The original Nanaimo-Opoly, manufactured by Calgaryopoly Games, Inc., in partnership with the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. (RON DALE art/submitted photo)

COLUMN: Harbour City all fun and games in Nanaimo-Opoly

New version doesn’t have a lot of similarities to chamber of commerce’s original version

In Nanaimo-Opoly, it’s easy to build a new downtown hotel.

This summer saw the release of a Harbour City version of Monopoly, one of the best-selling-board games of all time. Victoria’s Outset Media Games created Nanaimo-Opoly in partnership with Walmart Canada and sent the News Bulletin a couple of copies for a giveaway that proved popular with readers.

When the game was released, we in the newsroom scanned the board with interest, curious to see which properties were the most expensive and least expensive (Downtown Nanaimo and the Dinghy Dock Pub, respectively) and which streets and businesses made the cut and which didn’t. Four streets are on the board: Bowen Road, Commercial Street, Front Street, and in something of a surprise, Comox Road. And only five businesses: the Dinghy Dock, the Oxy Pub, Lighthouse Bistro, White Sails Brewing, and, as a bit of an outlier, Regard Coffee Roasters.

RELATED: Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Readers didn’t really debate the board layout; rather, there were a few comments disparaging our fair city.

“I’m wondering if you can put up tents on other people’s property,” posted one reader.

But it was something else that a few readers pointed out that caught my attention: this is by no means the first-ever edition of Nanaimo-Opoly. Residents recalled that back in the late ’90s, the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the creation of a Nanaimo-Opoly game as a fundraiser.

Former chamber executive director Joan Hiemstra sent me photos of her copy of that game, and it’s a hoot. The chamber sold spaces on the board, and so every square is business that participated in that initiative. I was glad to see the Nanaimo News Bulletin featured, right in between Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating Ltd. and Tom Harris Cellular.

The most expensive ‘property’ in the original Nanaimo-Opoly is Tiah Workman Notary Public, and the least expensive is Nicol Street U-Brew. And you don’t just pass go, collect $200 – you “Go to Fitzwilliam Gate, for fashion, food, unique gifts and more.”

The only two ‘properties’ that can be found on both versions of the game are Woodgrove Centre and Malaspina University-College/Vancouver Island University.

Both versions have localized ‘chance’ and ‘community chest’ equivalents.

“You ate too many oysters at Lighthouse Bistro. Lose one turn,” reads one of the cards in the new game, while the old game laments, “While having lunch with Mayor Gary Korpan, you spill some coffee on him. Pay $20 dry cleaning bill.”

Sadly, neither edition offers Nanaimo-specific tokens such as a Bastion, Nanaimo bar or bathtub, nor any of the reader-suggested tokens, some of them drug paraphernalia, which I won’t detail here. In any case, casting playing pieces would have made producing the game cost-prohibitive, Outset told me.

As the years have gone by, Monopoly has managed to retain its status as a classic game, and is still nearly as much fun as you remember. Nanaimo-Opoly takes Monopoly’s best attributes and adds a little bit of local flair.

There probably aren’t too many board games that can be localized, due to pesky trademark laws, so it’s doubtful we’ll get to sit down anytime soon for a Game of Life: Nanaimo edition, or Settlers of Nanan.

No, Nanaimo isn’t all fun and games. But isn’t it kind of nice to know that on family board game night, it can be?



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo hotel tax set to go up

Hospitality association lays out five-year plan for tourism in Nanaimo

Tour de Rock ready to start making its way down Vancouver Island

Tour de Rock takes place Sept. 21 to Oct. 4

Public meeting will explore ideas to battle addiction and crime in Nanaimo

Organizers call for treatment centres, accountability for crimes, citizens’ task force

VIU students empowered to ‘shift the vote’ this election

VIU Students’ Union, B.C. Federation of Students launch ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates ‘disappointed’ with prime minister over blackface

Situation a ‘nightmare’ for Trudeau and the Liberals, says VIU professor

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo athletes earn gold, silver, bronze at 55-Plus B.C. Games

Huge contingent of local participants competed in largest-ever 55-Plus B.C. Games in Kelowna

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s infamous lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

Most Read