1590 Delkatla
Masset, Haida Gwaii
(formerly Queen Charlotte Islands)
BC Canada V0T 1M0

News: 1   2

November 2014

Susan is continuing working on a Cookbook:

It has a New Title, and it will now be published in the spring of 2015 by Whitecap.

  Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World  

Includes Susan Musgrave's highly coveted sourdough bread recipe and more in "From the Forage of the Oven" a chapter on beach combing and wash-up and a recipe for Shipwrecked Chicken Wings; in "A Rogue's Galley", and you will read about a local fisherman who offered an exotic dancer 50 lbs of shrimp to spend the night with him, and a famous politician's recipe for Rustled Beef by Gaslight.


We Now have a page on: 

Small Town Love is growing in Haida Gwaii...

... and we’re here to (re)introduce you to the remarkable shops and services, right in your own backyard.

BC Magazine Summer 2013 Issue Island CHARACTER

Poet and Writer reflects on her next chapter as cookbook author and owner of an eclectic Haida Gwaii guest house.


...Click here to read the article, local link...


HAIDA GWAII - Shrouded In Mysticism

by CECE M. SCOTT 2014 - Summer Issue

Gwaii Haanas gallery   

Shanna Baker May 29, 2014

Haida Gwaii B&B a Haven for Storytellers


Rainforest Adventures on Haida Gwaii

B.C. Photographer Of The Month: Guy Kimola


Haida Gwaii Is Canada's Best Kept Secret

The Tow Hill Community (Haida Gwaii)   by Masa Takei 

>> Read More


Steelhead Fly Fishing on British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands,
a.k.a. Haida Gwaii 

>> Read More


How should I do Haida Gwaii?   by JOHN LEE
Special to The Globe and Mail

>>Read More

"Looking Around Without Blinking" -

Watch film directed by Scott Smith with Sarah, Jim and Bry in Haida Gwaii escorted by Bluewater Adventures:
National Parks Project

A closer look at Haida Gwaii


May 2014

Court week in Masset, and our guests dress for breakfast. Guess which one is the judge?


We have a number of “regulars” who stay at Copper Beech House and become part of our family. Julia challenged guests during court week in May 2014, to come to breakfast wearing “something from their room.” The fish head (a hundred year-old-ling cod, which David Phillips wore as headgear to the Canadian Embassy Washingston, D.C. when Bill Reid’s The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, The Black Canoe was unveiled) is not in a guestroom, but hangs discreetly on a living room wall wearing a jaunty Panama hat left behind by Douglas Coupland on his last visit.  A Facebook friend wrote saying, “I am too boring to stay with you.” Not true. No one is boring. “Perception,” as Joelle Rabu from Haida House in Tllaal says, “is 99% of the flaw.”

September 2013

A Special Information Feature brought to you by BC Ferries

The Tow Hill Community (Haida Gwaii)

You will hear it often, about some places, “I came for a visit and never left.” In my case, I firstvisited Haida Gwaii eight years ago, and it wasn’t until five years later that I finally made my move. I’m often asked about the community here. I can only speak as a newcomer, my experience filtered through my biases and influenced by the stories that I’ve heard. Individual mileage may vary.

“Tow Town” isn’t so much a town as a geographic region that blesses a certain way of life. you could glide right past it on your way to the end of the road, beyond the eponymous Tow Hill. Distracted by the otherworldly scenery, you might keep driving till your wheels hit seawater as the road fades into sand. Beyond that, north Beach curves away like a long, pale scythe, jutting out towards Alaska.

Somewhere between the municipal boundary sign of Masset and beyond where the pavement turns to gravel. Along a stretch of road that parallels the coastline, with a few branches that end in cul-de-sacs. That’s where the denizens of the Tow Hill Community (T.H.C.) reside. A loose collection of folks – they number about 150 – but a tight community nonetheless.

Thirty years ago there was little at the end of the road beyond the remnants of the first hardy homesteaders and a clam cannery, a now defunct resort, and the ghost of an old Haida village. Though

North Beach has always been an important food gathering area for the Haida. Then came – for lack of a better word – hippies who lived in shacks off the beach. These inhabitants, who have been called everything from Tow Towners and Tow Hillbillies to Dreadnecks and Earth Muffins, have stayed long enough to raise a second generation.

Some might see them as a new strain of bohemian, though they would likely object to being called one. You’re as likely to seeone with a chainsaw in their hands as a surfboard or a ukulele. A dream catcher on the rearview mirror of their truck perhaps. To some townies though, they’re still just plain hippies.

