Collier Dam Park is a very popular park within the city boundaries of Nanaimo. It is a pretty awesome freshwater swimming spot that is big enough to take a lot of activity. The park is a dog walking park where the upper section is an off-leash area, this means off-leash not out of control. This makes it a very special place when the wife and I go walking in the park, we meet so many dogs, most of them are very well behaved and extremely friendly, we love this. One thing you notice as you wander around the trails and meet the various dog owners and their pets is that dog people are quite friendly too. The owners always seem to have time to have a conversation. This is pretty cool. In the upper section of the park, you will run into some steep sections of trail and the bridges are quite narrow.
There are 2 parking areas for the park, we always go to the one on Nanaimo Lake Road, this takes you into the bridge that is between both the dams given you a choice to walk the upper or lower section s of the park. The second parking lot and the best for those with mobility issues is accessed from Wakesiah just where it turns into Sixth Street.
Although the dams were built in 1910 by the western fuel company to send water to the coal mines where it was used to wash coal and to supply drinking water for the horses, mules, and miners that worked in the mines. The Company allowed the local residents, some who worked in the mines were allowed to hook up to the water supply eventually supplying most of the South Harewood residents with running water.
The two dams have been scheduled for removal by the Dam Safety Section of BC, there is currently a grassroots group that are trying to save the dams and keep the park a park. To find out more, please go to the Colliery Dams Preservation Society to learn more.