Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Vancouver Island Conference CentreWork is well underway on the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in the Port of Nanaimo Centre at the corner of Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo and the facility should open this summer. The 18-story Marriott Nanaimo Hotel to be built between Piper Park and the Conference Centre isn't scheduled to open until June 2010, and until it does, Nanaimo hotel rooms will be at a premium whenever a major conference is underway. Fortunately, the new Nanaimo Ramada Inn, which opened on Terminal Ave. in March 2008, will be able to soak up some of the overflow.

The heart of the Conference Centre will be the 1,300-seat ballroom, which will accommodate as many as 1,400 persons at receptions. Five smaller meeting rooms will adjoin the ballroom, and a large Conference Pre-Function area has been included in the design. An elevated walkway will lead to the 200-seat Shaw Auditorium with additional meeting rooms in that module. The Auditorium terrace should have a clear harbour view.

The new home of the Nanaimo Museum will be downstairs below the ballroom and an undergound parkade will be underneath the museum with the Nanaimo Marriott directly opposite. A row of upscale retail outlets will face Commercial Street. This entire project is being underwritten to the tune of tens of millions in Nanaimo tax dollars and one can only hope it will be a success.

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