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Alley Sign Project

This page was last reviewed on November 30, 2023.

In recognition of the people and communities who have made Cumberland and the surrounding areas home over the years, the Cumberland Museum and Archives and Village of Cumberland have partnered on an alley naming project.

Fundraising took place in 2018 for the first phase of the project.

More about Cumberland’s history can be found in the reading room at the Cumberland Museum and Archives.

The first phase of the project recognized these names:


This name recognizes the land as the traditional territory of the K’omoks First Nation. The alley is located west of Sutton Road and leads to Porky’s Path and Rotary Orchard Park.

The Dzunuk`wa is the wild woman of the woods, similar to the Sasquatch. Big and black in color, with bushy, unkempt hair, poor eyesight and a pursed mouth through which she utters the cry Hu! Hu! She is a terrifying and threatening creature. Children fear the cry of the Dzunuk`wa. She carries a huge basket on her back in which she put disobedient children she stole, taking them to her home in the mountains to eat them. Because she is clumsy and somewhat dim-witted, children have been known to escape from her. Despite her character, she is also bringer of wealth.


Leung Alley is located north of Dunmsuir Avenue betwen Third and Second Streets, behind the Leung family store.

Leung Gang worked in the mines but after an injury changed to produce farming. In 1929, he and his wife Annie Lin Oi founded Leung Gang Co., later known as Leung’s Grocery. Annie worked in the store and Gang farmed and sold vegetables. In 1950 the business expanded with the building of the Leung Block in Courtenay and the opening of a second store.

Of their seven surviving children, John managed the Cumberland store, while his brother Norman managed the Courtenay store. John was one of the principals to start the Cumberland Museum and Archives which opened in 1981, and remained a volunteer and board member for many years. In 1992 he was Cumberland Citizen of the Year and in 2012 received the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal for outstanding volunteer community service. John was volunteer caretaker of Cumberland’s Chinese cemetery for many years.

Sister May Gee is a commercial designer and worked for E.W. Bickle Ltd. printers and for years designed the placemats for the May Queen luncheon. May also designed the original coal miner lamp logo for the Village in the 1970s. May is on the Coal Creek Historical Park advisory committee and has shared her history and knowledge to ensure the park is a place we can all respectfully enjoy.


Bannerman Alley is located near Village Park.

Dan Bannerman worked at #7, #4 and #8 Mines. He and his wife Martha and their two boys Leland and John lived in both Cumberland and Bevan. John Bannerman became one of Cumberland’s most prominent businessmen owning one half of John Cliffs, the department store that kept us clothed for
years. John and his wife Alice, nee Brown, were great community volunteers organizing Victoria Day celebrations among others. Alice was May Queen in 1931. John was a Cumberland centenarian.

John’s son Ron Bannerman was a local historian, organized tours of the area and was one of the main organizers and builders of Number 6 Mine Park. Granddaughter Kim is a novelist and set some of her amazing (if not bloodcurdling) stories in and around Cumberland.


Tobacco Alley is located west of First Street between Windermere and Ulverston Avenue.

Carolina Tobacco was the first girl born in Union Camp in 1891. “Chuna” Tobacco was one of Cumberland’s leading athletes, playing soccer for two years for a San Francisco team, and coaching basketball through the 1940s and 50s. Terry Tobacco was also an athlete – a runner. Those that knew him said he was the fastest teenager in North America in the 1950s. Terry won a bronze medal at the British Empire Games (BEG) in Vancouver in 1954, a silver in the 1956 BEG in Cardiff, Wales and was part of the Canadian team at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Terry has been inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.

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