium event volunteer.

“Thanks to the Resilience Grant, the Nanaimo music community succeeded in reconverging after two long years of musical and social isolation. Longtime fixtures in the Nanaimo music scene were well represented at the symposium, and many newcomers who came to town during the pandemic were given a chance to introduce themselves and begin to integrate into the community. The program included valuable presentations on performance, promotion, and musical development resources available to local musicians, and also introduced a new and ongoing local music archive project to the community, Mid Island Music Archive. A facilitated open discussion on what is needed to invigorate the local music scene allowed people to openly exchange ideas and make relevant connections. This invaluable chance to network allowed Nanaimo’s music scene the chance to reemerge, and planted seeds for new musical collaborations and performances.

The aim of the Nanaimo Music Symposium was to give the music community an opportunity to come together, connect, and empower the musical landscape of Nanaimo. It was meant for those involved in the music industry and the cultural community at large. Musicians don’t often have opportunities to meet up in non-performance settings. Providing an inclusive space to get to know who is in the community and hear ideas, especially during a period of shutdowns was meant to create a positive and inspiring environment.

Elise Boulanger also shared her experience and insights about having a more sustainable and diverse musical career. These opportunities exist at conferences and festivals, but not for our smaller city. A video recording of the event will be uploaded to her website this spring.” 

- Elise Boulanger; Symposium Chair & Josh Rudolph; Symposium Volunteer

Learn more about future events related to the Nanaimo Music Symposium, sign up for Elise's music newsletter or follow her on social media.

                                                                   Image: Darcie Osborne

Introducing, Darcie Osborne
Temporary Manager, Culture & Events

The Culture and Events team bids a fond farewell to outgoing Manager of Culture & Events, Julie Bevan, whose initiatives started with the City will continue to cultivate growth in our arts and culture community.

To continue this good work, we introduce Darcie Osborne who steps into the role of temporary Manager of Culture & Events.  Joining the Culture team with years of experience working as the Manager of Recreation Services, she brings with her an invaluable history of service with the City of Nanaimo, a motivating energy and a longstanding passion for the arts. 

We are happy to welcome her!

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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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