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Hornby Island


Hornby Island of British Columbia, Canada, is a Northern Gulf Island parallel with Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley.

A small community of 1074 residents (as of the 2006 census) is distributed across the island. The island is culturally distinctive as it was the site of a large immigration of American draft dodgers during the Vietnam War, and many of these people still live on the island. In recent years the island has become a major tourist destination and its population easily quadruples in size during the summer months. Though tourism is a primary source of income for Hornby, it has led to some water supply shortages. Most people reach the island by taking a BC Ferry to Denman Island from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island, and then a 30-car ferry to Hornby.

The primary destinations on Hornby are Tribune Bay Provincial Park, Helliwell Provincial Park, and Whaling Station Bay. The island is also a popular mountain biking destination, with a variety of designated trails in Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park. The total land area is 29.92 km² (11.55 sq mi)

Geology and History

The island is geographically distinctive as it was formed by post-glacial rebound with the retreat of the last ice age. Before the arrival of European settlers, the island was inhabited by the Pentlatch, a Coast Salish First Nations band. The island was found and named Isla de Lerena during the 1791 voyage of the Spanish ship Santa Saturnina, under Juan Carrasco and José María Narváez. The name honors the Spanish Finance Minister, Don Pedro López de Lerena, who supported the settlement. In 1850 the British renamed it after Rear Admiral Phipps Hornby, then Commander of the Pacific Station.

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