by Northwest Travel & Life Staff
It’s been called the edge of the world: Haida Gwaii, a group of islands off the coast of British Columbia within view of Southeast Alaska. It’s rich in the cultural traditions and art of the Haida First Nations people. Most visitors explore it in June, July and August. But visitors are welcome in the off season, too, when they can chill out in cozy accommodations and storm watch.
Visit the village of Old Masset, with its collection of totem poles, and the Haida Cultural Centre in Skidegate. There, learn the history of the Haida people, view their cultural traditions through art and stories, and walk away with a deeper insight into the place you are visiting.
Many locals work in the tourism industry in the summer, guiding and serving visitors, but in winter life on Haida Gwaii changes. When asked what he does after the summer tourists leave, Aay-Aay, a weaver, Haida linguist and guide, replied, “We make art.”
When it comes to first-rate lodges, Haida-owned Haida House at Tllaal is a perfect choice for its excellent chef-driven farm-to-table restaurant and cozy cabins. Individual cottage rentals abound on Haida Gwaii, and the cottages along the North Shore offer sweeping views out to the Pacific.
A winter trip to Haida Gwaii is nothing like a summer trip when visitors can go paddling or take tours to remote cultural sites, like the historically significant site of Gwaii Hanaas at the far southernmost reaches of the islands—all the more reason to plan another trip for summer.
The Haida people ask visitors to take a pledge before visiting their islands: haidagwaiipledge.ca. Travel to Haida Gwaii by plane or B.C. ferry. Find lodging and plan your visit to Haida Gwaii at gohaidagwaii.ca.