Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre

Project Overview

BC Housing and the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre partnered to create 35 units of safe, affordable housing for Indigenous people and families.

view of Sanala, Kwakwaka'wakw townhouse complex in Nanaimo BC
Date of Completion

About the Project


Sanala provides 35 units of safe, affordable housing for Indigenous people and families. The townhouse complex, formerly known as King Arthur Court, was purchased by the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre with funding from BC Housing. It was renovated and renamed Sanala, Kwakwaka’wakw, which means ‘to be whole’ - socially, emotionally, physically and mentally.

One of the townhouses has been converted to a neighbourhood house, where programs and services including health care, skill building, and family and children’s activities are offered to residents and surrounding neighbourhood.

The townhouse complex is not yet completed, but it is now home to some families who were tenants of the former privately-owned building complex, where maintenance was neglected and there were issues with crime and safety.


Passivhaus on Bowen Road will provide 25 suites for youth, elders and families of the local Aboriginal community in Nanaimo. The project follows one of the world’s most efficient and green building standards.

The project highlights the goals and values of the community using the basic principles of Passive House planning and design, and incorporate design elements and resources used by Indigenous people.

The principles of Passive House Design make the building more economical and energy efficient, and reduce operating costs for the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre and tenants. The design—including orientation of the buildings, the preservation of open space, the use of materials and systems are aligned with Aboriginal culture.


This project was overseen by the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre.