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Victoria Day celebrations set to return to Cumberland

The theme this year is ‘A Salute to Recreation in Cumberland’
The soapbox derby is part of Cumberland’s annual Victoria Day celebrations. Photo submitted

With its roots dating back to 1891, Victoria Day celebrations in Cumberland are set to make up for pandemic-related shutdowns from the past two years.

Marianne Bell of the Cumberland Events Society said the community is gearing up for the return of the celebrations, and the society is set to bring back certain weekend events, such as the Saturday night dance, from years past.

“People have really missed the celebrations during the past couple of years, and there’s so many new people who have moved (to Cumberland) within the last two years who haven’t experienced the festivities or don’t know much about them,” explained Bell. “Some people don’t even know there’s a parade.”

Cumberland’s Victoria Day celebrations are set from May 14 through 23, stretching the celebration out for more than a week, with the theme of ‘A Salute to Recreation in Cumberland.’

Events include a cinch tournament at the Cumberland Legion, a fashion show on May 18 at the Cumberland Recreation Centre at 6:30 p.m., a community garage sale, a soapbox derby, music in the park, a parade and crowning of the May Queen and maypole dance.

Bell said that based on the schedule this year, the village “will be hopping” with festivities and activities.

From its inception, the main focus of Victoria Day — formerly known as Empire Days — has been the celebration of Cumberland’s cultural diversity.

Cumberland’s working mining town history is one built on immigration. Encircling downtown Cumberland are former townsites of Chinese, Japanese and African American immigrant workers.

Additionally, large populations of Italians, English, Scots and Welsh each brought their culture to Cumberland as they came to the village to work in the mines. Cumberland’s first Heritage Celebration of Queen Victoria’s May 24 birthday was held in May 1888.

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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