As expected, this neighbourhood gets its name from its proximity to Vancouver Island University. As you get closer to the university, you will find a mix of older and newer homes as well as condos. Because of the need for student residences this can be a great opportunity for homeowners who are looking for investment opportunities in the way of rental income. Homes and suites can be rented out to students with relative ease. The neighbourhood is fairly quiet and great for families; however, there is a little bit more activity around the university, which is between Fourth Street and Fifth Street. The University Village Mall offers residents all the amenities they could need including a pharmacy, grocery store, post office and restaurants just to name a few services.
The upper area which is referred to as College Heights offers some of the best ocean and coastal views anywhere in Nanaimo, and overlooks the downtown area too and Departure Bay with its ferry traffic. College Heights borders Westwood Lake and trails leading to the summit of Mt. Benson. Access to the Nanaimo Parkway is quick and easy and within a few minutes drive or a short bus ride you can arrive at the downtown core and the renowned harbour area.
Schools in the area:
Fairview Elementary – 205 Howard Avenue, (250) 753-3418
Georgia Avenue Elementary – 625 Georgia Avenue, (250) 753-1044
John Barsby Secondary – 550 7th Street, (250) 753-8211
Nanaimo Christian School – 198 Holland Road, (250) 754-4512
Nanaimo District Secondary School – 355 Wakesiah Avenue, (250) 740-2000
Vancouver Island University – 900 Fifth Street, (250) 753-3245
Parks in the area:
Buttertubs Marsh- Enjoy a 2 km loop trail around this bird and wildlife sanctuary. With observation decks and a tower, Buttertubs Marsh is the perfect place to capture a prize shot of any bird. The trail is also open to anyone that wishes to have a leisurely walk or jog.
Westwood Lake- Westwood Lake is a popular spot for children and adults to swim and/or sun bathe in the summer months, as well as mountain bikers and joggers doing the 6km trail around the lake in all kinds of weather. The picnic tables and playground make Westwood Lake a wonderful area to picnic and play in case the water is still too chilly. The trails surrounding the lake are great for hikers and nature lovers alike. Just steps away from the park is Westwood Lake Campgrounds, where you will find swimming beaches, miles of trails and a lake well stocked with trout.
Hawthorne Park- Named after the English Hawthorne bushes that populate the area, this park is a perfect for an evening jog or walk, alone or with your pet. The park surrounds ponds and has many trail loops to follow.
Black Diamond Park- Have fun playing at Black Diamond Park playing a game of catch or a great game of Frisbee on this open and grassy area. This field is perfect for any activity/ game that requires a lot of space to run about.
Harewood Centennial Park- Located next to John Barsby Secondary, Harewood Centennial Park is an active place for many families in the community. It is equipped for several different activities including tennis, basketball, baseball and an assortment of field games. Young children can enjoy the playground all year round and kids of all ages come throughout the hot summer months to play in the water park.