One third of the area of my découpage canvas assembled after a trip to northern British Columbia and Haida Gwaii features examples of spectacular natural beauty as I described in my last post. This second third will highlight often obscure, little-known places that I will always remember poignantly because they impacted my world view.
Museum of Northern British Columbia, Prince Rupert
Our visit to the Museum of Northern British Columbia in Prince Rupert, just up the street from Cow Bay, began in double practicality: refuge from an incessant deluge of rain, and an activity to stroke off the must-see list. Lucky for us, another couple showed up for the tour at two, meeting the minimum requirement for a go. The guide was wonderful. Not only did she show us bentwood boxes and clothing woven from cedar, she explained how those processes worked. She oriented us to the Haida world view and emphasized the importance of generosity in Haida society. In fact, she said, the only reason to acquire wealth in that culture is to give it all away and start again. A chief holds a potlatch feast for that very purpose. I kept thinking, The world needs more Haida. Thanks to her, and to the rain, we began our visit in Haida Gwaii the next day well-grounded in the history and culture of the Haida.
Haida Heritage Centre, Skidigate, Haida Gwaii
|Totem carving at HHC|
HHC was also a stop on our last day in Haida Gwaii. We participated in an intertidal walk facilitated by Parks Canada resource people. After an hour, this landlubber could find gueyducs poking out of the sand and dungeness crabs burrowed among the grasses on the beach. I got a look at sea cucumbers and various kinds of anemones.
|The bus bakery|
|Perfect rainy day hideout!|
Driftech Mechanical Services, Masset
|Our camper van comes through!|
Shady Rest RV Park and Campground, Houston, BC
Best campground ever—wonderful hosts, and eight separate self-contained bathrooms. Yes, that’s right—four for women, four for men: toilet, sink, shower, shelves, everything you need in separate units! The laundry was just as pristine—new machines, no rust, lots of room. What a find!!
QueenB’s Café, Queen Charlotte Village, Haida Gwaii
|Queen B's, Queen Charlotte Village|
Hidden in the heart of downtown Queen Charlotte, a stone’s throw from the Visitor Information Bureau, this great café serves up homemade everything. I had hearty soup and a warm biscuit, perfect for another rainy day.
BC Ferries at Skidigate, Haida Gwaii
Hats off to the employees of BC Ferries at Skidigate, who direct people onto the ship with a smile, as if those vehicles are the only ones they’ve had to place all day. At this terminal, Elmer had to back in onto the ship deck from the dock—a challenge he was up for. As the attendants guided him in place, they congratulated him on his expert driving. There’s a lesson here on the effect having fun at work has on everyone we meet.
Steakhouse on Main, Smithers, BC
We pull in to Smithers around 7 pm. We’ve been up since the ferry docked us safely again in Prince Rupert at 5 am. We’ve visited Kitselas canyon, soaked in the primeval energy of the Skeena River bursting out of the gorge, and seized the opportunity a three hour highway closure created to discover Kleanza Creek and make new friends. We’re tired, and we’re hungry, and we don’t want fast food. Like most of northern British Columbia, this steakhouse is not pretentious. It has a buffet bar, plain tables and chairs, and servers with a smile. It’s full when we get there, still, at 7 pm, a good sign. People are enjoying the buffet and the regular Friday night prime rib dinner. I order chicken quesadilla, with salad instead of fries. My meal is perfect, just what I need. The salad is crisp, fresh, overflowing with freshly grated carrots, tomato, cucumber, and celery. Not one rusty or slimy bit of lettuce, like you find in some restaurants where they get their salad greens in giant bags, and no one sorts through it before it his the plate. The quesadilla has real chicken, just enough cheese, and no taste of oil. This plate has been prepared with TLC. I convey my gratitude to the server, the chefs, anyone who will listen.
Medici’s, Oliver, BC
On the way to my cousin’s vineyard just outside Oliver, we find a wonderful Italian café that serves paninis, homemade sorbetto and gelato, and specialty coffees for any taste. This renovated church replicates a corner of Italy in a southern British Columbia wine town. What a delight!
Of course, in all these locations, we have encountered affable, congenial people who graced our days. They have a prominent place in the découpage and in its cumulative effect. Stay tuned for Post 3. Thanks for reading.