Premier Listings for Petroglyph Park

Petroglyph Provincial Park, at the south end of Nanaimo where the Nanaimo River empties into Northumberland Channel, presents a look back in time to a prehistoric period perhaps a millennium ago.

Mythological sea creatures – wolves in particular – animals, symbolic designs, events and human figures have skillfully been outlined in the sandstone surface of the rock by the native people inhabiting the area some time in the past.

Called petroglyphs today, these exquisite symbolic etchings are richly concentrated in the 2-hectare Petroglyph Park. Locations for rock art carvings were chosen carefully, and were almost always made at places of power or mystery – places where the forces of nature were believed to be especially strong. Examples of this art form exist elsewhere, and are found in the Nanaimo area and in other locations on Vancouver Island and the neighbouring islands, but rarely can they be viewed in such concentration as here.

The rock carvings, or petroglyphs, were made by pecking and abrading selected rock surfaces with stone tools. Locations for rock art carvings and paintings were carefully chosen. They were places of power or mystery; places where the forces of nature were believed to be especially strong. They are marked by unusual natural features such as waterfalls, rock formations or caves. Nearly all sites are near water and may also be near old village sites or along trails or ancient trade routes.

The rock carvings tempt visitors to transport themselves way back in time, to thousands of years before Europeans explored these shores. They invite speculation, provoke thought and mystify all who view them.

Petroglyph Provincial Park was established in 1948 to protect the cultural relics. The petroglyphs are more than one thousand years old, but are quickly becoming extinct due to the effects of both man and nature.

The park is a place of dreams for the Snuneymuxw First Nations, and years ago the park was a spiritual refuge for the Snuneymuxw, but as visitor traffic increased and more people began visiting the park, it has lost its sense of otherworldly solitude. This is where the powerful shaman Thauxwaam was turned to stone by the creator Xaals as punishment for his arrogance and disrespect to the Xaals.

A short walkway leads from the parking lot to an interpretive area with information boards and a display of concrete replica casts taken from the nearby petroglyphs. The sandstone gallery of the originals is just a short distance farther along the walkway on a hill that overlooks the Nanaimo Harbour.

Visitors who would like to take away an example of this ancient artwork can make rubbings on paper of the coffee-table size moulds. Cloth or paper is stretched across the carving and lightly rubbed with crayons, charcoal or wax, leaving a reverse image printed on the cloth.

Facilities at the park are restricted to a day-use picnicking area and pit toilets. Visitors are requested to respect the cultural significance of the park and its rock carvings by staying on designated trails to protect the petroglyphs and vegetation.

Petroglyph Provincial Park is located on Vancouver Island, on the east side of the Trans-Canada Highway, 2.5 miles (4 km) south of Nanaimo. A pulloff is provided for park visitors.

Nearby Regions & Towns

Park Notices

Premier Listings

Photo of Best Western Northgate Inn Nanaimo Hotel
Best Western Northgate Inn Nanaimo Hotel
6450 Metral Drive Nanaimo BC V9T 2L8 Home Phone: 250-390-2222Work Fax: 250-390-2412Work Phone: 1-800-661-0061Visit Website

Biographical Info

Let Best Western Northgate Inn be your home away from home. Located in the north end of Nanaimo, just steps away from Woodgrove Shopping Centre, Vancouver Island’s largest shopping mall. All Rooms have air conditioning, microwaves, fridges, balconies and complimentary wireless internet. Parking is included with your stay and the facilities include: restaurant and pub, hot tub, exercise room, coin operated laundry, and meeting room facilities.

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Photo of Seaside Getaway at Inn of the Sea
Seaside Getaway at Inn of the Sea
Inn of the Sea Resort 3600 Yellow Point Road Yellow Point BC V8Y 1S1 Home Phone: 1-778-426-4002Visit Website

Biographical Info

Privately owned, newly renovated, water view condo and studio suite at Inn of the Sea Resort, located on 3.5 acres of stunning ocean front property in the tranquil and picturesque countryside of Yellow Point near Ladysmith, south of Nanaimo. Amenities include a Hot Tub, seasonal heated pool overlooking the ocean, all-weather tennis court, coin-operated laundry, and deep-water dock. Awake to the call of loons, eagles and sea birds, with breathtaking views of the Gulf Islands. Country living at the seaside with easy access to Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

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Photo of Long Lake Waterfront B&B
Long Lake Waterfront B&B
240 Ferntree Place Nanaimo BC V9T 5M1 Home Phone: 250-758-5010Home Fax: 250-758-2115Work Phone: 1-877-758-5010Visit Website

Biographical Info

Long Lake Waterfront B&B offers self-contained, luxurious bed and breakfast suites on beautiful Long Lake in Nanaimo, a destination spot at which to relax and have waterfront fun, or use as a base for day trips and and activities on Vancouver Island. Enjoy the experience of staying at a B&B that creates wonderful memories and offers exemplary customer service. Each suite has a view of Long Lake, with air conditioning, fridge and ensuite with shower and/or Jacuzzi.

Vancouver Island’s harbour city of Nanaimo is a bustling active place with over 200 parks, a 5-km Harbourside Walkway, world-class diving and kayaking, and bird watching with over 250 local species.

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Photo of Practicar Nanaimo
Practicar Nanaimo
227 South Terminal Avenue Nanaimo BC V9R 5C7 Home Phone: 250-753-6461Home Fax: 250-753-4355Work Phone: 1-888-296-8888Visit Website

Biographical Info

Practicar Nanaimo offers low rates on daily, weekly and monthly rentals for cars, passenger vans, and trucks; ferry and airport pick-up and delivery, cars also available in Parksville/Qualicum and Gabriola Island; no charge for additional drivers; minimum driver’s age 21; special packages, including self-drive vineyard tours, Tofino/Pacific Rim, Gulf Islands available.

Nanaimo is the Gateway to Vancouver Island, with convenient and frequent ferries from Vancouver as well as float plane service from both Vancouver airport and downtown Vancouver. Walk on – walk off – drive away – with Practicar rentals – free pickup at Departure Bay ferry terminal, and downtown Nanaimo float plane docks.

Practicar provides discount car rental prices with top of the line auto rental customer service. At Practicar we believe that cheap car rental can be accompanied with excellent service. With airport locations and convenient neighborhood locations Practicar strives to meet all of your car and truck rental needs; whether you are looking for airport car rental, an insurance replacement vehicle or a van or minivan to take on vacation. Drive a Good Bargain…Practicar!

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Photo of Inn of the Sea Beautiful Waterfront Getaway
Inn of the Sea Beautiful Waterfront Getaway
Inn of the Sea #109-209 3600 Yellow Point Road Yellow Point BC V8Y 1S1 Bookings/Postal Address: 1730 Ash Road Victoria BC V8N 2T6 Home Phone: 250-472-1740Visit Website

Biographical Info

We are located right on the ocean at Inn of the Sea on beautiful Yellow Point, 20 minutes south of Nanaimo and 90 minutes north of Victoria. A privately owned 2 bedroom self-contained townhouse. A quiet, peaceful waterfront getaway with fireplace, canoe, outdoor pool, hot tub and tennis court and free high speed internet.

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