Over the course of the past 40 years, Lynn Holden travelled the country and visited all 20 Canadian World Heritage Site. Then she sat down and wrote a book about them.
Holden, who lived in Victoria Harbour before recently moving to Horseshoe Valley, started her unique journey in 1982. She visited Nahanni National Park, on the border of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, which features a wild river, deep canyons, huge waterfalls, caves and hot springs.
She then travelled to SGang Gwaay an island at the southern tip of the Haida Gwaii archipelago in B.C. The island was once home to a Haida community and features old, weathered totem poles.
After noticing World Heritage Site plaques at both of these locations, and while on a trek through the Rocky Mountains, Holden felt compelled to visit them all.
“I decided this must be my journey, my destiny. So, I started exploring all of the World Heritage sites in Canada,” said Holden.
There are currently 20 sites designated in Canada with four in Newfoundland, three in Nova Scotia, two in Ontario, five in Alberta, one in the Yukon, one in the Northwest Territories and one in B.C.
World Heritage Sites are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). There are currently 1,154 sites across 167 countries that have been recognized and protected due to their cultural, historical or scientific significance.
“It was always a dream that someday I would sit down and write a book about them and publish it,” said Holden.
Well, that dream has come true.
In 2018, she finally sat down and began creating the book. It includes pictures she captured on her journey, information on each site, what makes the sites so significant and offers up suggestions of places to visit nearby.
“I want other Canadians to understand that we have these outstanding places,” said Holden. “It was an amazing journey. If you can get away on a vacation, you should definitely go to a World Heritage site.”