This page was last reviewed on March 21, 2023.
Following are the buildings, structures and cultural landscapes currently on Cumberland’s Community Heritage Register. Click on the property name for more information and to view the Statement of Significance.
Coal Creek Historic Park
Comox Lake Road
Coal Creek Park provides a record of the once-vibrant and self-sufficient Chinese and Japanese Canadian communities of Cumberland, and their strong ties to coal mining and railway building. Once extensive communities, Cumberland’s Chinatown was the largest in Canada towards the end of World War I, and its Japanese community the largest on Vancouver Island until internment in 1942. The Park is both a significant heritage site and a nature reserve of ecological significance.
Fan House, No. 5 Mine
West end of Penrith Avenue
Built: Late 1800s
The fan house at No. 5 mine provides industrial archaeological remains of the coal mining industry that was fundamental to the growth of Cumberland. The fan house housed a giant fan that provided essential ventilation for the miners to breathe and removed dangerous gases from the mine.
Cumberland United Church
2688 Penrith Avenue
Cumberland United Church was constructed in 1895 as one of four original churches built along ‘Church Row’ on Penrith Avenue. The exterior has undergone many changes that reflect the practical considerations of the parish, including reduction of the original spire. The United Church has served as a community church continuously for over 125 years, and is one of the last functioning churches in the village.
Ilo Ilo Theatre
2691 Dunsmuir Avenue
Built: 1932 (originally built in 1914)
This unique Art Deco theatre was built in 1932, replacing the original building destroyed by fire. The Ilo Ilo is an enduring record of cultural life in Cumberland as a venue for performances, films, concerts, community events and gatherings and was a cultural destination in the Comox Valley.
Dunsmuir Road West
Built: Circa 1888
Originally developed in the late 1880’s, Camp Road provides a significant collection of mine-related development that comprised the original settlement of Union. The buildings and streetscape illustrate the ethnic diversity, roles and jobs that were part of the coal mining culture. The Camp Road area was incorporated in 1966 and remains an integral and unique part of Cumberland.
2203 Comox Lake Road
Saito House is a rare surviving representative of the dozens of vernacular, rural miner cottages which once filled Cumberland’s Japanese, Chinese and Black town sites from the 1890s to the 1960s. It is an enduring record of the Japanese Canadian community as the last standing building of former No. 1 Japanese Town Site following their forced removal in 1942.
Coal Beach and No. 4 Mine
Near Coal Beach
Developed in 1890, the No. 4 Mine became the most productive coal mine in the Comox Valley, leading to a development boom and the creation of Cumberland. Various housing camps were created to accommodate the population of workers required, including No.1 Japanese Town site and Black Town site. The fan house ruins and other remnants are visible on a hillside near the edge of Comox Lake.
The Big Store/John-Cliff Dry Goods
2706 Dunsmuir Avenue
Serving as a commercial store for nearly 100 consecutive years, the Big Store was built in 1894 and expanded in 1901 to serve the community. The store played a significant role in the economic and domestic life of Cumberland residents, and the false-fronted frontier-style building is a landmark along the historic Dunsmuir Avenue streetscape.
King George Hotel
2723 Dunsmuir Avenue
Built: 1933 (originally built in 1909)
Originally built in 1909, the hotel was destroyed in Cumberland’s disastrous fire of 1933. A new hotel, designed by Victoria architect John Graham Johnson, was immediately rebuilt. The King George Hotel has served as a social gathering place/hub for the community at the core of the historic downtown for over 100 years.
2692 Dunsmuir Avenue
Three attached commercial buildings make up the Waverley Hotel including Cumberland’s oldest surviving building, constructed in 1894 with major renovations in 1936-1940 and 1967. The Waverley Hotel has been a popular live music and performance venue for decades, and is both a local institution and landmark.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church/ Cumberland Community Church
2732 Penrith Avenue & 3287 Third Street
Built: 1895 & 1920
The Gothic Revival styled Anglican Church was built in 1895 and the Church Hall added in 1920, forming part of “Church Row” on Penrith Avenue. The church’s later vacancy in the 1980s became a catalyst for heritage advocacy and conservation in Cumberland.
Designated by Bylaw
The following heritage sites have been designated by bylaw in addition to being listed on the Community Heritage Register.
Old Post Office
2739 Dunsmuir Avenue
(Designated by Bylaw in 2006)
Serving as both post office and customs office, this prominent Edwardian brick building reinforced the federal government presence in Cumberland. Using plans similar to federal buildings in other Canadian locations, it was scaled down to the size of the settlement and used local materials, including sandstone quarried near Cumberland.
Designated as a heritage structure in 2006, the Memorial Arch is 7.3m/20ft high, and includes bolens and chains.
Cumberland Municipal Cemetery
4441 Memorial Way
(Designated by Bylaw in 2007)
The Cumberland Municipal Cemetery continues to serve as the final resting place for Cumberland and area residents. The cemetery is representative of the role that coal mining played in the area, including the original design by the Union Colliery surveyor, demonstrates the toll of mining disasters, and also hosts the grave sites of renowned local labour leaders and activist Joe Naylor and Ginger Goodwin.
Cumberland Chinese Cemetery
(Designated by bylaw in 2007)
The Chinese Cemetery was designed with Feng Shui principals and the belief in the importance of a burial place location. Remains were exhumed after seven years and returned to China for burial, also allowing the plot to be used again. The Cemetery memorializes the importance of Chinese Canadians who worked in Cumberland as coal miners and railway builders.
Cumberland Japanese Cemetery
Built: Circa 1900
(Designated by bylaw in 2007)
The Japanese Cemetery was the final resting place of miners, mill workers and members of their families who lived in Cumberland and the Comox Valley until 1942, when all Japanese Canadians were forcibly removed. The cemetery was reclaimed when the headstones were set in a memorial honoring the names of Japanese Canadian miners lost in mining disasters.Search again