The summit of Sleeping Beauty Trail outside of Queen Charlotte. (Flavien Mabit photo)

Haida Gwaii makes New York Times 52 Places list

Newspaper includes the islands on its annual list

Haida Gwaii has been dubbed one of the top destinations to visit in the world, according to the list ‘52 Places to Go in 2020’ put out by the New York Times.

The islands were selected for their bevy of natural and scenic wonders, the storied history of the Haida peoples, and the focus on sustainable tourism.

“People say ‘what can we do when we come here?’ And I say it’s a question of being, rather than doing,” said Susan Musgrave, operator of the Copper Beech House in Masset, adding that Haida Gwaii offers a unique tourist experience for those looking to chart their own course during their adventure. “If you just go expecting to have ziplines and pony trecking and whale watching tours, nothing is left to you, the participant. Here, it’s the sort of place where you get to participate in your own life. I think that tourists like that.”

(Flavien Mabit photo)

Musgrave did mention certain places that are worthwhile to check out, although perhaps not for the reasons one might normally expect. “I think our most famous attractions are things that aren’t there anymore. We have the Golden Spruce (Kiidk’yaas), that was cut down. We have the white raven, that was electrocuted. We have the church that Emily Carr painted, that burned down. So you could do a whole tour on Haida Gwaii of things that used to be there,” Musgrave said.

READ MORE: Happy faces all around for new Haida Emoji phone app

The New York Times highlighed SG̱ang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve as one of the main focal points, where the Haida Gwaii Watchmen, local guides, escort visitors on a tour of an abandoned 19th century Haida village, now occupied only by totem poles, longhouses and the spirits of their ancestors.

(Flavien Mabit photo)

Evan Putterill, North Coast Regional District director for Electoral Area E, feels Haida Gwaii’s placement on the list will assist with tourism to the island, despite some lodging not being in top shape.

“Some campsites are not very well maintained but it does not matter. They do not need to be in tip-top shape because most people who come here spend their time outside,” he said.

READ MORE: Haida film Now Is The Time selected for Sundance

Putterill suggested Gray Bay near Sandspit as an attractive campground destination, as are any of the many outdoor activities on the island, including surfing on the north beach or exploring Gwaii Haanas.

He added the Haida Heritage Centre at the historical village of Ḵay Llnagaay is a must-see for any visitor due to its cultural significance, along with the other museums on the islands.

Cumshewa Village, located along the northern entrance to the Cumshewa Inlet. (Flavien Mabit photo)

Starting in June 2020 a Haida Gwaii Islands Expedition will be available, an eight day journey of Haida Gwaii and the surrounding waters. The Haida House also offers tourist packages that are led by Haida guides, and involve various cultural activities.

Musgrave, though, recommends an organic approach to visiting Haida Gwaii, if people want to get the most fulfilling experience. “People find it so magical that there’s somewhere left in the world where it’s up to you how to spend your days, and nobody’s telling you how to do it. It used to be that the world was more like that, but it’s not so much now,” Musgrave said.

”People discover the islands themselves, and therefore they feel more special. You have to find what the islands have to offer.”

READ MORE: Transport Canada to let Sandspit Inn run until September, SCS wants stable solution

-with files from Jenna Cocullo


Alex Kurial | Journalist
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the Haida Gwaii Observer on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

Week of snow storms finally fades

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

VIDEO: Time’s running out for Montreal Alumni tickets in Hope

Habs will face off against Hope hockey players on Saturday afternoon

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

Peking Acrobats bring extraordinary exhibition of agility, athleticism and grace to Chilliwack

They will perform in beautiful costumes with dazzling special effects and live musicians

VIDEO: Bobcat infiltrates Shuswap couple’s coop, feasts on fowl

Police officers credited for attempting to assist with animal’s extraction

Canada Line to carry 800 more people per hour as four new trains arrive

The Canada Line initially began running in August 2009

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Metro Vancouver hit with $637,000 WorkSafeBC fine for ‘high risk’ sewer work

Workers could have been exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

VIDEO: B.C. mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

Most Read