Sointula means “place of harmony” in Finnish. This charming seaside town on sprawling Malcolm Island was established as a community in 1901 when a colony of Finnish settlers arrived with utopian dreams of building the perfect community. While that vision was derailed within a decade, there’s no question these visionaries chose the right place for a fresh air and salt water paradise on earth.
Most visitors today arrive here via a 25-minute BC Ferries sailing from Port McNeill. Many park their cars and either travel as pedestrians or bring their bicycles and mountain bikes to linger and enjoy the pleasures of village life in Sointula itself. But there is much exploring to do so visitors keen on visiting popular island destinations like Bere Point, Mitchell Bay or the Pulteney Point Lighthouse are sure to drive over. Maritime traffic in the area often utilize the good moorage in the Malcolm Island Lions Harbour, a well-known and popular boating layover.
Head out for adventure on an island that sits pretty between the Broughton Strait and the more turbulent open waters of the Queen Charlotte Strait. Hikers can strike out along the Mateoja Heritage Trail, which begins on Third Street above the town site; it meanders back in time to an early 1900’s homestead before reaching the local swimming hole at Big Lake. Or they head for Bere Point Regional Park, the island’s only public campground. It’s the starting point for the Beautiful Bay Trail, which winds through rainforest along a rocky ridge that offers breathtaking ocean glimpses. Some hikers are lucky enough to witness a passing pod of orcas. Even more remarkable is the sight of these black-and-white killer whales rubbing on the smooth pebble beaches. Best viewpoint for this natural spectacle is the platform at the start of the Beautiful Bay Trail.
History and culture are alive in Sointula. Visit the local museum to learn about the island’s unique history. Or get a present-tense taste of idealism in action by visiting BC’s longest running cooperative general store, formed as the Sointula Co-operative Store Association in 1909. There is also a vibrant arts scene thanks to the many artists and musicians who call Malcolm Island home. Discover this wealth of original talent while browsing through shops, galleries and studios. The Sointula Resource Centre Society’s visitor information staff can point the way to the island’s B&B establishments and other accommodation options.
Sointula is located on Malcolm Island, which is a 25 minute ferry from Port McNeill. View the Port McNeill to Malcolm Island (Sointula) route for schedules and fares.
For information on Vancouver Island North see Drive BC provincial highway information.