The Village of Cumberland is located 50 km (30 miles) north of Qualicum
Beach and 40 km (25 miles) south of Campbell
River just off Hwy 19. Cumberland is situated in the Comox Valley
and neighbours the communities of Courtenay
Cumberland history was marked by coal mining, which was established
in the local vicinity operating between 1888 and 1966. One of British
Columbia's wealthiest men during the late 1800's, Robert Dunsmuir,
was first given the lease by the coal mines around Cumberland and
other areas on Vancouver Island to service the demand coming from
the Royal Navy and the City of San Francisco from the port at Union
Bay. Robert Dunsmuir is also famous for his residence at the
time, Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria,
and as one of the industrialists that formed the Esquimalt and Nanaimo
Although the mines provided much-needed employment in the Comox
Valley, they also created tragedy within the community. Cumberland
experienced various mine disasters throughout the years causing
numerous deaths. You can view several cairns made up of river rock
plaques describing the mine disasters located throughout the community
and the historic graveyard situated just off Hwy 19 travelling towards
Courtenay that has a 'Stop of Interest' sign celebrating the life
of Ginger Goodwin, one of the leaders who was killed during a 1912-1914
mine workers strike.
Many of these men working in the mines were from Chinese and Japanese
ancestry giving Cumberland a very high Asian population at the end
of the 19th century, creating a large demand for types of goods
and services. At the time, Cumberland had the highest Chinese population
in North America, except for San Francisco.
If you want, there are various information kiosks regarding the
Chinese miners near the museum. They are well set up displaying
various photos of the period plus informative descriptions. Also,
there are several kiosk signs depicting the Japanese settlements
located on the road to Comox Lake.
Cumberland sits near a large glacier-fed lake called Comox Lake
that is located only about 5 to 10 minutes away towards the west.
Comox Lake offers various opportunities with the appropriate fishing
licence for angling in the fishing holes found along the shoreline
for Cutthroat and Rainbow trout, Char, Dolly Varden and Kokanee
salmon. You can find a well-made free concrete boat launch that
can allow you to launch fairly large vessels. Fishing is usually
the best from April to June or September and October. From the wharf,
there are beautiful views of the foothills that climb up into Strathcona
Provincial Park where you can find numerous hiking trails.
Cumberland Museum & Archives
One place in Cumberland you'll want to visit is the Cumberland Museum
& Archives situated on Dunsmuir Avenue. On display are Chinese
heritage articles, archives, old photos, a telephone equipment collection
which was built by B.C. Tel Pioneers, now retirees of Telus, are
all on display in one of Cumberland's most unique building.
There are a couple of good mountain bike trails in the area. Unfortunately
though, due to housing developments, a lot of the trails are slowly
disappearing. If you want directions, advice or help plus to get
a map of the trails system, go to Dodge City Cycles situated on
For hikers, a real favourite trail is the one up into Boston Ridge
following Boston Creek. From here you can obtain amazing scenic
views through open rock outcrops out to the lowlands surrounding
Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland.
Happening on the May Victoria Day long weekend are the annual Empire
Days which celebrate Cumberland's British heritage and the Queen's
birthday featuring a Washoe Tournament. Then there is Miners Memorial
Day which recognizes the working-class background regarding the
history of the Village. For the younger crowd, a new festival called
The Big Time Out features electronic music as the main theme.
Lake Park Campground
Cumberland Lake Park Campground is located only 3 km (2 miles) west
of the Village of Cumberland. This campground features 50 very nice
quiet campsites with full hookups, a safe beach available situated
next to Comox Lake. Cumberland Lake Park also offers you a beautiful
sandy beach on Comox Lake and some nice hiking trails located nearby.
Other places to stay include a great little guesthouse called The
Riding Fool Hostel. Located in an old heritage building that was
built in 1895, The Riding Fool Hostel offers an inexpensive way
for you to enjoy Cumberland and the nearby ski resort of Mount Washington.
Other accommodation includes a favourite called Stansburys
Guest House which is located a block away from downtown Cumberland.