By Nigel Yonge and Patti Copeland
Situated just 10 kilometres north of Duncan along the waters of Osborne Bay is Crofton, yet another of Cowichan’s quaint seaside towns. Founded in 1902 by copper magnate Henry Croft, Crofton not only looks directly across to Saltspring Island, but provides you with the means to get there too. The regular ferry service to Vesuvius Bay crosses Stuart Channel, home to a boisterous population of sea lions and the occasional pod of migrating orcas. Crofton has a strong sense of community pride and participation. A great example is the Crofton Community Centre Society, a volunteer organization in existence since 1951. The society supports charitable, recreational and social programs for Crofton and the surrounding area and (among others) has been working to emphasize links to the Crofton waterfront.
Crofton’s pièce de résistance is without a doubt the newly extended Community Seawalk that begins near the Olde School House Museum (near the Saltspring Ferry terminal) and gracefully wends its way along the shoreline for just over a kilometre. (For romantic travellers, you have been duly advised.)
Stop in at the Crofton Hotel at the bottom of Joan Street for a pint, a bite to eat and some Sunday afternoon Jazz. Or, get yourself a nice cuppa joe and indulge in some of the most fabulous homebaked treats around from Amy Joe’s cafe while you sit in the park and enjoy the incredible ocean views. Local favourites also include the Brass Bell Pub, Cedrick’s and Mike’s Cafe, all within easy walking distance.
If you happen to take the scenic Osborne Bay Road (between Crofton and Herd Road), take note of the trailhead about half way along – mountain bikers and hikers can follow the trail through the totems to the very top of Maple Mountain, which affords sweeping views of Maple Bay, Genoa Bay and the Saanich Peninsula.
Needless to say, if you will be visiting Crofton, be sure to bring your walking shoes!