It is not just out toward the end of the road, but also near the end of the power line. Many here live, or have lived, off-grid by choice. Even for some of those who settled within a stone’s throw of the line, they chose not to be hooked up. Being connected isn’t just about bills, and inspectors, and the proliferation of everything that plugs in. Living off-grid is a state of being. It means splitting wood for warmth, hauling your water. And once you’re taking care of those basics of existence, it’s only natural to extend your thoughts to collecting your own food.

Here the forests are laden with deer, mushrooms, berries and other choice edibles, the ocean full of fish, shellfish and crabs. From both, a vast supply of wood, to fuel stoves or be milled into building materials. Water quite literally falls from the sky to be collected into barrels. This existence makes you conscious of everything that you use and appreciate what you’ve got. It means helping out and needing the help of others. It fosters being connected to the land and people.

Residents of the Tow Hill Community live in everything from shacks built of plastic sheeting stretched over wooden frames to handcrafted homes filled with elegant custom cabinetry and shiny modern appliances. But many started at some point with raw land and a hammer. The simple life is not easy. That’s what makes it rewarding. The allure of modern convenience is irresistibly strong. But here at least, you’re conscious of the difference between your wants and needs.

The people here aren’t easily pigeonholed, though I seem to be trying, and cannot be painted as an archetype. Local residents have included a famous poet and a once prolific bank robber, a German opera singer and a Kiwi lawyer, a pyromaniac and a Toyota mechanic, a librarian and a goat farmer, carpenters and beachcombers, circus jugglers and kayak guides, mushroom pickers and tree planters, former activists and anarchists, retired cops and soldiers. Many are a combination of the above.

They’re more defined by how they choose to live rather than how they make their living. The empty surf breaks were a major draw for some residents and are still a significant part of the lifestyle today. There may be as many reasons as there are people for landing here, but there are common bonds that bind them.

There are plenty of other little communities out there harbouring refugees from city life. The people of Tow Hill live on an island, with all that island living entails. The added remoteness and isolation draws people together, removes anonymity. Everyone who comes must come by plane or boat. It takes effort to get here. No one just happens to be passing through.

And that’s perhaps one of the reasons that the Tow Hill Community is so inclusive and welcoming. If you’ve gone to the trouble to get here and engage with the locals (which could be as simple as ordering a coffee at The Moon Over Naikoon Bakery and smiling at the person next to you), then they will generally reciprocate your interest.

These are places where every person is an individual instead of a particle in an anonymous wash of humanity. Places where work is done with one’s hands and actions have real consequences. Where a person with no skills could show up, throw down some tools, and without adherence to much more than physics and logic, make a home and build a life.


BC Magazine Summer 2013 Issue < click to get the Issue

Poet and Writer reflects on her next chapter as cookbook author and owner
of an eclectic Haida Gwaii guest house.


Click here to read the article

July 27, 2013

Culinary tales from poet Susan Musgrave >> Click

or click here

July 2, 2013 at 10:41 am
How gathering mussels on a beach can fill you up inside  > > Click

How gathering mussels on a beach can fill you up inside

I like this quote from poet Susan Musgrave about the enigmatic lure of life on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), a wild and sparsely populated archipelago off the northern coast of British Columbia. Musgrave has been a part-time resident of Haida Gwaii since 1972 . Like many local residents, she built her own home, forages for food, and lives according to the rhythms of the land and sea around her. This quote appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of British Columbia Magazine.

"If you spend the whole day getting mussels off the beach and you come home and cook them up with some snow peas from the garden, and you’re tired and wet, it’s more fulfilling than buying them in [a grocery chain like] Thrifty’s, because you actually had to participate in the process of your life as opposed to just being a consumer. Haida Gwaii does that for people; it allows them to go back to a time when they were more involved with their own lives, as opposed to when they were just watching or being led.

Would that we all had the opportunity to exist, at least for a time, in such an elemental state of engagement and harmony.

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 10:41 am in

Mar. 15 2013, 1:03 PM EDT

How should I do Haida Gwaii? byJOHN LEE
Special to The Globe and Mail Mar. 15 2013, 1:03 PM EDT>>Click

How should I do Haida Gwaii?


Special to The Globe and Mail

Last updated Friday, Mar. 15 2013, 1:03 PM EDT

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve is renowned for its ‘mythical and magical’ qualities. (Tourism British Columbia)

On my first seven-hour BC Ferries voyage from the province’s northern mainland to this remote 150-island archipelago, it was still officially named the Queen Charlotte Islands. I quickly fell for its edge-of-the-world appeal, First Nations heritage and population of welcoming locals.

One of these was Andrew Merilees, who guided me to some of the region’s less-accessible gems. Merilees still runs his tour company ( and is also the mayor of Masset, one of the islands’ larger communities. He’s not surprised Haida Gwaii tops many must-do travel lists. “There’s nowhere in Canada more mythic and magical,” says Merilees, who believes the region’s natural splendours – from surf-battered beaches to forest-backed clifftops – coupled with its indigenous culture are the main lures.

