"Cumberland is "Dodge City""
Cumberland is situated in the low hills of Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. It is about three hours north of Victoria.
The Weather in Comox Valley is great. Even in winter. Although Cumberland is high enough up in the hills that it actually some times snows.
The three primary communities in Comox Valley are Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland. Denman and Hornby Island are in close proximity. A person could take advantage of municipal buses and government sponsored ferries to cover much of the region.
In the spring there are apple trees in bloom, cherry trees, red hot poker plants, flowering scotch broom, daffodils, wild flowers and more. The large trees and old growth are all long gone. The forest is second, even third generation.
Settlers arrived in the Comox Valley area circa 1868. Soon after, Robert Dunsmuir opened a coal mine in Cumberland. He named his company Union Coal because he planned to sell the coal to the American Union Railways.
Union Coal was a vibrant enterprise that attracted workers from around the world. A railroad ran from Cumberland to Union Bay where the coal was shipped to San Francisco.
Robert Dunsmuir became fantastically wealthy from the enterprise. He went on to become British Columbia's Premier and then Governor.
"The History of Mankind is the History of the Class Struggle" stated Karl Marx. And Cumberland has had more than it's fail share of workforce strife and strikes. At the edge of the community is a large tombstone. It has a red hammer and cycle on it. It says:
LEST WE FORGET
HERE LIES GINGER GOODWIN SHOT JUNE 26, 1918
A WORKERS FRIEND
In it's heyday, Cumberland boasted the largest China Town in Canada; The second largest in North America. Cumberlland also had a Japanese Town and a Black Town. The Japanese-Canadians were removed from Vancouver Island by the Canadian government in 1942.
There are very few asians or persons of asian descent who live in Cumberalnd today. But at the edge of town, not far from the grave of Ginger Goodwin is the Buddhist Cemetary. This cemetary was for Chinese, Japanese and other Buddhists. It is well maintained, shadded by huge trees.
The coal mines closed in the late 50's. Many of the people left. The pit mouths were buried, the railway and the mine buildings disassembled.
Cumberland has become a quite quaint little town nestled in the woods. A quaint little town with a vibrant biker culture, four bars (The Legion, The King George, The Waverly and the Cumberland) and that reputation of a boom town gone bust; A town that the locals call "Dodge City".