Sointula: A Hidden Gem in British Columbia

Nestled on the northern coast of Vancouver Island, Sointula is a small community that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Founded in 1901 by Finnish immigrants, Sointula has a rich heritage that is still evident in its architecture, festivals, and way of life. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or just a peaceful retreat, Sointula has something to offer.

Attractions and Natural Wonders

  • Sointula Museum: Housed in a historic building that was once a co-operative store, the museum showcases the history of the Finnish settlement and its impact on the region. Visitors can see artifacts, photographs, and documents that tell the story of Sointula's past.
  • Bere Point Regional Park: Located on Malcolm Island, just a short ferry ride from Sointula, this park offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can hike, picnic, or watch for wildlife, including orcas, seals, and eagles.
  • Sointula Beach: This sandy beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. It's also a great place to watch the sunset over the water.
  • Sointula Winter Festival: Held every February, this festival celebrates the Finnish tradition of sisu (perseverance) with events such as a polar bear swim, a tug-of-war competition, and a dance party. Visitors can also enjoy Finnish food, music, and crafts.

Parks, Lakes, and Trails

  • Sointula Waterfront Trail: This scenic trail follows the shoreline of Sointula Bay and offers views of the marina, the mountains, and the ocean. It's a great place for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride.
  • Big Lake: Located just outside of Sointula, this lake is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and swimming. It's surrounded by forests and mountains, making it a picturesque destination.
  • Malcolm Island Provincial Park: This park covers the entire island and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can see bald eagles, black bears, and other animals in their natural habitat.

Roadside Attractions

  • Sointula Mural: Located on the side of a building in the town center, this colorful mural depicts the history and culture of Sointula. It's a great spot for a photo op.
  • Sointula Co-op: This historic building was once the heart of the Finnish co-operative movement in Canada. Today, it houses a grocery store, a cafe, and a gift shop that sells Finnish products.
  • Sointula Cemetery: This peaceful cemetery is the final resting place of many of the town's early settlers. It's a quiet spot for reflection and contemplation.

History of Sointula

Sointula was founded in 1901 by a group of Finnish immigrants who were seeking a better life in Canada. Led by a charismatic socialist named Matti Kurikka, they established a co-operative community that was based on the principles of equality, democracy, and self-sufficiency. The name "Sointula" means "harmony" in Finnish, and it reflected the community's vision of a peaceful and prosperous society.

Over the years, Sointula faced many challenges, including economic hardship, political repression, and cultural assimilation. However, the community persevered, and its legacy can still be seen today in its architecture, festivals, and way of life. In 1965, Sointula was incorporated as a village, and it remains a vibrant and close-knit community to this day.


Sointula may be a small community, but it has a big heart and a rich history. Whether you're interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or just a peaceful retreat, Sointula has something to offer. From its scenic trails and parks to its historic buildings and festivals, Sointula is a hidden gem that is waiting to be discovered.


  • "Sointula: The Finnish Utopia in Canada" by David Rennie (2005)
  • "Sointula: Island Utopia" by Michael Riordon (1983)
  • "Sointula: A Village in Time" by Susan Juby (2013)
  • "Malcolm Island: A History" by Jeanette Taylor (2010)
  • "Bere Point Regional Park" by BC Parks
  • "Malcolm Island Provincial Park" by BC Parks