Originally named Graham City, Masset (population 900) was founded in 1909 just south of a Haida community named Massett. Over time, Massett became known as Old Massett or Haida, and Graham City was incorporated as Masset (with one “t”). The population has decreased since downsizing began on the local Canadian Armed Forces Station, where at one time half the local population lived.
Bordering Masset to the east is Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can observe Canada geese, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, great blue herons, many varieties of ducks, and other waterfowl resting during migration. Several short walking trails wind through the preserve near town; follow Hodges Avenue west onto Trumpeter Drive and continue alongside the inlet to the trailhead. For better views, drive along Tow Hill Road toward Naikoon Provincial Park , turning left at the sanctuary sign onto Masset Cemetery Road.
If you’re in search of Haida treasures, head for the village of Old Massett, also known as Haida. It’s just a five-minute drive from Masset, west down the coastal road. Go as far as the road takes you and you’ll end up at the old blue schoolhouse, now Ed Jones Haida Museum (Sat.–Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. in summer, donation).
Inside, exhibits include a large collection of fascinating old photographs showing how the villages used to look, Haida art and prints, and some of the original totem poles from around the Queen Charlotte Islands . Outside you’ll find a partly completed canoe and a field sprinkled with more totems, these from a more recent era. Across from the museum is a carving shed where artists can be seen working throughout summer.