The natural charms of Haida Gwaii.
Few things say “Canada” more than a set of regal totem poles, landscapes blanketed in conifers, and glimpses of rare wildlife. All these converge in the rugged archipelago of Haida Gwaii—formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands—a rain-soaked natural wonderland roughly 80 kilometers off the northern coast of British Columbia. Its moss-draped old-growth forests shelter native species like the Queen Charlotte black bear and the bald eagle, while sea lions, seals, and porpoises cavort in the waters offshore. Such is the abundance of creatures on both land and sea that Haida Gwaii has been termed “Canada’s Galápagos”—a comparison that’s best understood each summer when pods of migrating orcas and humpbacks pass through. The annual arrival of these marine giants has left its mark on the culture of the indigenous Haida people, who venerate and depict both animals in their artwork.
Orca sightings are commonplace in Haida Gwaii from May to October.