Monday, September 17, 2018

Crofton ~ Cowichan Valley ~ BC

Crofton, BC is a small seaside town hidden from the busy highway traffic on Vancouver Island.  This allows for a quiet picturesque place that we’ve enjoyed in the past as well as again this summer.  Work brought us here in 1999 and we parked our RV at Osborne Bay RV Park then and here we are again to see our grandson play lacrosse in the BC Summer Games being held in the Cowichan Valley!  The park hasn’t changed but the most amazing thing was that we were still in their computer system!

Ferry at Osborne Bay, BC
We had a great view of the BC ferry docks from our RV spot, and were able to watch it come and go to Salt Spring Island.  Previous to 1955, this ferry dock was a smelter wharf and also used for shipping logs out of the area before becoming the dock for BC Ferries.

Shoreline on Osborne Bay
The RV Park sits right on the water of Osborne Bay, which can be seen to have black sand.  This was said to be due to the residue left over from the smelter which was founded in 1902.  This smelter closed in 1908 and Crofton became a dying town until the railway was brought in by the early 1930’s and that was when the Osborne Bay Wharf was originally built.  The town of Crofton is now the site of a pulp and paper mill which opened in 1957 and continues today.

Crofton Community Seawalk
Crofton celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2002 with the completion of phase one of the seawalk.  The Crofton Community Centre Society had planned this project for quite some time and by 2014, all three phases, a distance of over one kilometre, had been completed.  It makes for a great walk and is used by many.

Museum at Crofton, BC
The museum borders the little park that sits overlooking the water.  It was the original school that was built in 1905 and used until a new one was built in 1950 and it became an annex to that school.  In 1985 it was moved down the hill to this location where it was restored and became the museum.  I spent some time in there talking with a very interesting volunteer.  He was not a local pioneer but had been here a long while and knew his history.

Saltspring Island
The ferry terminal being in Crofton, continues to attract a lot of tourists on their way to Saltspring Island with some staying to enjoy time in Crofton, also.  This ferry will cross over to the village of Vesuvius, a twenty minute ride.  We went for a great fish and chip dinner at the busy restaurant over there.  On these beautiful days, we are able to see this location from our RV Park.

Osborne Bay RV Park
We are crossing the Southern Stuart Channel heading back over to Crofton on the ferry.  This channel was named after Captain Charles Stuart who was in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Co. post in Nanaimo in the mid 1800’s.  We can see the Osborne Bay RV Park, our home for the week and the spit which offers moorage for boats of the guests.

Maple Bay
We sure did time our visit nicely for weather, summers are beautiful on Vancouver Island, .  We took several drives on the country roads leading us down to the water and so many marinas.  This is Maple Bay, just south of Osborne Bay on the Stuart Channel, too.  We ran out of time for seeing them all but there could be another visit in the future.

Genoa Bay
Genoa Bay was at the end of this road and the home of so many large boats, boat garages, and several floating homes.  The marina includes a cafĂ© with a very great sounding menu with local seafood that make ones mouth water just thinking about it.  Genoa Bay feels like the kind of place one would want to spend time in if you were a boater or sailor.

Cowichan River

We drove out to Cowichan Bay and Youbou to see their sights.  There weren’t too many opportunities to see the water, with homes and trees along most of the water.  On our way we saw a sign showing there was the Skutz Falls on the Cowichan River so we decided to include that on our tour.  We did take the long way around, signage not the best but finally found the parking lot and walked across the bridge and saw some sunbathers floating down the slight slope of ‘falls’. Research after our visit says there is a fish ladder beside Skutz Falls so it turns out that we weren’t looking at the Falls at all, and in my disappointment I thought it was just low water issues! 

To see more of our travels on Vancouver Island, click here.  And more here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fort Langley to Webster's Corners, BC

A visit to the picturesque town of Fort Langley is like a flashback in time.  It is the home of the Fort Langley National Historical Site and the buildings are of historic heritage.  New ones must also build to those qualifications.  

Fort Langley storefronts
The Hudson Bay Company established a fur trading post near this location and was the first to bring business here.  By 1830, it had become a major export port.  The destination for the salted salmon in barrels made from Douglas Fir, plus cedar lumber and shingles was the Hawaiian Islands.

Fort Langley Historic Site of Railroad Station
The Fort Langley Railroad station is at the heart of the town and is the home of the museum and a gift store.  It also has a rail car and caboose that can be visited.  The volunteers of the Langley Heritage Society put a lot of time restoring and managing this historic site and that shows with the lovely grounds and displays that are seen.

Gasoline Alley
There is no lack of independent businesses with eighty of them lining the tree lined streets.  There is such a variety to choose from, unique stores as well as services and restaurants.  No chain stores are to be found in Fort Langley.

Tree lined Glover Road
A major sawmill opened in 1921 and it pulled the area out of a very long struggle with years of the threat of invasions, Gold Rush days and the arrival of the railway early twentieth century that removed the jobs of the port.   These Horse Chestnut trees were planted along Glover Rd., the main entrance to Fort Langley in 1921 and still stand strong and welcoming after nearly 100 years.

Community Hall and Library
The Fort Langley Women’s Institute founded the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society in 1924 in order to build their Community Center.  This grand building was completed in 1932 as the Community Hall and is well used to this day.  It has been featured in several film and television series.

Stately home of history
I wasn’t able to learn any history about this building which is home to a business now, but it is very stately looking and I could not resist showing this beauty.  It would likely have been the home of one of the wealthier families in the town!

Bedford Channel at Fort Langley
The Bedford Channel separates the mainland from McMillan Island, which is accessible by the Jacob Haldi Bridge from Fort Langley.  We started over hoping to see the old ferry terminal that would take passengers to Albion on the other side of the Fraser River, but hadn’t realized that it was no longer accessible since the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge in 2009.

Albion Ferry Landing
We then crossed over the Golden Ears Bridge to find the museum of Maple Ridge.  A lot of the Webster family history is recorded here but not accessible to us without an appointment so after a short tour of the museum, we went onto find Albion, another family connection.  It is now a very industrial area as well as a Fisheries and Oceans branch. 

Webster's Corners School
Webster’s Corners was named after the pioneer James Webster who is Keith’s great grandfather.  There is very little to mark the corner on Dewdney Trunk or the history that would come with it other than the school built on the corner that carries that name.

Mt. Baker
I have a hard time bypassing snow covered mountains without taking several photos.  This is Mt. Baker, which sits just across the border into Washington State and can be seen in the distance in the photo taken at the old Albion Ferry landing.


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