Finnish immigrants established this charmingly rustic harbour town on Malcolm Island in the late 19th century. Their vision of a utopian community failed yet the island is clearly “paradise found” for the small resident population. Get here by a 25-minute ferry ride from Port McNeill. Dine casually in the village and shop at B.C.’s oldest cooperative store before exploring the island by car or bike. One highlight: The Beautiful Bay Trail and its viewing platform above a rocky beach that orcas use as a natural bellyscratcher
Through the eyes of the travellers
Things to do in Sointula
- Catch the ferry for the breezy trip from Port McNeill to Malcolm Island and the rustic village of Sointula, founded in 1901 by Finnish immigrants seeking to establish a utopian community. Bring your bike, then head out on explorations of a mostly flat and pleasantly rideable island terrain.
- In Sointula itself, visit a handful of galleries, shop at the cooperative store (the oldest such coop in BC), enjoy a Finnish sauna, visit a craft studio and drop into the Sointula Museum to learn about the island’s remarkable history.
- Beachcombers delight in wandering the shoreline at Bere Point Regional Park. A viewing platform here overlooks a rubbing beach visited by orcas as they swim to and from the Queen Charlotte Strait. Hike the Beautiful Bay Trail from the Bere Point campsite.
- Outdoor activities include mountain biking on Malcolm Island logging roads and hikes along a collection of lovely trails, among them the Mateoja Heritage Trail (a 6km route highlighted by a marsh boardwalk section and the site of an early 1900s homestead) and the waterfront Kaleva Road Walkway (a 3km interpretive nature trail with viewing platforms, benches and picnic tables).