Cumberland is a village
of ~2,800 people in the Comox Valley
of Vancouver Island
, in British Columbia
. It is located 200m above sea level, at the base of the Beaufort Mountains
, borders on Strathcona Park
, and is beside Comox Glacier
, Comox Lake
and near the Inland Island Highway
. The village is 9km from Courtenay
; 45km south of Campbell River
, and 105km north of Nanaimo
In 1853, there was the discovery of coal in the region by one J.W. Mackay. In 1864, Commander Robert Brown started up a coal extraction company, called Union Company, which gave the eventual encampment the name Union. Attempts to mine the area largely failed until, in 1883, Robert Dunsmuir & Sons bought up the company, invested some $500,000 in developing the mining and transport infrastructure in Union Bay. In 1892, Cumberland was developed by James Dunsmuir (one of the sons), east of Union, and named (along with its streets) after the county in England.
In 1898, Cumberland was incorporated. Because of the danger inherent in mining, many Chinese and Japanese people were hired to do the work. In 1914, Cumberland had the largest Chinese settlement north of San Francisco. There remains but one structure from the Chinatown, this being Jumbo's Cabin. Cumberland continued to be predominantly a coal-mining town until 1947, when Leduc, Alberta began producing oil more cheaply than coal. In 1958, Cumberland reincorporated as a village, and it closed its last mine, the Tsable River Mine, in 1966. Since 1990, Cumberland has been served by the Comox Valley bus system, administered by BC Transit. The two local newspapers are the Comox Valley Record, and the Comox Valley Echo.
Cumberland is filled with heritage homes, and is surrounded by trails used by hikers and mountain bikers. There is an elemetary school (K-6), and a junior secondary school (7-9), but all students in grade 10 and above are sent to Courtenay, BC.
As far as municipal politics go, the village is governed by a mayor (Frederick George Bates) and four councillors (Leslie Linda Baird, Gwyn Sproule, Leona Castle, and Carol Anne Snaden), each elected to serve three-year terms. The Member of the Legislative Assembly for the village (and surrounding areas) is Stan Hagen, and the Member of Parliament is John Duncan.
Robert Dunsmuir, coal baron.
Albert "Ginger" Goodwin, (1887-1918) United Mine Workers labour organizer.