Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University

Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, applied research and learning, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is producing quality graduates that are in demand by employers across the country and around the world.

With roots that date back to 1936 when Nanaimo’s first vocational training school opened its doors, VIU shares a rich history and connectedness with its communities.  It is this history and commitment to people that has provided VIU with a solid foundation on which we continue to grow.

VIU has evolved into a dynamic, internationally known university supporting a student population in excess of 18,000 full-and part-time learners, including 1100 international students, over 1000 aboriginal students, and employing over 2,000 faculty and staff.

Through our ongoing evolution and growth, VIU is proud to have contributed to the development of the Vancouver Island culture, social, economic and knowledge base.

VIU operates four campuses including a main campus in Nanaimo and regional campuses in Duncan, Powell River and Parksville•Qualicum. VIU is also the proud owner of Milner Gardens and Woodlands in Qualicum Beach, recently named one of the top 10 public gardens in Canada.

VIU is an organization that values a diverse range of training and education. The university provides an enriched and intellectually stimulating environment for students and employees. Offering programs from basic literacy to vocational programs, trades, undergraduate and graduate degrees, VIU encourages all students to explore their potential, discover more about their world and excel in both life and learning.

Student Residences

VIU’s student residences offer comfortable, convenient and cost-effective on-campus housing for students from all over the world.

Our residences are situated in a village-like environment near the heart of VIU’s Nanaimo campus, close to classrooms, cafeterias and recreational facilities. Vancouver Island University offers three types of student residences:

All of the buildings in the resident village contain fully equipped shared kitchens. Residents should bring dishes, pots and pans, cutlery and utensils for cooking and eating.

In Morden Hall and Dunsmuir Place, approximately 30 people share kitchen facilities which include a stove, oven and cooktop. A microwave, kettle and toaster are also provided. Residents have a small fridge in their rooms, and shared, locked deep-freeze space is available. Vending machines containing healthy snacks and cold drinks are available in each building.

Each of our five new buildings contains a fully equipped kitchen shared between the twenty residents, which includes two stoves, ovens and microwaves plus a toaster and kettle. In addition to a small fridge in each bedroom, residents have a locking cupboard in the spacious kitchens, as well as access to a shared, locked deep-freeze. Vending machines are available in the lounge in the new Administration building.

Each four bedroom apartment has a well-equipped kitchen with fridge, stove, dishwasher and microwave.

Accommodation for students with disabilities is available in most housing types.

Campus Recreation

Outdoor Recreation Programs provide students the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of outdoor activities at a very reasonable cost. If you are interested in kayaking, climbing, skiing, caving, rafting, surfing, or hiking, then Outdoor Recreation provides the activity for you. We also supply the transportation, instruction and equipment. Come on out and try a new sport and meet new friends. Please note all programs will run, rain or shine. The programs listed are introductions to the activities and are suitable for novices or participants unfamiliar with the sports advertised. Many programs require a moderate level of fitness and may expose the participant to cold and wet weather and snow, ice and muddy conditions. We may alter the program somewhat due to inclement weather but it will not be cancelled.

Arts and Culture

What started out over 30 years ago, as a space to display works by fine arts students at Malaspina College has grown into a Nanaimo cultural institution. The Nanaimo Art Gallery includes two locations: the Campus Gallery is located at Vancouver Island University overlooking the City of Nanaimo, Strait of Georgia and the Coastal Mountains and the Downtown Gallery is located on Commercial Street in the heart of the Arts District in Nanaimo’s revitalised city centre.

The mandate of the Nanaimo Art Gallery is to enhance the cultural environment of the Nanaimo/Central Island region through exhibitions and outreach programming that encourages active public involvement with the visual arts. The Gallery’s primary goals are to:

  • Encourage the increased awareness of and the development of the role of the visual arts in the life of the community through the presentation of exhibitions and programs that promote visual arts and visual artists.
  • Reflect the growing cultural diversity of Nanaimo and increase the accessibility of the Gallery to the local community.
  • Provide relevant interpretation, animation and educational programming to the public in the form of artist’s talks, workshops, seminars, panel discussions and educational programs.

The Nanaimo Art Gallery is committed to maintaining a high level of programming and professionalism and creating a balance between accessibility and artistic challenge. The Gallery is committed to being more accessible to local, regional and national professional visual artists as well as members of local arts organizations, community and cultural groups and Vancouver Island University students and teaching faculty. The Gallery is committed to exploring, investigating and broadening artistic boundaries, theoretical concepts and mediums through its exhibition programming. The Gallery is also committed to enriching the viewer’s experience and appreciation of visual arts through the interpretation and animation of public programs.


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