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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Cumberland

Cumberland
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 and Comox.

Robert Dunsmuir
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 Railway.

Mine Disasters
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.

Chinese Miners
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.

Information Kiosks
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.

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.

The 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.

Mountain Biking
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 Dunsmuir Avenue.

Boston Ridge Trail
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.

Cumberland Festivals
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.

Cumberland 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.

Local Accommodation
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 Stansbury’s Guest House which is located a block away from downtown Cumberland.

Information on Cumberland

 

 

click map for larger image
click map for larger image

 

Dunsmuir Avenue
Dunsmuir Avenue

 

Ginger Goodwin Stop of Interest
Ginger Goodwin - Stop of Interest

 

Post Office
Post Office

 

Comox Lake
Comox Lake

 

Cumberland Cultural Centre and Museum
Cumberland Cultural Centre and Museum

 

Waverley Pub Cumberland
Waverley Pub

 

Cumberland Brewing
Cumberland Brewing

 

 

 
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