A History of Sointula

If you’ve landed on our website, you probably already know a little bit about Sointula Lodge. Our Sointula accommodation is a destination for fishermen from around the world who come to fish for salmon, halibut, and more in the pristine waters that surround our island. The best all inclusive lodge BC has to offer isn’t just for the avid fisherman, either. 

Our customizable Wilderness Tours are ideal for outdoor lovers who want to enjoy hiking, wildlife spotting, fishing, and more! Or, try your hand at fishing for the first time with one of our fishing packages — no experience is required to book this trip! Our experienced guides will be there to lend a hand every step of the way.

You’ve already booked or are considering booking a bucket list adventure in British Columbia. But how much do you know about the town where our Lodge is located?

The town of Sointula, located on Malcolm Island on British Columbia’s coast, may be small, but it has a rich and unique history. Keep reading to learn more about this special destination ahead of your next visit!

The First Inhabitants of Sointula

Long before the town of Sointula was built, First Nations tribes lived in, foraged, and hunted on what is today Malcolm Island, as well as other nearby Islands, including Vancouver Island. The Kwakwaka’wakw people are one group of tribes that once inhabited the region. 

At its height, the tribes had 28 communities in the area, each of which spoke one of 4 dialects of the Kwakwaka’wakw language. Evidence exists of the Kwakwaka’wakw people settling the region as long as 8,000 years ago. Descendents of these tribes still live in the region today.

Finnish Immigrants Arrive in Search of Utopia

Malcolm Island’s first European settlers were Finnish immigrants who came from Vancouver Island in search of a better way of life. They left the dirty mines and religious persecution of Vancouver Island and landed on Malcolm Island. Here, they sought to build a self-sustaining Utopian village. Before leaving Vancouver Island, they created a company called the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company. They were granted 28,000 acres of land — the entirety of Malcolm Island — by British Columbia’s government.

The group arrived on Malcolm Island in 1902 to begin building their town. They named it “Sointula,” which means “the place of chord” in Finnish. At its height, the community reached more than 2,000 people. However, disaster plagued the settlement. 

They struggled to make a life in the harsh wilderness, and supplies ran low. In 1903, just a year after they arrived, a fire destroyed the community hall, claiming the lives of 11 people and destroying many vital supplies. The community held on for a few more years before folding in 1905. At this time, many of the members of the group moved away, and the land was given back to the government. The few settlers who did choose to stay were allowed to keep their land and the homes that they had built. 

Sointula Today

Today, fewer than 600 residents call Sointula home year-round. Many of these individuals are descendants of the Finnish immigrants who first settled the town. Visitors can still experience some of the Finnish influence in Sointula. Look for Finnish words on signs as well as traditional architecture. You can even sample Finnish pastries at a few places in town.

In the more than a century since that first settlement, many industries have passed through Sointula. Today, smaller commercial fishing operations and logging operations that flourished a few decades ago have begun to decline. Now, many of the island’s settlers use Sointula as a vacation destination, retirement home, or work in the tourism-related businesses on the island.

Booking the Best Sointula Accommodation

Ready to explore all that Sointula has to offer? First, you’ll need to book your Sointula accommodation! While our fishing and wilderness tours will keep you busy, if you choose, you’ll still have time to explore Sointula. Take a trip into town to stroll the waterfront, spot Finnish-inspired architecture, enjoy some fresh pastries, and more.

The town of Sointula is just a 10-minute drive from Sointula Lodge. If you’re interested in experiencing more of Sointula and Malcolm Island during your customizable Wilderness Tour, talk to your guide. He or she will be able to help you plan to hit the highlights during one day of your stay! 

As the best all inclusive lodge BC has to offer, Sointula Lodge is the perfect basecamp for exploring unique Malcolm Island and the surrounding islands, coastline, and waterways! Now is a great time to start planning your 2023 visit. Eager to experience Sointula Lodge for yourself? Spaces are still available for some of our Summer 2022 trips! Check out our available dates today to start planning your own adventure.