Crofton, British Columbia Canada

Discovering Crofton, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Crofton, a quaint west coast town, is nestled within the District of North Cowichan on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Located east of BC Highway 1, it is approximately 74 kilometres (46 mi) north of Victoria.

The Early Settlers of Crofton, British Columbia

In the mid-1800s, several families ventured into the area, establishing homesteads, cutting timber, and farming. The 1873 incorporation of the District of North Cowichan included what would later become Crofton.

The Birth of Smelter & Village in Crofton, British Columbia

In 1900, Henry Croft purchased land at Osborne Bay for a smelter and townsite. The Northwestern Smelting and Refining Co. began construction the following year. By 1902, the village was established, the smelter opened, and Croft extended the Lenora Mt. Sicker Railway from his copper mine to Crofton. However, the smelter closed in 1903 after the company went into receivership and exhausted its ore supplies. Despite a brief reopening under new ownership, the smelter permanently closed in 1908 due to plummeting copper prices.

Logging Era in Crofton, British Columbia

During the 1910s, the Westholme Lumber Co. began hauling locally harvested logs to Crofton over the narrow gauge line. By the mid-1920s, the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway (E&N) was shipping out logs from the Osborne Bay wharf. Logging trains brought raw logs out of the bush to be barked in the water and loaded onto ships for export. Several companies, including Industrial Timbers Ltd (later British Columbia Forest Products Ltd), Western Forest Industries, and MacMillan Bloedel Lumber Co., shipped out lumber from Crofton.

The Pulp & Paper Mill of Crofton, British Columbia

The Crofton pulp and paper mill, which opened in 1957, has seen several changes in ownership. In 2004, concern about mill emissions led to a Clean Air Concert organized by Randy Bachman. The concert, which featured performances by the Barenaked Ladies, Neil Young, Tal Bachman, and Bachman himself, raised money for a study of the mill's emissions. In 2001, the mill was responsible for a layer of ash that fell upon the town, staining nearly every house. The mill owners funded the extensive cleanup of Crofton and improved the burning process in response.

The Ferry Terminal of Crofton, British Columbia

The smelter wharf was repurposed as the western terminal for the Salt Spring Island ferry service in 1955. BC Ferries operates the route daily, bringing some tourist traffic to Crofton.

Present Community of Crofton, British Columbia

Forestry and recreation have been the mainstays of the community in recent decades. In the early 1990s, the Crofton Community Centre Society created a scenic walkway along the Crofton shoreline. By 2014, all three phases of the Seawalk, stretching from the wharf and ferry terminal to Crofton Beach, were complete. In 2000, the town water supply was changed from Crofton Lake to the Cowichan River. In September 2006, Crofton was included in a regional bus network connecting to nearby Duncan and Chemainus.

Surrounding Communities of Crofton, British Columbia

Crofton is surrounded by a number of charming communities, each with its own unique attractions and history. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, there's always something new to discover in and around Crofton, British Columbia.