Photo: Jean Ballard
Welcome to Crofton, British Columbia
It is a peaceful night, the sky awash in multiple shades of pink, gold and purple. I wander along the Crofton Seawalk and down to the beach, my dog on leash by my side, my camera in my hand. It has been eight years since I made the move from British Columbia’s Fraser Valley to the Cowichan Valley. And I have not regretted it for one moment.
People expressed surprise when I told them I was moving to Crofton, British Columbia, located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. I was leaving family, friends and a career to head to a small village of approximately 2,500 people, where I had only a few acquaintances. But I had visited this area many times in the past 30 years, and I fell in love with its many parks, trails, beaches and bays. The beauty of the region, the friendliness of the people and the slower pace of life made me long to call this place home. And so I made the move.
In no time at all, I felt welcomed. Neighbours handed sun-warmed tomatoes to me over the fence and showed up at my door with jars of homemade jam. On the sidewalk, strangers stopped to chat. Children petted the dog, and teens nodded a greeting as they raced down the street on their skateboards. Acquaintances phoned to invite me to local events or to suggest I stop by for a glass of wine. Small town living at its best.
Photo: Jean Ballard
Life in the Slow Lane: Crofton, British Columbia
Yes, there are times when the smell from the pulp mill has me staring accusingly at my dog and checking the bottom of my shoes, but those times are far fewer than I expected. I do sometimes wish there were just a few more amenities in Crofton, or that reliable skilled trades persons were easier to find, but, as with friends, forging new relationships with businesses takes time.
However, the joy of sunrises and sunsets, sea birds and beautiful parks as well as friendly people and helpful neighbours more than compensate for the occasional discomfort of stinky air or the frustrations of less-than-stellar business practices. The flaws of the region are barely noticeable in a landscape so full of beauty, and a community so full of spirit.
I have all I need within a short drive, and there is no end of activities to occupy my time, including farmers’ markets, town parades, arts tours, wine tastings, live theatre and town movie nights. Community events both here and nearby crowd the calendar and there are always deserted trails and unspoiled parkland to explore, where solitude and nature go hand in hand. It is a simple town of good plain folk. No need for manicured nails or carefully groomed lawns here, no keeping up with the Joneses or looking down your nose at a broken fence. It is a “chicken soup” sort of town—ordinary people in an ordinary community, gently simmered into something comforting that warms the heart and lifts the spirit. It is home.
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