Friday, 14 August 2015

Cumberland ‘s Chinatown walking tour is well worth a visit

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Plaque 10 is a photo of a store and restaurant that stood here from 1918-1960
     On Tuesday, August 11 with some very warm temperatures forecast we decided to head to Comox Lake for a swim. Comox Lake is just outside of Cumberland and we had Linda Brown, a friend from Victoria in tow and she had never visited this part of the Comox Valley. Before our swim we decided to check out a walking trail that takes you through Cumberland’s historic Chinatown which lasted for 80 years from 1888 to 1968. Not much remains today but at one time this area was apparently the second largest Chinatown outside of San Francisco! The Chinese travelled  here because of the work associated with the Cumberland coal mine and nearby railroad. 

The picnic pavilion adds to the site
  The walking tour passes by 15 plaques which have a photo of what buildings used to stand in that area. The trail can easily be walked by a variety of ages and abilities since it is just a few 100 meters long along smooth gravel trails or roads. The variety of buildings that once stood here is impressive from a bakery to general store to a restaurant that once served 10 course meals and was a ticket outlet for steamship travel to China! There is even a picnic pavilion so that you can enjoy your lunch here as well. After spending about 45 minutes at the site we headed on the down the road and had a refreshing dip in Comox Lake at  Cumberland Lake Park.  For more information on Cumberland’s Chinatown see: 
Linda and Heather looking at one of the plaques along what was once Upper Street


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