vancouver island day seven: chemainus, ladysmith, nanaimo

Poor Allan, the only non-morning person in our little group, being faced with three high-octane coffee drinkers every morning! In Chemainus I let him sleep in a bit as we had breakfast in the hotel.

I've been emailing frequently with both the NDP search committee and the riding association, as the nomination meeting is being set -- and also discussing with Allan and M&M when to tell members and management.

After breakfast we drove around Chemainus for a bit. We saw a lot of beautiful homes with view of both water and mountains; saw a funny gingerbread house with crazy topiary; and saw one small library in a poor location. This was the only disappointing library on the whole trip -- although it was closed (Sunday), so perhaps during the week it's more vibrant? But the location was terrible, a well-kept secret.

A bit further on, we visted the town of Ladysmith, whose claim to fame is that the 49th parallel runs through the town. There's a monument and some history markers, but more importantly, there's a beautiful library, a playground and park right on the water, and several buildings that appear to be rentals. Ladysmith is a definite possibility.

After Ladysmith we reached Nanaimo. I can’t decide if Nanaimo feels like a small city or a giant sprawl. We found the central library, the Harbourfront Branch, but it opened late (Sunday), so we had brunch at a nearby place in the little downtown. The library was beautiful and in a great central location. There was a beautiful quote from Dr. Seuss on a wall near the entrance.

I spoke to staff here. Everyone seems so genuinely happy. In the Greater Victoria Public Library, the staff is all CUPE. In the Vancouver Island Regional system, the front-line staff is CUPE, but the librarians belong to a separate union, which is province-wide, and represents a hugely diverse group of workers, with 550 collective agreements! That is some serious bargaining power.

We immediately saw that there are many rental possibilities in Nanaimo, but I'm not sure if it's a place we'd want to live. Maybe a place to work, and live near?

With some difficulty, we found the AirBnb, a sweet ground-floor apartment in private home. After a rest, we drove into the old city quarter for dinner, an amazing authentic Greek restaurant. Have I mentioned that people are insanely friendly here?

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