Arrival Information

Arriving to Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University is located less than a 20-minute drive from the Nanaimo Airport (YCD) and a 10-minute drive from downtown Nanaimo and the Departure Bay ferry terminal. Students who are staying in homestay or peerstay will be picked up by their homestay or peerstay families at the point of entry in Nanaimo. Students are advised to arrive a few days before the start of classes to attend New Student Orientation and to visit the Centre for International Education (Building 255), where staff will provide assistance with course selection, registration, and general information about the campus and Nanaimo.

Arriving in Nanaimo

By air

Students traveling to Canada from overseas by air should book their airline ticket to Nanaimo Airport (YCD). Students will change planes at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). There are 20-minute flights from Vancouver to Nanaimo Airport.

By ferry

There are two car/passenger ferries from Vancouver to Nanaimo:
(1) from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver to Departure Bay, close to downtown Nanaimo. *Recommended
(2) from the Vancouver port of Tsawwassen to Duke Point, south of Nanaimo.

For information, visit: BC Ferries Vancouver Island Schedule.


Arrival Services

If students do not have a connecting flight to Nanaimo Airport (YCD) from Vancouver International (YVR) and would like assistance to any of the ferry services (BC Ferries), or harbour to harbour float planes, please contact Beaton's Meet and Greet. Beaton's will be happy to meet students at the exit of the arrivals area at YVR and transport the student to the ferry or float plane service. They will also help purchase a ticket from Vancouver to Nanaimo on behalf of the student. If applicable, Beaton's Meet and Greet will ensure that the Host Family is informed of the student's arrival time and that they will be present at the pick up location.

  • Students whose flights are delayed or cancelled should speak to staff at the Airline Information Desk for assistance in re-scheduling flights. Students must notify the Homestay Office at VIU and the host family directly with changes to travel plans.
  • If Homestay/Peerstay is not arranged with Vancouver Island University, there is an airport shuttle service available for a fee. Taxis are also available from both ferry terminals.
  • Please contact Reception in Building 255 upon arrival at the University, for information about New Student Orientation, classes and assessments.