DestinAsian - - DEPARTMENTS - —James Louie

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.

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