D'Arcy Island

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Gulf Islands, including D'Arcy Island.
D'Arcy Island from the west by kayak.

D'Arcy Island is an 83-ha island in Haro Strait, south of Sidney Island and east of the Saanich Peninsula (Vancouver Island).


The island was used as a leper colony for Chinese immigrants from 1891 to 1924. Ruins of the buildings built during that time are still visible.[1][2][3][4]

Chinese lepers on D'Arcy Island in the 1890s

D'Arcy Island's proximity to the United States border was exploited by famous American bootlegger Roy Olmstead in the smuggling of Canadian liquor, primarily whisky, to Washington State.[5] His operation would transport the liquor from Victoria, British Columbia, to islands in Haro Strait, including D'Arcy, for later pickup by smaller craft that would move the contraband during rough weather, making it more difficult for the Coast Guard to detect them.[6]

D'Arcy was declared a marine park in 1961, and included as part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in 2003.[7]


D'Arcy is accessible by private watercraft only.


Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 7 marine-accessible backcountry campsites on D'Arcy. Facilities are limited to pit toilets and picnic tables. There is no potable water available, and no campfires are permitted. The Current Map and Hiking and Camping Information brochure provides updated camping fees [1].


  1. ^ D'Arcy Island VancouverIsland.com
  2. ^ Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada - National Parks of Canada
  3. ^ https://archive.org/stream/dailycolonist18930802uvic/18930802#page/n4/mode/1up/search/leper+colony
  4. ^ http://www.timescolonist.com/life/victoria-banished-chinese-lepers-to-island-colony-1.7584
  5. ^ Ken Burns, Lynn Novick (October 2011). Prohibition; Episode 2: A Nation of Scofflaws; Good Bootlegger. PBS. ISBN 978-1-60883-430-3. OCLC 738476083.
  6. ^ http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/gulf/carte-map-nfl.aspx#a6 Archived 2012-10-08 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°34′00″N 123°17′00″W / 48.56667°N 123.28333°W / 48.56667; -123.28333