SGang Gwaay

Province of British Columbia
N52 5 42 W131 13 13
Date of Inscription: 1981
Criteria: (iii)
Ref: 157
News Links/Travelogues:

The village of Ninstints (Nans Dins) is located on a small island off the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). Remains of houses, together with carved mortuary and memorial poles, illustrate the Haida people’s art and way of life. The site commemorates the living culture of the Haida people and their relationship to the land and sea, and offers a visual key to their oral traditions.

On the island of SG̱ang Gwaay, the remains of large cedar long houses, together with a number of carved mortuary and memorial poles at the village of SG̱ang Gwaay Llnagaay (formerly Nan Sdins), illustrate the art and way of life of the Haida. The property commemorates the living culture of the Haidaand their relationship with the land and sea. It also offers a visual key to their oral traditions. The village of SG̱ang Gwaay was occupied until shortly after 1880. What survives is unique in the world, a 19th-century Haida village where the ruins of houses and memorial or mortuary poles illustrate the power and artistry of Haida society.

Criterion (iii): SG̱ang Gwaay bears unique testimony to the culture of the Haida. The art represented by the carved poles at SG̱ang Gwaay Llnagaay (Nan Sdins) is recognized to be among the finest examples of its type in the world.

Suggested Bases:

Rose Harbour is an unincorporated settlement on the north coast of Kunghit Island, on the south shore of the Houston Stewart Channel, in Haida Gwaii. It is within the bounds of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. It is the only privately-owned property within Gwaii Haanas. Rose Harbour was established as a whaling station in 1910 by the Queen Charlotte Whaling Company and operated until 1943. A monument survives to Chinese and Japanese people who died in the whaling trade. Currently, there is a small group of houses at Rose Harbour, which offer lodging and dining services to kayakers and other tourists. There has been significant legal friction between Rose Harbour residents on one side and the Park administration and Canadian government on the other [read more].

Queen Charlotte (Haida: Daajing Giids), also referred to as Queen Charlotte City, and Skidegate (Haida: Hlg̱aagilda) are neighbouring villages on the southeast cost of Graham Island, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Queen Charlotte and Skidegate are neighbouring villages located 9 km (6 mi) apart. Queen Charlotte, more commonly known by its residents as “Charlotte”, offers several motels, shops, restaurants, a gas station and auto repair, a credit union, RCMP station and a hospital. With its small harbour, Queen Charlotte is often the starting-point for chartered tours into Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site on southern Moresby Island. Skidegate is also the northern terminal for the BC Ferries service between Graham Island, Moresby Island and mainland British Columbia. Take the 25-minute ferry to Moresby Island and explore Sandspit and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve; or continue on the Yellowhead Highway to Masset. Do: Diving in Rennell Sound, check at the Queen Charlotte Vistor Information Centre for dive sites [read more].

2 replies »

  1. Making landfall at Anthony Island, or SGang Gwaay, on the southern tip of the archipelago after a 160-mile passage from the top of Vancouver Island, we were truly in awe of our surroundings. The inescapable wildness of the place, coupled with the fact that we saw no other vessels for days, truly made Haida Gwaii special. If you have a chance to get here by boat, we say go!


  2. Haida Gwaii is one of Canada’s most enchanting destinations. I’ve visited twice before, but never like I did last June, when I cruised through this 150-island archipelago for more than a week. It was an opportunity to delve deep into the heart of it, soaking in hot springs, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, speaking with Haida Watchmen, and experiencing a wilderness so big, it was almost beyond belief.


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