Comox Sunrise at Goose Spit, Photo Destination BC Boomer Jerritt
Cumberland is a small village in the heart of the Comox Valley in North Central Vancouver Island – a favourite stop for visitors and locals alike. A jewel for the community is Cumberland Forest with awesome Douglas Fir, hemlock and red cedar and 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. A visit to the Cumberland Museum, nestled in the foothills of the Beaufort Mountains will take you through a replica coal mine, a slide presentation of historic Chinatown and more. A Heritage Walking Tour map is available. Comox Lake, surrounded by mountains and fed by a glacier, 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. Saltwater fishing for salmon, golfing, mountain biking and more are all available in the Comox Valley.
The region was originally 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 the community reverted to a quiet village. Today, it has grown again, into a dynamic tourist centre.