About Us...

We would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about your pending visit and what to expect.

The Queen Charlotte Islands are a collection of 150 Islands; the primary Islands being Graham Island in the North and Moresby Island in the South. The Queen Charlotte Islands are described as Canada's Galapagos and the indigenous name is Haida Gwaii.

A family friend, who has been both to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Galapagos in Ecuador, South America, tells us that the Queen Charlotte Islands are much better !!

Flora and fauna are markedly different from the mainland. Species and sub species particular to the Queen Charlottes include the world's largest black bear.

The two major cities are Masset and Queen Charlotte City ("QCC") which are situated on the highway system at the extreme north and extreme south of Graham Island, respectively. Masset is the largest city, with about 1,300 residents, while Queen Charlotte City has 900 residents. The driving distance between the two cities is less than 90 minutes.

QCC is both a government and tourist center due to the

  • close proximity to the adjacent city of Sandspit, B.C. on Moresby Island which has an airport and year-round daily air service offered by Canadian Airlines, an affiliate of American Airlines,
  • close proximity to the nearby city of Skidegate, B.C., a Haida community on Graham Island which is a B.C. Ferry terminal for the MV, Queen of the North, that sets sail from Prince Rupert on the mainland,
  • close proximity to the national wilderness park, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve on Moresby Island, and the
  • southernmost access on the Queen Charlotte Islands to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ninstints, the site of an ancient Haida Indian village with aging totem poles situated at Skun Gwaii, also known as Anthony Island.

Gwaii Haanas is one of 33 wilderness sites designated by Parks Canada, while Ninstints is only one of seven heritage sites in the World designated by UNESCO.

A typical excursion of a weeks duration from QCC into Gwaii Haanas is kayaking the ocean perimeter of Gwaii Haanas, whereas a typical day excursion from QCC would include a visit by sea plane to Ninstints. Both excursions are relatively expensive.

Everything that Queen Charlotte City is, Masset is and more . . . and still reasonably priced for the family.

  • A visit to QCC is within an easy 90-minute drive on a flat road from Masset.
  • During the spring and summer, regular flights are scheduled from Vancouver to Masset for three days a week and the rate is the same as the Canadian Airlines flight to Sandspit, or about $550/person, taxes inclusive. The approximate nonstop flying time to Masset Airport is one hour and twenty minutes which is the identical flying time to Sandspit Airport. Chinook Lodge is within 7 driving minutes of the Masset Airport.

Some seasonal activities in the Masset area with approximate dates are noted below.

  • April to June - Whale watching from the shoreline - the Gray Whale Migration
  • July - first week Crab with Fish Dip Nets and Chest Waders (really !!). Season can vary between mid June to the end of September

Also July - Edge of the World Music Festival

  • August - Tlell (prounced T-Lel) Fall Fair - sunshine, music, prizes for baking and farm animals, home cooking, famous name entertainers including Tom Northcott (summer of 1998).

    - Very expensive wild Chantell Mushrooms are picked for the Japanese market.
  • November or windy weather - Floating sea scallops as wide as 7 inches across are brought to shore by winds. The inside of the scallop is about the size of a hockey puck but just as delicious as smaller scallops that are available in our large city supermarkets.

The Queen Charlotte Islands have wonderful beaches and the best beaches are all located at the extreme north of Graham Island, about 26 kilometers past Masset on the road leading to Tow Hill. Beachcomb, crab, clam and otherwise enjoy. The locals drive their four by fours along the beach on the firm sand left during a receding tide. Along the road to Tow Hill, four long beaches are contiguous but very different.

  • North Beach - sandy and similar to Long Beach, B.C.
northbeachandtowhill
North Beach
  • Agate Beach - rocky and sandy beach; explore for agates which are opalescent when placed in a jar of water
agatebeach
Agate Beach
  • Ops Beach - sandy and similar to the sand dunes, Oregon
  • White Beach - similar to Ops Beach but easier access to the shoreline.
beach_stroll
White Beach

The above beaches are all part of the Naikoon Provincial Park which is the Province of British Columbia's equivalent to the federal government's Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. The Naikoon Provincial Park has good public access, although, the park has not been well marketed internationally by the provincial government.

For the days when you don't want to cook in the fully-equipped kitchen, the best restaurant in town is only within a block and a half walking distance.

The local library occupies a quaint log cabin, reminiscent of bygone times. A desktop computer at the library provides free internet access to users.

Cycle alongside Masset Inlet to the largest Haida community on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Old Masset, which is adjacent to Masset.

Masset was formerly a military base and the city has substantial amenities that one would not expect in Northern B.C. including fibre optic communications and full recreation facilities. A supervised summer program for your children, including bus trips and sports day, is available at reasonable rates at the Rec. Centre.

Supervised wilderness forestry tours of about six hours duration are provided free by Weyerhaeuser at nearby Port Clements . The tour is highly recommended and advance reservations are required, call 1-250-557-4212.

Hike the various trails in Naikoon Provincial Park; a park that extends along a 100 kilometer coastline between Tlell and Masset.

The people in Masset are very friendly and they will be waving at you although you don't know them, and soon, you will find yourselves doing this to total strangers. This is small town living at its best and very enticing.

We think that this is the ultimate vacation for your family and we hope you share our enthusiasm for the outdoors.

Brion and Jane Bailey
Your Hosts
Chinook Lodge


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