Zaya Zaleska holds a tray of butter tarts at the Moon Over Naikoon Bakery, open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the Labour Day long weekend. The bakery bus is 8 km east of Masset along Tow Hill Road — turn right at the scent of cinnamon buns. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Zaya Zaleska holds a tray of butter tarts at the Moon Over Naikoon Bakery, open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the Labour Day long weekend. The bakery bus is 8 km east of Masset along Tow Hill Road — turn right at the scent of cinnamon buns. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Masset Magic: Bus bakery warms the heart

Wendy Riley's charm keeps shining at the Moon Over Naikoon Bakery.

By Evelyn von Almassy

Hello Masset people! This will be a weekly column shared by two writers. I will keep you in suspense as to who the other writer is, though some Facebook readers already know. We are both very excited to be writing again, and for myself, I know it will get me out of my cabin more often, to find out what is going on in this beautiful little community.

After 17 years of living in the village of Queen Charlotte, I am back to the community where I first lived for 10 years when I arrived on these beautiful islands. One of the draws of moving back to Masset was access to one of the jewels of Graham Island: North Beach. My little dog Ewok revels in beach walking, and of course we always find something interesting on our walks.

During my hiatus, surfing has become a major sport, and sees kids as young as five jumping on the boards. Paddleboards are also a new way to connect with the ocean. The Yoga Pit is a new business in the back of the North Beach Surf Shop, which also houses a massage therapist.

One of the great things that makes up the magic of Masset is the Moon Over Naikoon Bakery. This entity began in Paul Bower’s Whale Museum on North Beach, which was on the way to Tow Hill. Wendy Riley began her work in this popular spot, but sadly, it burned down about 10 years ago. Then the café moved to the small cabin just beside that spot.

I visited the Moon Over Naikoon Bakery, which is now in a “bus with a difference” just “eight kilometres out of town” past the Red Barn. Cora Camire was the person working at the bakery when I dropped in to chat. Cora has an interesting history with the business since before she was born, as her mother, Shannon Greenwood, was pregnant with her when she worked at the bakery. And when Cora was five, she used to sweep the porch in exchange for one of Wendy’s famous cinnamon buns.

When I asked what she liked best about working in the bakery, Cora said it was meeting new people. A lot of people are from Vancouver, Victoria, Prince Rupert, and Terrace. There are also many people visiting from Germany. She said locals usually stay longer, with different groups of people at times evolving into one big conversation. The atmosphere is chill, and there is music playing on a woodstove.

The bakery opened at the beginning of May, and the two other staff include Wendy’s daughter Paige, and Paige’s daughter Jody. All working in the bus for the summer.

Moon Over Naikoon is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Everything is made from scratch, and they serve pizza, soups, different kinds of buns, salads, cookies, butter tarts, squares, and muffins. On Sundays they serve brunch, which is usually an egg dish, with sausages or bacon.

Sadly, Wendy passed away a few months ago. But her spirit lives on in the atmosphere of the bakery, and in her friends that think of her often. There will be a memorial tea for Wendy on June 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Howard Phillips Hall.

One of the benefits for being a senior (65-years-young) is that the Village of Masset offers a seniors rate for utilities. All you need to do is to go the village office with your proof of age. What a cool deal!

Please send me your news at almassy@qcislands.net. My deadline is every second Thursday, and you can also message me on Facebook. Enjoy your week, and consider doing something you have never done before. It makes life even more interesting!

Haida Gwaii Observer

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