Another summer season on Malcolm Island has come and go. With most of the island’s visitors coming between late Spring and early Fall, we’re still months away from the next tourist season. But now is a great time to start planning your next Sointula BC adventure.
While you wait out the winter months, browse the many Sointula hotels and vacation rentals to find the right one for your stay. Or, check out the packages at Sointula Lodge, the island’s luxurious, all-inclusive fishing lodge. You’ll want to get a start on booking your travel plans, especially if you plan to take a seaplane to Malcolm Island. Or, check out the BC Ferries schedule from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, and then from Port McNeil to Sointula.
Another great way to pass the time before your next visit to Sointula British Columbia is to learn a little about the history of the island, and get a feel for its culture. Despite being home to fewer than 600 year-round residents, a few of the island’s current and past inhabitants have written books and poems about this special place. Keep reading to learn a few books about Sointula that are perfect for reading before your next visit.
Sointula: Island Utopia by Paula Wild
Despite the island’s small size, Malcolm Island has a long and storied history. The community of Sointula started at the turn of the 20th century when a group of Finnish immigrants left Vancouver Island, and the harsh working conditions they had in the mines there. They established the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Group, and started building a utopian community on Malcolm Island. The group was plagued by challenges and disasters, including a devastating 1903 fire that killed 11 people and destroyed many of their vital supplies. The group folded, and some members left. Others stayed behind, and their descendents continue to inhabit the island today.
In Sointula: Island Utopia, author Paula Wild goes into greater depth about this early community and it’s many struggles. Wild lived in Sointula for a number of years. In writing her book, she spoke with more than 40 residents and translated Finnish letters and documents from the time period. This book is a great way to get an in-depth history of this special community. After reading it, be sure to look for some of the cultural and historic details that still exist in the town today, including the Finnish architecture, the signs written in both Finnish and English, and the Finnish influence in stores and cafes in town.
You can get this book directly from the publisher’s website.
Hannus by Rachel Lebowitz
In Hannus, author Rachel Lebowitz has created a poetic biography of one of Sointula’s most unique residents. Ida Hannus was a Finnish-Canadian socialist and suffragist who lived in Vancouver. Ida moved to Sointula when the first commune was created, at the start of the 1900s. Through beautiful poetry, the book follows Ida’s incredible life and work, and the struggles faced by the residents of this hopeful community.
Through the eyes of one of the settlement’s own, this book is a great opportunity to get a better feel for what life was like on Malcolm Island more than 100 years ago. While the town has changed, much of the unspoiled wilderness of British Columbia hasn’t. As you gaze out at the water, imagine what these early settlers saw and felt when they arrived on the island, with no cellphones and internet to help them check British Columbia’s sometimes unpredictable weather, no cafes to grab a quick coffee or lunch, and no luxurious hotels and relax in.
Sointula by Bill Gaston
Unlike the other books on this list, Sointula, by Bill Gaston, is a fiction novel, set in the town of Sointula. The book follows Evelyn, a woman who begins the book by visiting the deathbed of a lover from long ago. Overcome with sadness, Evelyn chooses to stop taking her medications, and embarks on a journey to find her son, who is lost in the Canadian wilderness. The novel might not tell the history of the island, but it does describe the beauty and many of the landmarks you’ll see while visiting Malcolm Island.
This novel is available on Amazon.
Planning Ahead for Your Summer 2023 Sointula BC Adventure
Summer 2023 will be here before we know it! This means that now is a great time to start planning your visit to Sointula BC. Booking your hotels, vacation packages, fishing charters, and travel arrangements early will help you guarantee your choice of dates and locations. It’s also a great way to give yourself time to learn a little more about the history of Malcolm Island before you arrive. These books are a great place to start!
Haven’t started your Summer 2023 planning yet? Check out our transportation and flight planning resources to get started today!