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HAIDA GWAII, British Columbia

What’s Happening in 2015: Many of the events and activities this destination has to offer are ongoing and available year-round, such as hiking, surfing and exploring the small communities on the islands of Haida Gwaii. A few time-sensitive exceptions include visitingGwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, for which tours and park passes are only offered between June and September, and attending the annual Edge of the World Music Festival, which runs from August 8-10.

Why You Should Go: Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, this archipelago off British Columbia’s northwest coast saw its First Nationscitizens officially reclaim the original name — which translates loosely to “islands of the people” — in June 2010. The Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate houses a must-see collection of regional art and historical artifacts that serve to enrich any visitor’s experience on Haida Gwaii. It provides important background information and celebrates current cultural events. Traditional longhouses and totem poles can be found all over Haida Gwaii, many of them relics although some are still in use today.

Vacay.ca’s Katie Marti writes: “The land is unspoiled and remote in a day and age where all such places seem to have been forever conquered and stolen from the wild. There is no room for pretentions here, and no time for trivialities. Maybe it’s because the islands themselves are so far removed, physically, from the mainland and have, therefore, managed to escape certain elements of modern society. Maybe it’s because the poles and longhouses that line the shores serve as a constant, looming reminder of the ancient ways that refuse to be forgotten. Regardless, this is Haida Gwaii, and to get to know the place and its people, truly and experientially, is nothing short of an honour.”

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