For a truly unforgettable experience, book with Haida Gwaii tours. They will whisk you off for a unique adventure to this remote island chain near the British Columbia coastline. There are rain forests, pristine sea waters and an array of water activities to experience and enjoy. For a quick weekend getaway, there is nothing like visiting these islands. Thanks to their unique location, just off the coast of Vancouver, they can easily be reached with only a two-hour flight.
Originally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, the name was changed in 2009 by the Canadian government. This was part of a reconciliation agreement with the native Haida population. The name means Islands of the Haida People. There are two main islands, Graham Island and Moresby Island.
The original people had a thriving culture centered around sea-faring. They traded with native tribes on the mainland as well as in far away locations. Before the Western settlers arrived, there were more than 100 villages and a population of close to 10,000.
After gold was discovered in 1851, both Americans and Canadians arrived to seek their fortunes. Shortly thereafter, the British annexed the islands as a colony and named them in honor of Queen Charlotte. The white settlers brought smallpox, measles and typhoid which decimated the native population. Close to 90 per cent died and by the 1900’s, less than 400 had remained.
Today, the islands are protected as part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and national park reserve. Efforts are also being made to revive the First Nations culture and traditions which almost disappeared entirely. One of the main visual art forms is the hand-carved cedar totem poles. These totem poles can be as high as a modern two story building. Handmade silver and gold jewelery is also very popular among tourists.
About 4,000 people presently inhabit the islands, mostly native population. Main income sources include fishing and logging, although tourism is become more and more prominent. The islands are enjoying a boom as more people are discovering the fishing and boating tours along with adventure tourism that is possible.
Many water sports enthusiasts also come here to partake of the diving, kayaking and fishing. Even surfing is popular here. The temperate rain forests offer unique camping and hiking possibilities. Annual sporting events and cultural festivals are also held. In addition, parks, gardens and museums are always open.
The best way to get there quickly is by air from Vancouver. There are two airports that make regular flights, and flying time only takes two hours. Those with time on their hands might want to try the British Columbia Ferries which operate a regular service to the two main islands. For the more adventurous, there is also a land route, Highway 16, that connects the mainland with Graham Island.
For a truly memorable trip, get in touch with Haida Gwaii tours. Their travel expertise can help you come up with the perfect outdoor adventure experience, that is geared to your personal preferences. They can also provide the best deals on hotels, meals and travel arrangements.
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