Situated in the northwest part of Nanaimo, just off the Island Highway, the crystal waters of Long Lake and its treed shores have long been a hub for both recreation and nature within the city. Measuring at 14 metres deep and 1.5 kms in length, this warm lake is renowned for its recreational activities in the summer months like canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. It’s home to the Nanaimo Rowing Club and the Nanaimo Canoe & Kayak Club, plus two designated parks on the north and south shores. It’s also a popular destination for winter activities (weather permitting), like ice skating as pictured above from the year 1965.
But much has changed since 1965, as shortly after this time, the shores of Long Lake experienced rapid development that brought housing, streets, and storm drains, increasing the loss of lakeshore habitat and impacts from urban runoff. What used to be a small community of mining cabins around the lakeshore, Long Lake is now home to large waterfront homes and luxury bed & breakfasts, and has become an area marked by expensive real estate. Thanks to a few local environmental groups, efforts are being made to reclaim Long Lake and restore its original and natural beauty for all to enjoy for many years to come.