Cradled by verdant hillsides and surrounding mountains, the active community of Crofton is situated on the calm waters of Osborne Bay in the Cowichan Valley.
The original townsite of Osborne Bay was homesteaded by a handful of families in the mid-1800s. The pioneers farmed land and timber claims granted by the government of the day. Then, just before the turn of the century, a chain of events reshaped the town forever.
Australian-born Henry Croft, a lumber and mining magnate, had developed the prosperous Lenora mine at nearby Mount Sicker. By 1902, his mine was producing more ore than railway cars could load and haul away to the Ladysmith and Nanaimo ports. Inspired by significant profits, Croft bought the townsite to build a copper smelter and house his workers.
The town prospered until world copper prices plummeted, causing the closure of the mine in 1908. The miners struggled to find work in the logging and fishing industries until 1956, when a large pulp and paper mill was built on the outskirts of town, attracted by Crofton’s deep-sea port.
These days, this friendly forestry community offers quiet parks, comfortable accommodation and a host of family activities, such as golfing, swimming, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing. If this sounds too strenuous, you can just relax in Osborne Bay and watch the sun rise over Saltspring Island.
Crofton is central to Victoria and Nanaimo, and with ferry access to Saltspring Island, Crofton is a great place from which to base your south island activities.
Location: Crofton is located off the Trans-Canada Highway 1, on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, 5 miles (8 km) north of Maple Bay, and 7 miles (11 km) south of Chemainus. Crofton can be reached by taking the scenic drive from Maple Bay Road to Herd Road, and Herd Road to Osborne Bay Road.