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Photo by: Ross Bodeman

Ladysmith

The character of this town would please Norman Rockwell, and we’re sure you will love it, too. Ladysmith, located on the 49th parallel sits peacefully on a hillside that overlooks the clear pristine waters of its natural harbor. Being one of the oldest settlements on the Islands, Ladysmith holds really close to its past. As you stroll on the streets, you can notice an Edwardian aesthetic is embodied in its streets and original buildings—many of which are now under reconstruction. If you want to see the process of revitalization program, head on 1st Avenue. So far, it has brought back to life a number of the classical historical buildings.

Fast Facts


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Population: 

Approx. 7,921


Ladysmith can be found just south of Nanaimo, off of Trans-Canada Highway 1, easy coast of Vancouver Island. To reach it by air, visit Cassidy Airport, located 9 km north of Ladysmith. Coach lines operating between Victoria and Nanaimo also serve Ladysmith.

Local Attractions

One of the biggest draws to Ladysmith are the classic buildings lining its streets. Besides being quaint yet charming, they do offer some unique shopping experiences. You can use a map to take a heritage route to all the best shops. One day, however, might not be enough so why not stay in one of the Ladysmith’s excellent lodgings or b&b’s?

Outdoor Activities

Hiking:

For hiking, visit Holland Creek Trail System which. It offers approximately 4 km on both sides of Holland Creek and goes through the centre of Ladysmith. You can also hike up to Heart Lake, 6.4km from Holland Creek Tail Bridge.

Beaches

If you like swimming in warm saltwater, Transfer Beach, widely known as the jewel of the city, located in the centre of the town is a good place to do so. Transfer is the hub for more local activities, ranging from picnics to music venues on Sunday nights.
Here you can also find the biggest open-air amphitheater on Vancouver Island. It holds more than 1,000 people. Since there is so much do experience and do, staying for a few days just might be a worthwhile experience.

Boat Launches: 

You can discover nearby shorelines launches from Ladysmith Harbour. Start your journey at the municipal boat launch; travel to Dunsmuir and Woods Island on the north side of the harbor. Come here in the summer; just after they migrate in spring and before they migrate back in the fall. You can explore the 8km (5 mile) harbor by boat, cayak, or canoe. It holds some amazing views.

Harbour Tours:

If you want to see another side of Ladysmith’s story, visit The Maritime docks, open in July and August.

Fish Hatchery

Right behind the Cassidy Hotel the salmon fish hatchery can be found, just five minutes from Ladysmith. It is open all year-round to the public.
Its hourly operations are from 9-12 noon and 1-3 p.m.

Oyster Harbour Saeafood

On 5035 Palton Road you can find Oyster Harbour Saeafood, which has been an active part of the community since the mid-1940s. Family owned and operated, OHS provides the freshest oysters and clams that one can get from BC’s finest shores.

Vancouver Island Paddlefest & Kayak Conference         

The Vancouver Island Paddlefest & Kayak Conference in June are just some events that Ladysmith hosts. Christmas is the time when Ladysmith truly comes alive and vibrant. The annual Christmas Light-Up and the Christmas Light Harbor Cruise transform the city into an escapade of bright lights.

Bungy Jumping

Nearby you can find the home of North’s America first and only bridge build for bungee jumping. Take leap from the 140-foot bridge above Nanaimo River. It is located just five minutes north of Ladysmith.

History

The first people to inhabit the land around Ladysmith were Chemainus First nation, preserving its abundant natural resources for at least 5,000 years. E&N railway arrived in Ladysmith in 1884, forever changing its landscape.
Initially, Ladysmith was created in 1899 by James Dunsmuir as a dormitory for coal miners. In 1 936, logging took root (ha-ha) in the community and has stayed as a primary source of economic stability throughout the years.