Boatbuilding Families of Greater Masset

Massett Boatbuilding

From time immemorial, in the land of monumental cedars, Haida have been building tluu canoes and traveling the waters around Haida Gwaii and far beyond.  After colonization,  the removal to reservations and implementation of residential schools almost wiped out the north island populations, Haida traditional boat building transitioned to commercial boat building. Many a boat building shed could be found along the waterfront of Gaw Káahlii Masset Inlet.  The Old Massett Mosquito fleet was well known and respected along the entire coast but the canneries who financed the boat building by Haida ended up repossessing the boats in the 1950’s.  Yet the traditions and skills managed to survive and  Haida descendants like John Bennett are preserving the skills and protecting the knowledge. 

Built in his boat shed in Old Massety, a stunning carvel boat by John Bennett is on display in the museum.

The Wylie Collaboration

Alex Wylie from Masset was, in the words of John Bennett, the greatest influence in advancing the boatbuilding legacy of Masset and Gaw Tlagée Old Massett. Alex worked alongside John’s father to build the best boats suited for fast and efficient fishing on the north coast. 


Permanent Collection

Come check out the museum staples including BC’s oldest European artificat