Malcolm Island in British Columbia has a year-round population of less 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. And with each passing year, the number of people who visit Malcolm Island is on the rise.

What draws visitors to this remote destination? That depends on each individual visitor. Malcolm Island has something to offer to many different types of travelers. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing destination, an exciting fishing excursion, or want to get close to nature, Malcolm Island is the perfect destination.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Malcolm Island with this ultimate guide.

A Brief History of Malcolm Island

The first settlers on Malcolm Island arrived in the early 1900s. A group of Finnish immigrants looking to build a better community, away from the coal mines of Vancouver Island, chose the island for it’s beauty and remote location. They founded the island’s main town and named it Sointula, which translates to “a place of harmony.”

At Sointula’s height, the community was home to more than 2,000 people. But within a decade, the community began to fade. While the population may be far smaller than it once was, much of 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.

Top Things to Do on Malcolm Island

There’s no shortage of things to see and do on Malcolm Island. If you’re booking a fishing package at a resort on the island and have some extra time or are even looking to get away to the island for a weekend, there’s no shortage of things to enjoy.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top things to do on Malcolm Island.

Stop By the Co-Op Store

Located in the downtown area of what is now Sointula, the 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.

Whale watching is a popular activity elsewhere on the island as well. If you’re planning a stay at one of the island’s fishing lodges, you may just get lucky and spot a whale, dolphin, or other sea life during your time on the water, too.

Book a Stay at a Luxury Fishing Lodge

The beautiful Sointula Lodge is one of the island’s top destinations for outdoor lovers and fishing enthusiasts alike. Whether it’s’ your first time casting a line or you’re an experienced fisherman, this destination is the ultimate spot to fish for salmon, halibut, and more, with experienced guides in an all-inclusive experience. 

After spending your day on the water, you’ll return to their picturesque lodge for delicious meals and plenty of relaxation. Warm-up by the campfire or hop in the hot tub and relax beneath the stars!

Planning Your Next Visit to Malcolm Island

Whether you’re planning a quick getaway or the ultimate bucket-list trip to a luxury fishing lodge, Malcolm Island is a must-see British Columbia destination. 

While the island has maintained the tranquility and small-town feel that makes it so special, it still has all of the amenities that visitors need to enjoy a relaxing and fun visit. Choose from hotels in Sointula that put you in the heart of the action, or a luxury fishing lodge located nearby for an all-inclusive experience.

Start planning your next visit to our beautiful and unique island today!