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D'Arcy Island (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve)

Primary Campsite

Coordinates: N48° 34.07’ W123° 16.417’
Land Tenure: National Park Reserve
Landing Comments: Pebble beach. Exposed to SE winds. Strong SE wind may cause
dangerous steep surf conditions.
Camp Comments: Gravel pads near beach with more sheltered sites in trees. Pit toilet. Picnic
tables. Fee charged May - Sept. No fires, including below high tide mark.
Tent Sites: 7
Other Comments: View. Trails. Historic former leper colony.


Park notices:

None at this time. Check with Parks Canada's Gulf Islands National Park Reserve website

Park information:

With numerous coves, cobble beaches and a forest of arbutus and Douglas fir, D'Arcy Island's beauty belies its past history as a leper colony for Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. First Nations have a long association with this small island, reserving it primarily for religious practices. To avoid damaging sensitive habitats or disturbing cultural features, please camp only in the designated campsites. Marine access only - no potable water. Picnic tables, 7 wilderness campsites and pit toilets.

History

The following is from BC Geographical Names:

D'Arcy Island:

D'Arcy Island adopted 6 November 1934, as labelled on BC map of the Southern Districts of Vancouver Island, 1892 et seq; not "Darcy Island" as spelled on British Admiralty Chart 2689, 1859 et seq.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Named in 1858 by Captain Richards, RN, of HMS Plumper, after Lieutenant John D'Arcy, RN, (1831-1869) who was mate (sub-lieutenant) of the Herald on her surveying expedition to the Pacific Ocean, 1852-1854. Entered the navy 1844; Lieutenant 1854; Commander 1863; Captain 1869......

Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)

In 1891 a leper colony was established on D'Arcy Island (see Victoria Colonist 21 May 1891); closed in 1924 when the facility was moved to Bentinck Island. [excerpts from various books & newspaper clippings re: leper colony, received September 1992, on file V.1.38].

Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)

Descriptions and further information:

BC Leper Colony's little known history: Huffington Post article.

The History of D'Arcy Island. YouTube.

The lepers of D'Arcy Island. CBC.

Nearby features of note:

Sidney Spit Provincial Park.

Mandarte Island Important Bird Area. Link.

Nearby launch locations:

Island View Regional Park. Link.

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