Masset, British Columbia

Masset, British Columbia
Village of Masset
—  Village  —
Old Massett and its impressive collection of longhouses and totem poles.
Location of Masset in British Columbia
Coordinates: 54°01′22″N 132°05′56″W / 54.02278°N 132.09889°W / 54.02278; -132.09889
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Region Haida Gwaii
Regional district Skeena-Queen Charlotte
Incorporated 1961
 – Governing body Masset Village Council
 – Mayor Barry Pages
 – Total 19.45 km2 (7.5 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (33 ft)
Population (2006)
 – Total 940
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
Highways 16
Waterways Dixon Entrance

Masset (pronounced /ˈmæsɨt/, formerly Massett[1]) is a village in Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia, Canada. It is located on the northern coast of Graham Island, the largest island in the archipelago, and is approximately 50 km (31 mi) west of mainland British Columbia. It is the western terminus of the Yellowhead Highway. During the Maritime Fur Trade of the early 19th century Masset was a key trading site.



The name Masset was a gift from the Captain of a Spanish vessel that was repaired with the assistance of the Haida citizens of Atewaas, Kayung and Jaaguhl. These three villages accepted the gift and adopted the name Masset to commemorate what might be the first ever contact between Europeans and the Haida.

During the early years of Canadian colonization the name Masset and the post office were adopted by the former Reverend Charles Harrison as part of his scheme to sell land.

The name Masset is currently in use by the Village of Masset, a municipality under Canada legislation and the Village of Old Massett, the original recipient of the name and a village under the Constitution of the Haida Nation.

According to Walbran[2]:323 Masset came from the Haida word, Masst or large island. Captain Douglas, on his second visit from Nootka Sound aboard the Iphigenia on June 19, 1789 named the bay leading to the inlet McIntyre's Bay. This name was used on the charts of Dixon and Meares. The American traders called the inlet, Hancock's River as shown in Ingraham's chart of 1792 after the American brig Hancock. In 1853 H.N. Knox of the Royal Navy, mate on HMS Virago, did a sketch survey of the harbour when the name Masset was adopted by the British. A survey was made in 1907 by Captain Learmouth on HMS Egeria.

Military base

A FRD-10 based military intelligence gathering station, CFS Masset, that was key in monitoring communications in the northern portions of the former Soviet Union during the Cold War is located just outside Masset, near the northern tip of Graham island.

Notable people from Masset


The climate, moderated by a warm Pacific current from Japan, is generally mild with no extremes in temperature. Annual temperature varies only 20 degrees Celsius but is variable and unpredictable - even within a 24-hour period. This explains the often heard[according to whom?] maxim, "If you don’t like the weather, wait 20 minutes." Average rainfall is 150 centimeters,[dubious ] snowfall 28 centimeters and there is generally a breeze, most often out of the southeast.

Summer temperatures are in the 15 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius range and the days are long - May, June, July boasting 18 to 20 hours of daylight. August and May general have the most sun but there is a fair degree of rain throughout the summer months. Winter months are mild with temperatures in the 0 - 8 degrees Celsius range and while precipitation is usually in the form of rain there can be some snowfall. Conditions can become severe without warning and Masset has registered wind gusts to 160 km/h (100 mph).

See also


  1. ^ "Masset". BC Geographical Names. 
  2. ^ Walbran, Captain John T. (1971), British Columbia Place Names, Their Origin and History (Facsimile reprint of 1909 ed.), Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN 0-88894-143-9, 

Coordinates: 54°0′36″N 132°8′17″W / 54.01°N 132.13806°W / 54.01; -132.13806

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