Crofton is a small town located between Nanaimo and Duncan British Columbia with a population of 1,373 (2016). This small coastal town is situated on the calm waters of Osbourne Bay in the Cowichan Valley. The small BC Ferry terminal located in town takes you over to Vesuvius Bay on Saltspring Island. The seawalk is a great way to explore Osbourne Bay Regional Park, pack a picnic lunch and explore the nearby Maple Mountain Centennial Park, Mt. Richards and Mt. Prevost.
Fishing and Clamming are available within Osbourne Bay as well as great freshwater fishing in nearby lakes such as Quamichan Lake, Somenos Lake, and Fuller Lake. Saltwater fishing is said to be fantastic in the Sansum Narrows between Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island. There are boat launches in Crofton and Maple Bay.
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.
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.
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