Getting Here

 There are three ways to travel to Nanaimo:

Airplane

Airplane

Nanaimo Airport (YCD) is a 15 minute flight on a small plane from Vancouver (YVR), or 1-2 hours from Calgary (YYC).

When planning your flight arrangements, make YCD your final destination if possible and review information about transportation from the airport to Nanaimo City Centre.

The cost for a shuttle or taxi will vary, but expect the following range as an estimate: $50 (to downtown or VIU) - $75 (to North Nanaimo)

Nanaimo Airporter

Nanaimo Airporter is a van service from Departure Bay, Gabriola and Duke Point Ferry terminals as well as the Nanaimo airport.You can access their Booking on-line or call 1-888-758-2133. When booking online add "VIU international student" under the "Special Instructions" window.

Rates

From the airport: For the first 2 passengers (whether there is 1 or 2) the cost is $26.00, and each additional passenger after the first 2 is $5.00 more. For example 3 passengers $31.00 (or $10.35 per person) 4 passengers is $36.00 (or $9.00 per person) all passengers must be going to VIU to get this deal.

Look for this sign:

BC Ferries

BC Ferries

There are two car/passenger ferry routes from Vancouver to Nanaimo:

Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (1.5 hours)

This route is recommended, as you arrive in downtown Nanaimo with better access to public transportation.

Tsawwassen to Duke Point (2 hours)

The Duke Point Ferry Terminal is 20 minutes south of Nanaimo. There is no bus service to the city and Taxi service is less frequent and more expensive.

BC Ferries Information:

Plan your transfer from the ferry to your destination (likely a taxi):

Nanaimo Airporter

Nanaimo Airporter is a van service from Departure Bay, Gabriola and Duke Point Ferry terminals as well as the Nanaimo airport.You can access their Booking on-line or call 1-888-758-2133. When booking online add "VIU international student" under the "Special Instructions" window.

Rates:

Departure Bay ferry: (students must book in advance) The cost from the Ferry to the University is $15.00 for the first passenger and $5.00 per person after that.

Look for this sign:

Seaplane

Float Plane

There are two float plane companies that travel from Vancouver to Nanaimo:

Note these companies may have restrictions on the amount of luggage & weight of luggage you can carry, and also have limitations to their ability to travel in fog (common in winter months).   Watch for sales and student prices.

Homestay & Peer Stay Family Pick Up

If you are staying in Homestay or Peerstay, your host family will pick you up from the airport or designated pick-up location. In this case, please confirm your arrival time with the homestay department (homestay@viu.ca).  If you have made other arrangements for your accommodation, then you will be responsible for your own transportation from the airport.

At the border

You will be asked to declare all money or currency equal to or over CAN$10,000. It is not illegal to bring such amounts into Canada, but you must declare it on arrival.

At the border, answer every question truthfully, consistently and calmly. You may be asked what you will do and how long you are going to study in Canada. Service at the border is available in English and French. If you do not understand what is being said, ask if an interpreter is available. Expect to spend 1-3 hours at the border during busy periods, during which time you may be unable to use the telephone or leave the immigration area.

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.

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