Many visitors start by flying into Skidegate then trying to see as much as possible. But “island time” is a way of life here and you’ll connect to Haida Gwaii more deeply if you slow down. The best way to begin? Join the locals on that languid ferry ride from mainland Prince Rupert.

Once you’ve docked, though, you’ll need a way to get around. “Rent a car or bring your own on the ferry,” advises Merilees. “There’s no bus service and Taxis are just in the major centres.”

He suggests must-see visits to the totem-fronted Haida Heritage Centre as well as Naikoon Provincial Park for a Tow Hill forest hike and a breathtaking North Beach stroll – on my second visit, I beachcombed here in the sun as locals plucked writhing crabs from the surf. On rainy days, I’d also recommend downloading the Art Route brochure at and exploring the islands’ many artisan studios.

Since rental rates are high here and roads are often very rough – many opt for guided tours for at least part of their trip. And that is best option for experiencing Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, the southern portion of the archipelago and the main source of those “mythic” and “magical” labels.

The forests are jaw-droppingly pristine with the evocative remains of old Haida settlements, and only accessible by boat or float plane. Merilees says that’s key to its appeal. “Haida Gwaii is totally different from the water,” he says, adding that encountering an abandoned village on the tree-fringed shoreline is a highlight.

Suggesting boat-based tour companies Moresby Explorers and Maple Leaf Adventures – the former also offers a kayaking option, while the latter provides sailing-ship excursions – he also recommends Inland Air. They run float-plane day tours, including one to SGaang Gwaii, where there’s a village site famed for its rows of ocean-facing totem poles.

Wherever you go in Haida Gwaii, hang with the locals as much as possible. You’ll overhear gossip at the laid-back, whalebone-lined Moon Over Naikoon bakery, while a stay at Copper Beach House B&B – described by Margaret Atwood on Twitter as “luverly” – should fill you in on any local knowledge gaps.

For memorable dining, don’t miss Keenawii’s Kitchen where Roberta Olson opens her waterfront home for seafood feasts. On one of my visits, I gorged on dried seaweed starters, shrimp and clam chowder and several dishes of butter-soft halibut, salmon and lingcod. Which reminds me: it’s about time for my next visit – perhaps during August’s Edge of the World Music Festival.

Follow John @johnleewriter.

Summer 2013

Joanne was one of the guests who stayed at Copper Beech last summer, when we brought a group of media out. The theme of this story is "love and romance"...

Find True Love in British Columbia: Your Guide to the Province's Wedding and Honeymoon Destinations
by Joanne Sasvari

From its snow-capped mountain peaks to its wave-swept beaches and all the enchanting getaways in between, British Columbia is a breathtaking destination for a wedding or honeymoon.

It all starts with that important question — and that even more important answer. Will she? Won't he?

The perfect proposal needs a perfectly romantic setting. And what could be more romantic than a whole city veiled in bridal blossoms? Come spring, when Vancouver's 37,000 cherry trees burst into fragrant pink and white bloom, love is in the very air across this cosmopolitan city, from its many parks to its most romantic restaurants.

Love is also in the crystalline air above Hudson Bay Mountain, which towers over Smithers in Northern BC, attracting not only skiers in search of pure powder, but young couples with love in their eyes. It hovers above the Kootenay Rockies, where couples can exchange their promises in the pristine wilderness, then seal the deal with a steamy dip in Halcyon Hot Springs near Nakusp.

And this year, love will very much be in the air everywhere on Leap Day, February 29, when it's the ladies' turn to propose to the gents. What man could resist the flair of a bride-to-be who books an unforgettable Canadian Snowmobile Adventure, complete with an intimate, three-course fondue dinner at the Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain?

Once he or she has said "yes," it's time to book that dream wedding.

The Wedding

In 2008, movie stars Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds took their vows at the remote, romantic Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island, a getaway as famous for its luxury tents as its wilderness activities, stunning scenery and exceptional locally sourced cuisine.

Ever since, brides and grooms have answered the call of the wild all over British Columbia.

They've boarded Prince Rupert Adventure Tours' big yellow yacht to say "I do" while viewing the grizzlies, eagles and whales of the mist-shrouded northern coast. They've exchanged vows under open skies at God's Mountain Estate in the Okanagan Valley, embracing the pastoral life and eclectic ambience of a unique wine country retreat. And they've affirmed their commitments while surrounded by 360 degrees of spectacular mountaintop scenery at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and at Whistler Blackcomb, where the legendary Roundhouse Lodge can start a marriage off with Olympic-sized dreams.

