This popular museum just off the Commercial St main drag showcases the region's heritage, from First Nations to colonial, maritime, sporting and beyond. Highlights of the eclectic collection include exhibits on the local sweet treat, Nanaimo bars, and bathtub racing – plus a carved golden beaver from an 1890s tugboat. Ask at the front desk about the museum's guided walking-tour program as well as summertime entry to the nearby Bastion, an 1853 wooden tower fortification.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nanaimo attractions

1. Old City Quarter

0.23 MILES

A steep hike uphill from the waterfront on Bastion and Fitzwilliam Sts delivers you to a strollable heritage 'hood of independent stores, galleries and…

3. Gabriola Island

4.34 MILES

Woodland trails, rugged coastlines and quiet little beaches make this bucolic little island a popular rustic day trip for visitors. It's a 20-minute ferry…

4. Wild Play Element Parks

6.78 MILES

The perfect spot to tire your kids out, this tree-lined adventure playground is packed with adrenaline-pumping fun, from bungee jumping to scream…

5. Morningstar Farm

22.49 MILES

Check out the region's 'locavore' credentials at this delightful and highly welcoming working farmstead. Let your kids run wild – most will quickly fall…

6. Blue Horse Folk Art Gallery

23.21 MILES

One of the most popular of Salt Spring's many galleries, you'll find contemporary reinventions of the quirky folk art movement here as well as eye…

7. Coombs Old Country Market

24.02 MILES

The mother of all pit stops, this wood-framed and turf-roofed food and crafts menagerie is stuffed with bakery and produce delectables. It attracts huge…

8. Westholme Tea Farm

24.07 MILES

Thought tea was a tropical plant? Not always. Hidden in bucolic farmland 8km north of Duncan, the improbably located Westholme grows its own tea plants…