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Haida Gwaii — the island chain off the coast of British Columbia formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands — has a long history of terrific native artistry. While visiting the islands, we made a stop in the small community of Old Massett which sits on the site of several historic Haida villages.
It was in Old Massett that some of the Haida people who had survived the devastating wave of smallpox that arrived with white settlers started regrouping in the late 19th century. Today, Old Massett is the administrative center for the Council of the Haida Nation.
Old Massett is home to the Islands’ largest collection of contemporary totem poles, which are located throughout the village. There are several skilled …
I spent a rain-drenched day exploring Prince Rupert, B.C some years ago. I’d flown to Prince Rupert (via Vancouver) to catch the ferry to Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) and had a full day to kill before departing. As with any such travel opportunity, I pulled out my walking shoes and camera and tried to experience as much of the town as I could.
Prince Rupert sits on the Inside Passage just below the Alaska Panhandle. A coastal city set against the mountains, it’s one of the few times in my life I’ve landed on an island airport and had to be ferried to the mainland. The town’s industries are timber-related, fishing and mining, as is the …
One of the world’s most famous fossil sites is Canada’s Burgess Shale, which contains a large assortment of ancient and amazingly well-preserved (often soft-bodied) marine fossils. Originally discovered at high altitude in the mountains of British Columbia’s Yoho National Park in 1909, the Burgess Shale was one of the important reasons for the designation of the region as a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are two Burgess Shale sites in Yoho National Park you can visit, both long hikes with significant altitude gain. One is to Mount Stephen and the other to Walcott Quarry.
Recently a sister site has been discovered further south in Kootenay National Park, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the original site. That …
One of my favorite cities in which to go for a long walk is Vancouver, BC. It lends itself to walking because its setting is incredibly beautiful, its architecture interesting, and there’s a lot of fascinating street art you can enjoy. I especially like exploring the harbor area around the new Convention Center and Canada Place.
Situated just outside the Convention Center are several interesting works of art, including Pixel Orca, a massive outdoor piece that definitely catches your eye, partially because it’s framed by beautiful North Vancouver. It’s a reminder that many Orca pods live off the coast of the city (which you might see if you take a guided boat tour).
The Drop resembles a raindrop, but is made of …
When I last visited Vancouver my friend, Harry, took me for a walk around the city to include some of his favorite spots. One of these was this fun statue called A-Maze-ing Laughter. This is a fun bronze created by Yue Minjun in 2009; the piece was loaned to the city for its 2010 Winter Olympic celebrations. The sculpture quickly became very popular with Vancouverites and was purchased and donated to the City of Vancouver by Chip and Shannon Wilson in 2012.
The artwork is located in Morton Park along English Bay and consists of 14 separate figures, each 3 meters tall, each created in the artist’s own image while laughing. There’s a separate concrete bench inscribed, “May this sculpture inspire …
One of the most memorable day-trips I’ve ever been on was to the remnants of the Haida village of Skedans. It’s a remote and rarely visited place. Sadly, not much remains of the village, captured near its prime in the image below this paragraph (from 1878), rich with great totem art and beautiful longhouses.
Skedans is located on the northeastern shore of Louise Island, at the head of Cumshewa Inlet in Haida Gwaii (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands), off the coast of North Central British Columbia just south of the Alaska panhandle. That sounds really confusing, so to help you better orient yourself to this remote place, here are a few maps I think will help:
Skedans is also known variously …
One of my favorite markets anywhere is the Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver. Situated on a piece of reclaimed land, it’s become a peninsula and is an island in name only. It adjoins False Creek and Burrard Inlet south of downtown Vancouver and is one of those places everyone visiting Vancouver for a few days should see. It’s not the prettiest setting, not the fanciest facility, but is a colorful venue with a wonderful assortment of food and eateries, and personable vendors (you’d expect no less from Canadians, eh?)
In the early 1900s, Granville Island was an industrial setting and not at all gentrified. The island was home to factories, plants and sawmills. After the second World …
There are hundreds of amazing places in the Canadian Rockies. Beautiful lakes and rivers, wonderful mountain peaks and breath-taking vistas from high alpine meadows. Yoho National Park, in eastern British Columbia, straddles the continental divide on Alberta’s border and not only is a place of great beauty but geologic significance as it is home to the legendary Burgess Shale Formation. Yoho derives its name (not from a Johnny Depp pirate song but) from the Cree language, meaning “Awe and Wonder”.
The crown gem of this beautiful area, in my humble opinion, is Takakkaw Falls which thunders as it pours into the Yoho Valley not unlike the waterfalls of Yosemite Valley. Takakkaw Falls has a total drop of 384m (1260 …