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Commercial St. Heritage Walk con't...


Lunch at Mon Petit Choux was wonderful but it was time to continue our walk. Back in the day the harbour waters extended much further than they do today. Terminal Ave was a tidal channel and the Harbour waters lapped at the rear of what is now the Flying Fish and Mon Petit Choux.

But sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. Developed as a state of the art commercial district, the remaining heritage buildings speak to a time when the city was booming. Today we have the new and beautiful Convention Center sharing the same street with  heritage buildings housing art galleries, travel agencies, clothing stores and restaurants, in a bustling, entertaining downtown.

Here some old architectural touches like windows, corbels, emblems and tiles can still be seen, just take your time and enjoy an up close look.

As you stroll through the area you’ll find it hard not to be enticed to stop by the many restaurants, galleries, boutiques, hip stores and funky finds that dot this downtown area.

Following the Route Map you will discover buidings erected from 1892, early 1900's, the roaring 20"s and a classic from 1955. The Parkin Block which today houses Le Café Francais and Bastion Jewellers today, is a handsome brick Edwardian Style commercial structure built in 1922 for John Parkin the first Fire Chief of Nanaimo. Notice the brick detailing in the stucco which in its day set it apart from other buildings in the vicinity.

Take a good look at this next building, The Ashlar Temple, it is an imposing building and in the morning sun, it seems to sparkle. The entry is beautiful and meetings are still held here. You can see down the side of this building which really showcases its size. There is commercial space as well, the most prominent of which is the Flight Center. I suspect that this was a very imposing building back then on the Commercial St. landscape.

Walk up Bastion Street from the waterfront and cross the Bastion Bridge to explore the Old City Quarter.

  1. Start: Parkin Block
    Built for the first Fire Chief of Nanaimo, John Parkin. 
  2. Ashlar Lodge Masonic Temple
    This Classic Period Revival building was constructed for the Freemasons in 1923
  3. Hirst Block
    1911 Edwardian Style commercial architecture 
  4. Hall Block
    A wonderful example of Edwardian commercial style which was built in 1925. 
  5. Caldwell Block
    A two-storey, Edwardian style commercial building from 1908
  6. Nash Hardware
    Built in 1909 with Art Deco facade in 1945
  7. Nanaimo - Duncan Utilities Building
    Constructed in 1941, this Art Deco building was built for the Nanaimo - Duncan Utilities Company
  8. Jean Burns Building
    Built in 1955 this is a good example of International style architecture.
  9. Merchant's Bank of Canada
    The bank was built in 1912 in the Free Renaissance style.
  10. End: Queen's Hotel
    Built in 1892, the Queen's Hotel is a good, rare surviving example of the Italianate style.