Crofton, British Columbia

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Crofton
Community
Location of Crofton in British Columbia
Location of Crofton in British Columbia
Coordinates: 48°51′49.8″N 123°38′44.6″W / 48.863833°N 123.645722°W / 48.863833; -123.645722Coordinates: 48°51′49.8″N 123°38′44.6″W / 48.863833°N 123.645722°W / 48.863833; -123.645722
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
RegionVancouver Island
Regional districtCowichan Valley Regional District
MunicipalityNorth Cowichan
Population
 (2016)
 • Total1,373[1]
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
Postal Codes
V0R 1R0

Crofton, British Columbia, is a small coastal town that is part of the District of North Cowichan on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The town has a population of 1,373 people as of 2016. It is about 74 km north of Victoria. The town was establish in 1902 to accommodate a smelter for the copper being mined at nearby Mount Sicker, and was named after Henry Croft, the mine owner. The worldwide drop in copper prices in 1907 (the Panic of 1907) saw the smelter shut down in 1908, and the town slowed down. A pulp and paper mill was built in town in 1956, giving new life to the town. Crofton also houses a BC Ferries terminal to Salt Spring Island.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

In the 19th century, the area was cleared and settled by several homesteaders.[2] They farmed the land and cut lumber, as provided by the government. In 1873, what would become Crofton was incorporated as the District of North Cowichan.

Founding of the town[edit]

Henry Croft, founder of Crofton

Crofton was founded in 1902 by Henry Croft, who owned the nearby copper mine in Mount Sicker. He built a smelter on the coast and exported the refined copper. In 1906 Henry Croft sold the smelter to Britannia Mine.[3] The smelter closed in January 1908, and soon after, rumours began that a large sawmill would be built. Nothing came of the rumours, and when Henry Croft died in 1917, his namesake was struggling to survive.[4]

After the smelter[edit]

In the late 1920s and early 1930s a railway was brought in from the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway Line to Crofton, and the Osbourne Bay Wharf was built. Logging trains brought raw logs out of the bush to be barked in the water and loaded on ships for export. Lumber was also shipped out of there by Industrial Timbers Ltd (later to become British Columbia Forest Products Ltd), Western Forest Industries & MacMillan Bloedel Lumber Co.

In the mid-1950s, British Columbia Forest Products Ltd. saw the potential of the area with its deep sea wharf, stable workforce and abundance of lumber, and began construction of a pulp and paper mill in 1956, Crofton Mill. The mill opened in December 1957, and continues to operate today.[when?] BCFP sold out to Fletcher Challenge in the late 1980s, who owned it until 2001. The mill was purchased by Norwegian company Norske Skog and subsequently by Catalyst Paper in 2006. On March 18 2019, Paper Excellence Canada (PEC) announced it had acquired Catalyst Paper Corporation, including the Crofton mill.[when?] [5]

In 2001 a layer of ash fell upon the town, staining nearly every house. The ash was determined to be a result of improper burning at the mill. Due to its fault in the incident, the mill owners paid the expenses for the extensive cleanup of Crofton and improved the burning process.[citation needed]

In 1955 the smelter wharf was converted to a ferry dock and service to Salt Spring Island began. BC Ferries operates the route daily.

Seawalk[edit]

Early in the 1990s the Crofton Community Centre Society decided to create a scenic walkway along the Crofton shoreline. In 2002, Crofton's 100th anniversary, phase one of the seawalk was completed. As of 2014 all three phases are completed. The seawalk stretches from the wharf and ferry terminal to Crofton Beach, a distance of over one kilometre.

Modern day[edit]

Crofton remains a small town after 100 years of existence. In 2000 the town water supply was changed from Crofton Lake to the Cowichan River.[6]

In September 2006 Crofton was included in a regional bus system connecting it to nearby Duncan and Chemainus. Prior to this the only public transportation was a bus between Victoria and Nanaimo without regional stops.

Because of the location of a BC Ferries terminal, Crofton continues to attract a small number of tourists each year, mostly on their way to Saltspring Island.

Concern about mill emissions prompted a Clean Air Concert on September 17, 2004, organized by Randy Bachman, to raise money for a study of those emissions. Among the groups participating in the concert were the Barenaked Ladies, Neil Young, Tal Bachman, and Randy Bachman himself. It was staged in nearby Duncan, which held the only venue suitable for the concert.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Census Profile, 2016 Census - Crofton Population centre, British Columbia and British Columbia Province
  2. ^ Crofton, British Columbia Official Website Archived 2006-11-11 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Montgomery, Georgina (2009). The Cowichan : Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and Region: Including Cobble Hill, Cowichan Bay, Cowichan Lake and communities, Crofton, Glenora, Maple Bay, Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake. Madeira Park, British Columbia: Harbour Publishing. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-55017-490-8.
  4. ^ Francis, Daniel, ed. (2000). Encyclopedia of British Columbia. Madeira Park, British Columbia: Harbour Publishing. ISBN 1-55017-200-X.
  5. ^ https://www.paperexcellence.com/post/paper-excellence-canada-welcomes-catalyst-paper
  6. ^ Water Supply | Cowichan Valley Regional District
  7. ^ Montgomery. The Cowichan. p. 114.

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Surrounding communities[edit]