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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Explorer Quotient

Authentic Explorer | Cultural Explorer | Cultural History Buff | Free Spirit | Gentle Explorer | No-hassle Traveller | Personal History Explorer | Rejuvenator | Virtual Traveller

Cultural History Buff

Visitor exploring the Hawaiian settlement homestead Hawaiian settlement homestead, Russell Island
© Parks Canada / Christian J. Stewart

You strive to go beyond your own roots to understand the history and culture of others. When you travel, you are likely pursuing a personal interest or hobby, making the experience more intrinsically rewarding. Travelling alone or in small groups, you seek the freedom to observe, absorb and learn at your own pace, unhurried by others or driven by rigid schedules.

From a historic Hawaiian homestead to a fabled fog alarm building, the park offers places to immerse yourself in the lore of eras gone by. Set your own schedule and choose a new gulf island to discover each weekend. Wherever you go in the Gulf Islands you will meet folks with unique traditions and ways of life – whether they be First Nations, hippies, yuppies or everything in between.

Book a kayak guide or water taxi and head to Russell Island– a place that time has forgotten. Nestled into a lush and mossy forest, a gnarled apple orchard and an old white house set the scene. Here, on summer afternoons and early evenings, descendents of the island’s original Hawaiian pioneer will regale you with stories of their ancestors’ lives on the island.

If you want to dig a little deeper before or after your visit, read one of the many fascinating books about the people of the area, such as Saltwater People (as told by Dave Elliot Sr. by Janet Poth) or Maria Mahoi of the Islands (by Jean Barman).

For the Cultural History Buff, we suggest…

If these walls could talk... – Step back in time at Roesland (North Pender Island) where you can see the original log cabins that were once part of a popular vacation destination and take a walk through the Pender Island Museum. Or, visit the recently renovated Fog Alarm Building at East Point on Saturna Island, chat with a local volunteer and hear tale tales of the islands.

History comes alive – Book a kayak guide or water taxi and head to Russell Island, where a forested trail leads you to a historic Hawaiian homestead. On summer afternoons, descendants of the original settler will regale you with stories of their ancestors’ lives on the islands.

History on the move – As you explore Sidney Island, discover the remnants of various settlements and industries such as an abandoned brick factory. Check out the interpretive signs found along the way to uncover clues from the past such as historical tidbits, maps and archival photos.

Go on a treasure hunt – Try one of our geocaching programs and embark on a self-guided adventure to experience some of the park’s most interesting cultural and natural hotspots. Choose from two routes: a family-friendly treasure hunt or a more strenuous route.