A picturesque seaside community in a village type setting on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Lantzville began as a coal mining settlement in the 1800s. Lantzville is named after Harry Lantz, an American who invested in a coal mine in nearby Nanoose.
When the mines closed, the waterfront miners’ shacks were rented out to city residents in search of a quiet cabin on the beach. Modern day holidaymakers in Lantzville still enjoy the same mild climate and gentle shores.
Lantzville is an area known for its small community charm and the residents feel very strongly in ensuring that it remains that way. Lantzville is a place where neighbours care about neighbours and a place where if you pass someone on the street you are greeted with a friendly ‘hello’ regardless of whether you’re a known resident or just visiting. Lantzville was a seaside suburb of the city of Nanaimo before becoming the 155st municipality of British Columbia in June 2003.
Location: Lantzville is located 7 miles (11 km) north of Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Access to Lantzville is via a loop road (Lantzville Road) off the Island Highway 19.
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Visit the Lantzville Hotel, opened in 1924 and famous for its one-time ban on dancing in the bar because it “might cause trouble”!
Sea Lions: Take a nature cruise from nearby Schooner Cove in Nanoose Bay to view the 400 or so sea lions that spend the winter on Ada Islands off the Lantzville waterfront.
Beachcombing: The beaches around Lantzville are great places to learn the fine art of beachcombing!
Golf: The Winchelsea View Golf Course offers an 18-hole golf course in Lantzville, featuring spectacular views of the Strait of Georgia and the Coastal Mountains of the B.C. mainland. Its friendly atmosphere and convenient location make it a popular favourite among local golfers. Nanaimo and the areas to the north have seen the proliferation of golf courses. Located 3 miles (5 km) north of Nanaimo is the Nanaimo Golf Club, a demanding 18-hole course with beautiful views of the water. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Mountain Biking: The 12-km Blackjack Ridge Round Lake Loop south of Lantzville combines trails and gravel roads to provide excellent riding to the summit of Blackjack Ridge and farther to Round Lake. Accessed via Dumont Road off the Nanaimo Parkway.
Qualicum National Wildlife Area (Nanoose Unit) is located at the western end of Nanoose Harbour, 5 miles (8 km) west of Lantzville. Two small streams, Nanoose and Bonell Creeks, run through the area and enter the bay. At low tides extensive tidal flats are exposed over which the waters of the two creeks fan into many channels. The sheltered bay winters large numbers of waterfowl and is an important year-round resting and feeding area for migratory birds. The wildlife area itself has a varied habitat of mudflats, marine spits, saltmarsh, wet meadows, and riparian vegetation. More than 200 species of plants and more than 190 species of animals, of which 131 are bird species, are found here. Most birds can be seen throughout the year, but large numbers are only present during migration and winter. Large concentrations of diving ducks and gulls occur in early spring, coinciding with the herring spawn. Bald Eagles are abundant in January when salmon spawn in the coastal streams and rivers.
Fishing: The area between Lantzville and Nanaimo has a number of good freshwater fishing lakes, all stocked with rainbow trout and cutthroat trout, providing good fishing from March to June and September to October. Long Lake is a good smallmouth bass lake, and Brannen Lake has good-sized rainbows and cutthroats. The smaller Green Lake and Diver Lake offer smallmouth bass and rainbow and cutthroat trout. Brannen Lake has a boat launch, while the others offer cartop boat launches.
Pipers Lagoon Regional Park east of Lantzville has both a sheltered and an exposed side – take your pick of beaches on either one. The lagoon drains so dry that at low tide you can wander out to nearby Shack Island. The eastern shore of the park faces the Strait of Georgia, where a stiff wind is often blowing. A forest of Garry oak predominate on the narrow headland that shelters the lagoon. Wildflowers are profuse here in springtime and attract Columbia black-tailed deer out onto the beach. There’s a public boat ramp at Pipers Lagoon Park, which lies nestled at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain, 3 miles (5 km) north of the BC Ferries Departure Bay terminal.
It’s one thing to putt-putt around the sheltered lagoon, but quite another to brave the open water of Horswell Channel on the east side of the narrow headland that shelters the lagoon. Hunker down and watch the heroics as small boats battle their way towards the mouth of Departure Bay. BC Ferries vessels entering and leaving the harbour normally don’t feel the wind’s sting, but even they can get slapped around during the worst winter blows. That’s when the action at Pipers Lagoon is often the most dramatic. If you like storm watching, this is a great vantage point. To reach the park, from Hwy 19 take Departure Bay Road between Nanaimo and Lantzville, which follows the natural arch of the coastline around the north arm of Departure Bay. Turn east onto Hammond Bay Road and watch for signs to the park. The boat launch is at the end of Charlaine Road, one of two well-marked entrances to the park.
Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park is south of Lantzville, lying just a few hundred metres off Nanaimo Harbour and beckoning to visitors to pop over and explore. The 336-hectare park offers an island shoreline dominated by steep sandstone cliffs and ledges, punctuated by beaches. Caves and caverns exist along the shoreline and provide a marked contrast to the interior of the island, studded with Douglas fir, arbutus, Garry oak and dogwood trees. Visitors can spend the day walking, hiking or cycling along an extensive trail system, or take 2-1/2 hours to walk around the island (8 km). Swimming, picnicking and wildlife viewing are favourite pastimes on Newcastle Island. The tidal stream is a favourite feeding ground for raccoon and river otter.
The bustling Nanaimo Harbour is the central focus for visitors to Nanaimo, to the south of Lantzville. A playground of land and sea activities, Nanaimo is a perfect place for a family vacation, a year-round golf getaway, or a romantic weekend. A former coal-mining town, Nanaimo has evolved into something very different, with a clean, accessible waterfront, cultural festivals in the summer, a university campus with a marvellous view, and superb dining.
West of Lantzville, just off Highway 19, is the rural community of Nanoose Bay, a hot spot for golfers, clam diggers and water sports enthusiasts. Nanoose Bay enjoys a country atmosphere while being close to the city amenities of Parksville and Nanaimo. The peninsula’s large, protected harbour is a popular destination for visiting boats from around the world, and is home to an assortment of marinas, one as large as 400 berths. The Nanoose Bay area is a vacationer’s paradise, offering a wealth of activities, including hiking, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, fishing and more.
Nanoose Bay, across Nanoose Harbour from Lantzville, is the site of the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range. The torpedo testing range in the Georgia Strait has been operating since 1967, testing torpedoes, sonar, sonobuoys and other maritime warfare equipment. Ottawa allows foreign governments – principally the U.S. Navy – to use the facilities to test air, ship and submarine-launched torpedoes, usually between 500 and 800 each year. Unlike test ranges in California and Hawaii, Nanoose Bay’s average depth of 410 metres, and the unique seabed, makes it easy to retrieve the unarmed torpedoes. As a result of a recent dispute with the provincial government of British Columbia, Ottawa announced the expropriation of Nanoose Bay in May 1999, the first hostile expropriation of provincial land by the federal government in Canadian history.