The University District is a vibrant and diverse part of the city. The name refers to the area (formerly known as Harewood) around Vancouver Island University. This is an older part of town, and in the past, there were problems with crime and poverty related issues. Over recent years, the area has seen a boom in new development and revitalization. The increasing internationalization of the University has helped to increase demand for housing in the area. With it, higher rental potential has led to new builds and redevelopment. The new subdivisions have attracted families which helped make this area more appealing.
Neighbourhood commercial is growing with the area. The new University Village offers residents a good selection of retail shops right in the heart of the neighbourhood, and there are still pockets of neighbourhood businesses spread throughout.
For schooling, Fairview and Georgia Avenue are the elementary schools, with Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS) and John Barsby as the secondary schools. Both Fairview and Georgia Avenue are rated low for schools in the district. Same with John Barsby. NDSS on the other hand, has a higher rating. There is the option for high school education at the university as an alternative. With its college-like structure, it’s a great option for students. Of course with the University right there, you can keep them living at home through University as well.
The Colliery Dam, Buttertubs Marsh, and Morell Sanctuary are nearby, and they are all great places to hike and explore. Each has well maintained trails, and offers a different landscape. The Nanaimo Ice Center and Aquatic Center are a block from the University. They are top notch, indoor public skating, and swimming facilities, and offer lots of other amenities on-site.
The area is a short commute to downtown, and the bus service is decent. The area is generally quite walkable, and there are more pedestrians than other parts of the city.
With everything available, the area is really up-and-coming. The University District offers a great chance to get an affordable home in a convenient and friendly location.