The ship was built in 1964 by Victoria Machinery Depot. In 1974 the ship was rebuilt and extended 25 meters in length. It currently operates on the Tsawwassen-Gulf Islands route web. In 2006 there was a major overhaul of passenger areas. Its propulsion is by two Mirrlees National KVSSM twin turbocharged (intercooled) single acting 4 stroke, V16 diesel engines which produce 3,000 bhp (2,200 kW) at 320 rpm. 15 inch bore by 18-inch (460 mm) stroke. Propellers are variable pitch (controllable pitch propeller) made by KaMeWa (a Rolls Royce company).
On August 3, 2010 the Queen of Nanaimo had a "hard landing" at the Village Bay terminal ferry on Mayne Island. Media reports suggest at least one serious injury, and damage to vessel and dock. It was later established that it was caused by a mechanical failure after the ship ran over a commercial crab trap, making it impossible to put the ship into reverse.
On July 1, 2011, the Queen of Nanaimo had another "hard landing" at the Tsawwassen terminal.
On November 2, 2013, the ship was pushed off course at Mayne Island after hitting severe weather. It damaged a private dock, and no one was injured.