Walk with us  through the 23-hectare Buttertubs Marsh. Look out over the shallow water of the marsh, see the cattail and hardhack, the red-osier dogwood and common mares tail, densely packed throughout.

A great blue heron flies low over the water and settles on the branches of a willow tree. In the distance, hear the honking calls of trumpeter swans.

On a log floating in the water, observe several painted turtles basking in the sun. Tread carefully near the adjacent sandy beach in case these endangered reptiles have laid their eggs in holes in the sand.

Walk to the larger and deeper Millstone River and spot a beaver chewing on a fallen tree and river otters splashing in the water. Be amazed at how much wildlife has managed to thrive here despite being in the heart of the city of Nanaimo.


  • Buttertubs Marsh is 23 hectares and was purchased between 1975 and 1979 as an early project to conserve a freshwater marsh in the urban area of Nanaimo. The property is now visited by many to experience and connect with nature.
  • Buttertubs Marsh contains four distinct habitat types: marsh and shallow water, Millstone River and riparian area, marsh shoreline and riparian area and vegetated upland.
  • Buttertubs Marsh is home to many at-risk species, including Red-listed purple Martin and Blue-listed trumpeter swan, American bittern, great blue heron, green heron, turkey vulture, short-eared owl and painted turtle.