One of the things that make Sointula Lodge so unique is our location. Situated on an island off the coast of Vancouver Island and mainland Canada, our remote location means that you’ll get to experience British Columbia’s pristine wilderness. You’ll explore untouched forests and cast a line in stunning waters teeming with fish and wildlife. You’ll also get to experience the home of our fishing lodge; Malcolm Island.
Malcolm Island is a small island situated between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada. The island is around 15 miles long and three miles wide at its widest point. It has a year-round population of fewer than 700 people. But starting in the late spring and stretching into summer and fall, that number swells as visitors from around the world flock to this beautiful, tranquil island destination.
Many people come to the island to experience the incredible salmon fishing you can do in the waters that surround it. However, there’s far more to the island than just fishing. It also has a rich and unique history and a variety of other attractions. If you’re planning a visit to our fishing lodge in the future, keep reading to learn more about the unique island that you’ll get to experience.
The History of Malcolm Island
Malcolm Island has a rich and unique history and culture that you can still experience today. The island was likely inhabited by native tribes for hundreds of years. But in the early 1900s, the first European settlers arrived. They were a group of Finnish immigrants who left the harsh working conditions of the coal mines on Vancouver Island in search of a better life. The group chose Malcolm Island for its beauty and remote location. They founded the island’s main town and named it Sointula, which translates to “a place of harmony” in Finnish.
These early settlers led a communal life and sought to create their own utopian society. At Sointula’s height, the community was home to more than 2,000 people. But within a decade, the community began to fade. A fire destroyed much of their supplies and took the lives of a number of residents. Much of the rest of the population left just a few years after the town was founded.
While the population may be far smaller than it once was, the Finnish influence lives on in Sointula. You’ll even find the Finnish language displayed on signs in the community, and spoken by locals. The colorful homes are also a reflection of Finnish design and architecture.
Malcolm Island Today
While the town of Sointula may be small, today it is home to a variety of businesses catering to the tourists that flock here each summer. This includes a variety of shops, restaurants, art galleries, and our own popular Malcolm Island inn, Sointula Lodge.
There’s no shortage of things to see and do on Malcolm Island. If you want to experience some of what the island has to offer, you can plan time during your fishing lodge stay to explore the town and the island’s many attractions. Let’s take a look at a couple of must-see attractions.
Stop By the Co-Op Store
Located in the downtown area of what is now Sointula, the Sointula Co-Op store was actually founded before the town, in 1909. Today, it’s the longest-running cooperative general store in all of British Columbia.
At the Co-Op, you can stock up on groceries and snacks for your trip, as well as other goods and souvenirs like clothing, toys, and more. Don’t let the island location fool you; you’ll find no shortage of fresh and delicious produce and other goods at the Co-Op.
Visit the Orca Rubbing Beach
One of the most unique attractions that you’ll find on Malcolm Island is its famous orca-rubbing beach.
Located at Bere Point in Bere Point Regional Park, this beach is known for being a unique spot where orcas come close to shore to “rub” against the rocks. Why these orcas rub their backs and bellies on this specific spot is unknown. But if you’re lucky enough to see this phenomenon during your visit, you’ll understand why it draws so many visitors to the island hoping for a look.
Orcas only visit the rubbing beach during the summer months and may visit at various times during the day. Their “rubbing sessions” last anywhere from 15 minutes to more than 2 hours.
If you have your heart set on spotting whales and other wildlife during your stay at our fishing lodge, consider booking one of our Wilderness Tour packages. These packages allow you to customize your visit, and enjoy wildlife tours in addition to fishing, hiking, and more.
Planning Your Next Visit to Our Malcolm Island Fishing Lodge
Our location on beautiful Malcolm Island is certainly one of the things that make Sointula Lodge one of the best fishing lodges that British Columbia has to offer.
Ready to see for yourself what makes the island and our fishing lodge so special? Now is the time to book your next visit! Spots are already filling fast for our 2023 season. Book your trip today to guarantee your spot.