OceanEXP is the Canadian Centre for Ocean Exploration. It is a unique ocean experience attracting local, regional and global visitors to Nanaimo thru an exciting range of interactive displays, robotic submersibles and large format theatre experiences. It will reflect on the history, engage with the present, and look to the future of ocean ecology and sustainable technologies.
Visitors will experience and participate in the impact we have had and are having on the oceans environment and what we can do to preserve and protect this vast natural resource.
The Board of Directors will begin a capital fund campaign raising funds thru Federal, Provincial, Private and Corporate contributions once support in principle has been provided from Nanaimo City Council.
It is important to note that the group will NOT be expecting Nanaimo public tax dollars to fund this project.
The local market population is approximately 146,567 for the Nanaimo and Ladysmith Regional District, with the core population of the city of Nanaimo is 83,810.
The available school market is 13,875 in School District 68 with the broader area including neighbouring school districts totalling approximately 38,180 students. This is an important target market for educational outreach and brings a potential audience of annual visitors outside of peak tourism season. Local organizations such as Vancouver Island University and Ns3 (Science and Sustainability Society) represent excellent partnering opportunities to create an ongoing educational element to the Canadian Centre for Ocean Discovery.
In addition to these figures, research indicates approximately 60% of traffic at museums, galleries, gardens and parks is attributable out of town family or guests visiting Vancouver Island residents. This means that the entire Vancouver Island population is an important target market to drive traffic.
Nanaimo benefits from an estimated $72.4 million in estimated annual visitor spending (tourism revenue). This figure is expected to rise with the addition of foot passenger ferry service, two new hotel facilities, potential development by the Snuneymuxw First Nation and further waterfront revitalization opportunities building on the walkways and float plane terminal introduced within the last few years.
According to a 2014 survey, when respondents were asked if Nanaimo was the main destination of their trip, 43% indicated that it was, while 57% specified that Nanaimo was one of several stops. Although exact tourism traffic for Nanaimo is difficult to ascertain due to the thoroughfare nature of its location, MNP estimates a conservative annual average of 1 million visitors who stop for tourist related activities. This number would increase with the introduction of the OceanEXP, drawing from the 3.8 million annual visitors estimated to visit Vancouver Island.
Within easy walking distance from:
- The cruise ship terminal
- The Casino
- The Port Theatre
- The Vancouver Island Conference Centre
- Public parking facilities
- Direct access to Nanaimo’s sea wall walkway
The projected timeline for the project is 1-3 years. But keep an eye on our social media and News page for updates.
No. The OceanEXP project is not an aquarium and will not be housing any sea animals.
It is too early in the project to produce practical cost estimates; however, initial projections indicate an estimate to build will be approx. $50M
Currently the following groups are involved in the project:
- Nanaimo Economic Development Corp./Tourism Development (Now defunct)
- Checkwitch Poiron Architects, Nanaimo: Architects & Technical Advisors, www.cparch.ca
- Nuytco Research, North Vancouver: Potential exhibits provider/Technical Advisor
- Numerous business and technical advisors