Nanaimo Stories: Where Did The Town of Wellington Go?

The Wellington area of Nanaimo stretches from Northfield Road to Long Lake and Brannen Lake. However, what is now a part of our harbour city was once the second largest settlement on Vancouver Island, just behind Victoria. At the turn of the last century, Wellington was a bustling coal mining town with a population of over 5,000 people. The settlement boasted hotels, saloons, a school, and even an opera house.

In 1899, that all changed. A fire destroyed a large part of the town, and most of what remained of the industry infrastructure was dismantled and moved to the Ladysmith area. Wellington continued on as a small rural town until WWII. At that time, Nanaimo was starting to see significant expansion, and Wellington became a bedroom community for many Nanaimo residents.

Then, in the 1960s, the Wellington Improvement District amalgamated with the City of Nanaimo. Since becoming a part of Nanaimo, the Wellington District is often referred to as “North Nanaimo”. To this day, only former town site areas retain the original neighborhood name, being the only remnant of what was once a thriving town in its own right.