Cumberland was founded in 1888 by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir who lived in Victoria's Craigdarroch Castle. The original settlement was named Union after the Union Coal Company but in 1898 was changed to Cumberland, as many of the local miners were from the famous English coal-mining district of Cumberland in England.
Cumberland remained an active coal mining town until 1966 and an important centre for local trade and commerce, with distinct ethnic settlements having been established. As the coal industry declined, the local population decreased, until Cumberland reverted to a quiet village. Today, it has grown into a dynamic tourist centre.
Cumberland is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 9 km (5.5 mi) southwest of Courtenay and 69 km (43 mi) north of Parksville, off Highway 19.
Visit the fascinating Cumberland Museum, nestled in the foothills of the Beaufort Mountains. Heritage tours take visitors back in time. Highlights include a walk-through replica of a coal mine, the story of labour leader/organizer Ginger Goodwin, a slide presentation of historic Chinatown, a computerized database of local family history, and guided tours of the village. A Heritage Walking Tour map is available at the museum.
During the winter, come here for alpine and nordic skiing. During the summer, there's mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, mini-golf, and camping. There are also special events every month.
Surrounded by mountains and fed by a glacier, Comox Lake has good freshwater fishing for trout and char year-round. A popular area to visit there are hiking and biking trails, a sandy beach, rock climbing areas, and boating.
Strathcona Provincial Park, designated in 1911, is the oldest provincial park in British Columbia. Located almost in the centre of Vancouver Island, Strathcona park is a rugged mountain wilderness comprising more than 250,000 hectares. Mountain peaks - some perpetually mantled with snow - dominate the park. Lakes and alpine tarns dot a landscape laced with rivers, creeks and streams. Summer in Strathcona is usually pleasantly warm, while winters are fairly mild except for the higher levels, where heavy snowfalls are the norm. Buttle Lake and vicinity and Forbidden Plateau - offer a variety of visitor-oriented developments. The rest of the park is largely undeveloped.
Cumberland Forest is located southwest of Cumberland between Comox Lake Road and Perseverance Creek. It is a forest of Douglas Fir, hemlock and red cedar and a jewel for the community of Cumberland, often used for mushroom picking, walking, hiking and mountain biking. Naturalists visit for the tranquility, the songbirds, sword ferns, salal and Saskatoon berry bushes that line the trails through the forest.
Some of the best saltwater fishing on the island, particularly for salmon, can be found in the waters of the Strait of Georgia north of the Puntledge River Estuary between Courtenay and Comox, and off Cape Lazo, King Coho, and Bates Beach, south of Black Creek. Because of its sheltered location and an absence of dangerous currents, the shoreline around Comox is well suited for rod fishing in a small boat. Shore angling for salmon is popular in Comox Bay from August to November. The closer you get to Campbell River, the better the salmon fishing becomes. Tidal flows in Discovery Passage churn up clouds of nutrients that sustain a complex food chain, which includes, near the top, tasty salmon.
The Comox Golf Club is a championship nine hole golf course located in the heart of picturesque downtown Comox. Beautifully conditioned fairways and well-maintained greens offer both challenge and reward - an exciting combination for golfers of all levels. Longlands Golf Course is an 18 hole par 3 challenging golf course, perfect for beginners. Other nearby golf courses include Storey Creek Golf Course and Sequoia Springs Golf Club in Campbell River, and Crown Isle Golf and Country Club in Courtenay.
Mountain bikers come here from all over the Pacific Northwest to experience the single-track trails that wind around the village. Members of the local mountain biking community have built many kilometres of bike trails through the Cumberland forests, and sanctioned local mountain bike races are frequently held here.
Hike along the many wooded trails in the area, many offering stunning scenery. With Cumberland being so close to Strathcona Park, there is no shortage of hiking possibilities in the area. Boston Ridge Trail is a good 13 km (8 mi) circle day hike up and over Boston Ridge and up to Mount Becher north of Comox Lake, with some marvellous views.
Discover Comox Valley
Visitor Information Centre
101 - 3607 Small Road
Toll Free: 1-855-400-2882
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia