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

Exploring Haida Gwaii

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

Just Posted

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Odds n’ Sods: COVID-19 from a traveller

Elaine Nyeholt’s column for the Haida Gwaii Observer

Several construction projects delayed on Haida Gwaii due to COVID-19

Construction crews sent home; new QC fire hall, two BC Housing projects delayed indefinitely

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP calling for halt on sport fishing licenses to out-of-province fishers

Bachrach and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns co-signed the letter to the Minister of Fisheries

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read