It is that time again!  The Coldest Night of the Year will soon be here!

What is the event:

Coldest Night of the Year is a Canada wide walk and fundraiser, aimed to help people come together in community and think about issues of homelessness and precarious housing.  Held every year in February (usually the coldest month in most parts of Canada) it is intended to allow participants to experience a very small sliver of what it is like to be in the cold and the elements (and on Vancouver Island, the rain!)

This year’s event is slated to take place on Saturday, February 26th

In every community that participates in a Coldest Night event, the coordination is spearheaded by one local agency that works in support of people who have experienced homelessness.  Island Crisis Care Society has had the honor to take on that role for the past 11 years in Nanaimo, and the last 8  in Oceanside/Parksville.  This makes us the cheerleader for our communities, the organizer of the day, and the implementer of funds received from the walk and fundraising.

The theme for 2022 is “No place like home”, with the imagery of a packing box.  Why a packing box?  Lots of reasons.  Many of us know what it means to move homes – but what if we had to put everything we owned into just one box, and carry it to…?  It is a powerful reminder of how lucky we are if we really have a home.

What is special this year?

Last year, the Coldest Night event went fully virtual, in respect for the realities of COVID-19 across Canada and across the world.  Here in Nanaimo and Oceanside, we were not sure what to expect.  Having a ‘virtual event’ – allowing participants to walk on their own time and their own route any time during February – seemed like a stretch. Would anyone participate? Would it be a success?

Wow, were we surprised!  Not only did we see more participation than ever before, CNOY Nanaimo exceeded our fundraising goal by a whopping 20 % and Oceanside also exceeded expectations!  What we realized is that even when we couldn’t get together in person, people care about one another and really want to make a difference in our community.

So, this year, while we are still hoping to have an in person event, we are also offering the additional option for people who feel more comfortable not being part of a group to walk on their own or in small teams any time in the month of February.  They will still sign up and/or join a team, and fundraise as per usual, but have the chance to be flexible in how they do their walk.

Those who prefer to participate on the actual day can join the collective event and walk on the afternoon of Saturday, February 26th, 2022, where a 2 km and a 5 km route will be laid out – in Nanaimo starting and ending in Maffeo Sutton Park, and in Parksville starting and ending  in Parksville Community Park.

How can I become involved?

Coldest Night of the Year is a community event, but it is also a fundraiser.  Participants and supporters must register in advance at: OR to set a fundraising goal, decide if they will walk in person or virtually, and be set up to receive more information about the event and the good works that it will support in Nanaimo.

Participants who fundraise $150 or more ($75 for children and youth aged 17 and under) with receive an iconic CNOY toque – this year’s is bright yellow with a rainbow patch, denoting the sunshine and hope despite the winter’s cold.

We are also seeking sponsors for the event – local businesses who want to step up and make a change for their community.  Contact us at to inquire.


Take part – and challenge others to join in as well to make a difference! 

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