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Nanaimo eclipses Victoria - but who's counting?

Feb 16 2012

Wally Wells means no disrespect.

The chairman of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce readily admits that we have a quaint little city here.

"I enjoy visiting Victoria," he said Wednesday.

But facts are facts and there is just no easy way to put this: Nanaimo is simply bigger.

"I don't know if it's a competition, per se," he said.

"I mean, it's government's published numbers."

He was referring, of course, to the latest census figures showing Victoria with a measly 80,017 people to Nanaimo's whopping 83,810. The chamber has seized on that chasm to market itself as Vancouver Island's biggest city.

Sure, Saanich is larger than both with a population of 109,752, but it chooses to remain a district in honour of its rural roots.

And sure, Greater Victoria, with 344,615 souls, dwarfs them all if you combine the municipalities.

But, really, who would do that?

"It's not about the numbers," Wells explained.

"It's about the quality of what we've got, and they're both great places to live, aren't they?"

It's just that one happens to be a little bit bigger than the other.

Not that anyone's counting.

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