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Dateline Cowichan 2002: Crofton celebrates its 100th birthday
A whack of noteworthy centennials and 125ths are popping up this summer — Duncan's 100th, Cobble Hill St. John's 125th and Bamberton's 100th to name a few.
In July 2002, it was Crofton's turn as the little town in the shadow of the then NorskCanada pulp and paper mill celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of a smelter at Osborne Bay.
Civil engineer Henry Croft bought what is now the Crofton townsite for $6,500 in 1900. Two years later, employing 400 men, the smelter opened to service Croft's mining interests on Mt. Sicker and transform the area into a bustling industrial site. Crofton's first school opened that year to teach the town's 27 students.
To celebrate its 100th birthday, Crofton made a big splash with the unveiling of a new $370,000 sea walk stretching from the old schoolhouse museum to the RV Park. The party had all the hallmarks of a centennial bash with a pancake breakfast, parade, continuous stage show, vintage car display, reunion tea, teen band and requisite fireworks.
"We may be here because of the smelter, but the people are the glue that keep it together," said one of the event organizers.
The first-ever local dog agility trial sanctioned by the Agility Association of Canada was held at Pine Paddocks where 78 dogs happily tested a course of narrow tunnels, 24-inch hurdles, six ft. A- frames under the constant pressure of time.
After Westholme School was threatened by demolition the year before, Westholmers rallied to raise money to restore the decades-old school into a heritage building. To help, they sold a CD by Don Roberts and Dave Baker.
In a first for Cowichan Soccer, a boys team - Cowichan Dynamos - won the B.C. Under-16 Championship remaining undefeated in the six-team round robin held in Surrey. Goalie Glen Denhartigen allowed only two goals in five games.