Posted on May 5, 2010
Island Profile: Crofton
Whomever was responsible for coining the phrase “blink and you’ll miss it” surely must have visited the sleepy town of Crofton at some point or another. A near-hidden part of the Cowichan Valley, Crofton is home to just 2,500 people.
Photos: Rick McCharles on Flickr
Situated directly across the water from Vesuvius on Saltspring Island, Crofton hugs the shores of the Georgia Strait about half-way between Chemainus and Duncan. Largely driven and economically stabilized by the local forest industry, Crofton is home to one of Vancouver Island’s largest pulp and paper mills.
Map: Google Maps
This is one town that’s always latched on to a soft spot in my heart. I spent many summers as a teenager and in my very early 20s working at Camp Qwanoes, a sprawling year-round retreat over-looking the water. In fact, I can’t tell you how many scoops of Island Farms ice cream I tucked into hand-made waffle cones at Ice Cream Island (pictured below).
Photo: Studio 3
While the area of Crofton was scarcely populated by First Nations people, the area saw great growth in the mid-1800s around Osborne Bay by settlers drawn to local mining opportunities. Mt. Sicker had abundant copper, a prospect that an Australian man by the name of Henry Croft could not deny. Though the town’s population plummeted when copper prices did the same, Crofton was already established by local forestry and fishing, preventing the town from becoming a ghost town.
Photo: Gypsy and The Fool on Flickr
View to Crofton from Saltspring Island
Photo: diffuse on Flickr (used with permission)
Today the community of Crofton is truly as quiet and tranquil as the waves that lap its shoreline. A handful of parks, a small community school, tree-lined streets where children ride bikes and locally-run shops all add to the town’s charm.
Photo: RobertCiavarro on Flickr
Photo: Satoru Kikuchi on Flickr
Though not particularly known as a tourist hot spot, ferry access to Saltspring Island brings many travelers through Crofton in the summer months. Golfing at one of the several courses nearby, a hike on Maple Mountain, beach-combing on serene and deserted beaches, a picnic at Osborne Bay Park or a visit to the Old School House Museum are all ways to fill a day in Crofton.
Photo: RobertCiavarro on Flickr
Photo: James R. Page on Flickr (used with permission)
Both Photos: thorinside on Flickr
Some of my most favourite memories of summers spent here involve simply laying on the dock for hours on end and marveling at the stars. Simple? Yes. Breathtaking? Absolutely.
Photo: Gypsy and The Fool on Flickr.
If a visit to Crofton is on your itinerary this summer, finding your way there is easy. On the stretch of Highway 1 between Ladysmith and Duncan, watch for the signs. If north-bound, turn right on to Mt. Sicker Road; turn left if you’re south-bound. A quick left on Westholme Road will lead you to Crofton Road, the quickest route into town. For more information on tourism in Crofton, please visit the Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce.
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