Harbour City lands on list of top romantic places

NANAIMO – Amazon pegs Nanaimo at No. 16 on annual ranking.

The Harbour City loves a little romance.

Nanaimo is one of Amazon.ca’s top 20 most romantic Canadian cities this year, thanks to our appetite for everything from romance novels, to jewelry, romantic comedies and crooners like Michael Bublé and Barry White.

The ranking, which compares per-capita sales over one year in cities with more than 80,000 residents, put Victoria on top, followed by North Vancouver and Waterloo, Ont. Nanaimo landed in 16th place.

Local retailers are counting on Nanaimo’s love for romance to carry over into Valentine’s Day with purchases of chocolate, jewelry and flowers.

But our buys aren’t the only thing that makes this place romantic, according to Chelsea Barr, Tourism Nanaimo destination marketing officer, who says it’s also outdoor locations close to nature, the waterfront, and even our own love for where we live.

And don’t forget a university that’s likely blooming with new romance, or city visitors, who add to the overall mood of love and romance in the city, she said.

“I’d move us up on the list myself,” Barr said of Amazon’s top 20.

Local jewelery store owner Jean Carter hopes the love for romantic products translates into sales this Valentine’s Day. She said the store, Bastion Jewellers on Commercial Street, does a lot of hearts and engagement rings.

It’s a day of proposals, she said, adding they are usually busy.

“We do have some romantic men out there,” she said.

Cherub Chocolates owner Veronika Kononova, who is also located on Commercial Street, says people are looking for things that are unique and fun to entertain themselves and their loved ones.

She offers a traditional assortment of chocolate, but for shoppers wanting something different, there’s the truffles Capezzoli Di’Venere or Nipples of Venus.

Based on their sales volumes, Jim Turley, owner of Turley’s Florist, believes Nanaimo is a romantic city and says Valentine’s is the busiest day of the year.

This year he forecasted an 18 per cent reduction, based on the fact that the flower industry does better on weekdays than weekends, when Valentine’s Day lands.

“But the way the orders are coming in, I’m beginning to think maybe I’ve miscalculated,” he said.