Of course, not everyone thinks rugged adventure and romance are a match made in heaven. For them, there is the comfortable elegance of Victoria's Oak Bay Beach Hotel, an oceanside hostelry built in 1927 that has just undergone a massive rejuvenation and will reopen in great style this spring. Another grand old hotel that has recently come back to gorgeous life is Vancouver's Rosewood Hotel Georgia, where the luxe Spanish ballroom is decked out in silver-tinted plasterwork as ornate as any wedding cake.

Those who prefer a wedding on a more intimate scale may opt instead for the historic charm of Richmond's Minoru Chapel. This quaint, 120-year-old nondenominational church draws 200 couples a year from as far away as China. They are attracted by its traditional Victorian ambience
— not to mention the exceptional Chinese banquets to be had in the Golden Village nearby.

The food of love is also on the menu at the Okanagan Valley's many wineries. At the Tuscan-themed Hester Creek Estate Winery, for instance, the happy couple will wed surrounded by rolling, vine-clad hills and feast on lovingly prepared local fare before escaping to one of the Mediterranean-style villas for a night of wedded bliss.

Couples who take that idea of escape even more seriously may choose, instead, to head to one of several British Columbia resorts that have become experts in modern elopements. They have specialists who can arrange everything from the wedding licence to the witnesses, photography, cake and, of course, dinner and accommodation. In fact, they can arrange it so that the happy couple doesn't have to do anything but show up and say, "I do."

Perched above the crashing waves of Vancouver Island's rugged west coast, the Wickaninnish Inn is a Relais & Chateaux property famous for its fine dining, spectacular views and romantic ambience, including an elopement specialist who will take care of every single detail, including a side-by-side hot stone massage.

Runaway brides and grooms who prefer big skies and cowboy boots can head to Echo Valley Ranch in the Cariboo Mountains, where the elopement co-ordinator will organize fly fishing for trout in open meadows, rides on Tennessee Walker horses, and a rejuvenating Thai massage. And still other couples will find their perfect romantic refuge among the "tenthouse suites" of Rockwater Secret Cove Resort & Spa on the Sunshine Coast, where the elopement package includes a romantic rose petal turndown service on the wedding night.

The Honeymoon

Victoria, with its horse-drawn carriages, pretty gardens and charming inns, has long been one of BC's favourite honeymoon destinations. Newlyweds can find the perfect little nook here, whether it be the historic grandeur of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the modern elegance of the Inn at Laurel Point Inn or the cosy intimacy of Abigail's Hotel, a heritage mansion with a spa tucked amid lush gardens.

But every corner of British Columbia offers a romantic destination for just-wed bliss.

On magical, mystical Haida Gwaii, for instance, the Copper Beech Guest House is the perfect getaway for those in love with words as well as each other. Owned by the poet Susan Musgrave, its cosy, book-lined walls have played host to famous writers including Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland and Pierre Trudeau.

Also in Northern BC, King Pacific Lodge is the ultimate luxury eco-wilderness getaway (complete with a well-appointed spa) in the Great Bear Rainforest, with access to fishing, heli-hiking, wilderness kayaking, whale watching and unbeatable views. And a little further south in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast's Bella Coola Valley, the historic Tweedsmuir Park Lodge has been a romantic getaway since the 1920s and still offers a relaxing refuge surrounded by forests and wildlife, including one of the healthiest grizzly bear habitats in the world.

The Kootenay Rockies, too, have their remote getaways, like the lovely Island Lake Lodge near Fernie, which is surrounded by 2,800 hectares (7,000 acres) of pristine wilderness. But couples yearning for a bit of urban action may prefer to stay at the historic Hume Hotel in downtown Nelson, a small city with a big appetite for art, culture and fine food.

Sheer luxury awaits newlyweds who book into Sparkling Hill Resort near Vernon in the Thompson Okanagan. The resort incorporates 3.5 million crystal elements in virtually every aspect of the property, its dazzling design perfectly set amidst the glittering snow-capped Monashee Mountains and shimmering waters of Lake Okanagan.

And who says you need to leave the city at all? With luxurious new hotels like the Shangri-La and the Fairmont Pacific Rim, as well as beaches, parks and gardens galore, Vancouver offers plenty of romantic escapes within the city — cherry blossom confetti free of charge.

Learn more about BC's romantic destinations at For more on British Columbia's destinations and travel information, call 1-800 HELLO BC® (North America) or visit

See a New Video: Masa visits with Author Susan Musgrave at her home.
NEW REVIEW:  click
Westworld Magizine has a new article about Copper Beech Guest House

"Looking Around Without Blinking" - Watch film directed by Scott Smith with Sarah, Jim and Bry in Haida Gwaii escorted by Bluewater Adventures:
National Parks Project

Mystery and Mischief in Poetry: Canadian Writer Susan Musgrave
BY Greta Aart & Susan Musgrave

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