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World Heritage: Canada

Gwaii Haanas

British Columbia
Geographical Location:
52° N – 131° W

Gwaii Haanas represents more than 10 000 years of Connection between land, sea and Haida culture. It possesses undisturbed old-growth temperate rainforest and a diverse marine life, and is a “natural laboratory” for the study of island ecology, biogeography and evolution.

Gwaii Haanas © Mondor, C.

In few other places in the world can one experience such a diversity of life and habitats — from undersea kelp forests, to old-growth rain forests. As one of the few places in Canada not covered by glaciers during the most recent Ice Age, Gwaii Haanas retains a unique assemblage of species, many endemic to the Queen Charlotte Islands. Tucked on shore-line cliffs are some of the largest seabird colonies and sea lion rookeries known. The invertebrate life in the intertidal and subtidal zones is highly diverse, and the habitat supports migrating shorebirds and marine mammals, including killer whales and migrating grey whales. Traditional homeland of the Haida, the area includes remnants of houses and carved mortuary and memorial poles, commemorating the culture of the Haida and their close relationship with the land and sea. Like the mist that permeates the forest, the rich culture of the Haida infuses Gwaii Haanas. The existing SGaang Gwaii World Heritage Site would be incorporated into this broader proposal.