What’s in a Name?
by Vic Turkington
THE GHOSTS of D'ARCY ISLAND
D'Arcy Island lies just south of Sidney Island and about 3nm east of Island View Beach. The island was named after Sub-Lt. D'Arcy (1831-1884), an officer aboard the HMS Herald; he was later promoted to Captain in 1869. A navigation beacon with a red flashing light (chart symbol Fl R) sits on the west shore.
As the island is close to the US border, it was readily exploited by bootlegger Roy Olmstead, who smuggled Canadian whisky during the prohibition era. He brought liquor from Victoria to D'Arcy Is., transferred it to smaller boats to evade the Coast Guard and transported it to the US.
D'Arcy Island was used as a leper colony from 1891-1924. Forty nine Chinese lepers were quarantined and left with meager resources. Existence was severe on this remote island and the colony was eventually abandoned and transferred to Bentinck Island in 1924. Thirteen lepers were buried on D'Arcy Is. and the ruins of various buildings can still be seen.
Today, the island makes an attractive kayak/camping destination. Beautiful shale beaches and arbutus trees cover the island. There are seven campsites, picnic tables, good landing beaches and the quiet reflective aura of a former leper colony and burial ground. The island is well worth visiting – but beware: the ghosts of D'Arcy Island are WATCHING, and LISTENING....and they are WAITING for you!