Nanaimo harbor was the scene of a bathtub race extravaganza at the first race in 1967 Canadas’ 100 birthday and its’ Centennial year.. As the City of Nanaimo's "Centennial Event" that year, close to 200 tubbers (in every type of craft imaginable) entered the fun competition and amazingly, 47 completed the 36 mile course to Vancouver's Fisherman's Cove across the straits of Georgia. Now the "Great RACE" finishes at Departure Bay in Nanaimo covering a very grueling course that leaves Nanaimo harbor circles Entrance Island and then up to and around Winchelsea Island and then back to Departure Bay in Nanaimo. In the early days it was indeed a challenge to just get past the starting line in the choppy confusion caused by an extra 785 small and large observation and escort boat in Nanaimo harbor. From the confusion of a first time bathtub race 45 years ago, the Nanaimo to Nanaimo "Great" INTERNATIONAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BATHTUB RACE & 4 day Nanaimo Marine Festival has evolved. Where once a select band of tubbers were the highlight they now share the spotlight with many other land and water events which are interesting and often spectacular to watch.
The various events through out the city in July culminate with the KICK OFF to the 2012 Marine Festival on Thursday, July 19th with the opening of the LNBS Marine Festival Food Fair, Kiddies Harborside Playdock, Kiddies Karnival, "TIM HORTONS" Marine Festival Entertainment Stage and the children's programs at Maffeo Sutton and Swy-a-lana Lagoon parks adjacent to the Nanaimo Harbor . Also for your enjoyment are the many informative static displays on boat safety, military, water sports plus many others all taking place until Sunday, July 22nd . Daily events in the city centre include the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association (DNBIA) city centre Bathtub Days on Friday and Saturday on Commercial street, and on July 21st at 10:30 AM the annual “Sail Past on Wheels Fun Parade” takes place through the Old City Quarter and the City Center. Followed by the the Marine Festival Food Fare, the Kiddies Harborside Playdock, TIM HORTONS Marine Festival Entertainment Stage, the Kiddies Karnival, along with many other static displays and the Loyal Order of the Moose Bavarian Garden held in Maffeo Sutton park and various events in the harbor.