Monday, 6 February 2012

Why I love Masset

By Joyce Hayden

“Masset Inlet, is I think the most beautiful spot I have ever seen, and on this account and
because of its superior climate, the town of Masset should succeed as a residential town alone.”

So said S.A.G. Finch in a report to the directors of the Fishing Syndicate of British Columbia. The report was quoted in a 1914 brochure on the Queen Charlottes, put out by a British company hoping to outfit immigrants to the islands.

Many people agreed, and made Masset their home. I’m one of them. How about you?

Photo Credit: Ian Gould
Have you ever stood on the shore of Masset Inlet and watched the trollers go out on the tide, or felt the wind in your face as you walked along Ops Beach? Or sat quietly on a driftwood log and watched waves pound in? Or filled your pockets with agates, as you wandered along Agate Beach? Or dug for clams beyond Tow Hill, then spent three days cleaning and canning what it took two hours to dig?

Photo Credit: Ian Gould
And have you felt the gentle island mist on your  upturned face, or walked the streets of Masset in a raging storm, soaked to the bone and chilled through, yet filled with exultation. Or perhaps you’ve simply sat in the sun and watched the daffodils grow? If you have, you’re likely hooked. Like me.

Photo Credit: Ian Gould

Photo Credit: Ian Gould

It’s lovely to live where the air is sweet and clean, where it’s washed each day by the rain, then dried in the wind. Where the geese fly by, honking out their daily schedule.

Photo Credit: Ian Gould
And I like to be able to walk from one end of town to the other, day or night. And to read the big bulletin boards at Masset Grocery, the Credit Union and the Co-op. They seem to chart the life of the village.

Photo Credit: Ian Gould
And an interesting life it is. We’re such a varied lot. There is always someone interesting to talk to. Someone of different background, with different viewpoints, ideas and opinions. No cookie-cutter community this. It’s more like a good seafood stew, sharp and tangy, with a little of everything tossed in. Makes for lots of flavour, but it takes awhile to break through the shells. Once through, it’s delightful.

         Photo Credit: Ian Gould
And it has ever been thus. Masset’s history is fascinating. Have you ever heard of Dutch Annie, who retired on the Charlottes and built a big house in Delkatla? Or about the Udall II, once a missionary boat, then a
fishing troller, then finally sold to someone who seemed more interested in its oven than its fishing gear? Now its remains rest peacefully on the east coast where it began so many years ago. And did you know there was once a gold smelter in Masset? And that Cookie the cow had a calf named Biscuit?
 Someone called it the land beyond the rainbow. I can’t think of a more fitting description.
Sure, I get lonely. Sometimes I miss the stores, and the hordes of people. Then I remember the pollution, and high heels. That’s what I left behind. Pollution, high heels and rush, rush, rush.
Why would I want to go back? I don’t know. Do you?
The stories go on and on and on. And I love them. And I
love Masset.

Photo Credit: Ian Gould
Joyce Hayden was The Haida Gwaii Observer’s Masset
columnist during the 1980s.

No comments:

Post a Comment