The forgotten Hawaiian islands in Canada


In 2003, Portland Island, with its winding trails, sandstone cliffs and shell-midden beaches, had become part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR), a sprawling national park made up of protected lands scattered across 15 islands and numerous islets and reefs in the Salish Sea. Over the next 15 years, 17 abandoned orchards, on eight of the islands, were studied by Parks Canada archaeologists and cultural workers in order to gain a glimpse into the lives of early settlers in the region. On Portland Island, a new park sign told me, the heritage apples including Lemon Pippin, Northwest Greening, Winter Banana and Yellow Bellflower had been planted by a man called John Palau, one of the hundreds of Hawaiians who were among the earliest settlers in the region.

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