Sointula means 'place of harmony' in the Finnish language and was aptly named for the utopian ideals upon which the town was founded.
Malcolm Island occupies a unique place in coastal British Columbia’s history. Settled in 1901 by Finnish immigrants, Malcolm Island became a flourishing community centered on boat building and commercial fishing. While activity in commercial fishing has diminished and boat building has been replaced by boat repair, heritage tourism has become a key source of economic diversification.
Led by the Sointula Museum, this project built a viewing pavilion to display the Sturgeon I – a fully restored gillnet fishing boat built on Malcolm Island in 1948 and a tangible representation of both the boatbuilding and fishing industries that helped shape the region in the early and mid-20th century. The sheltered pavilion is constructed in a traditional Finnish post-and-beam style, complemented with interpretive panels that tell the story of the Sturgeon I and boat building on Malcolm Island.
Completed in July 2020, the display site helps expand provincial maritime heritage with the third restored and displayed historic vessel in BC. As tourism activity grows on Sointula, the project is anticipated to draw visitors, encourage longer stays and associated spending to proximate businesses. The pavilion complements a network of heritage sites in Sointula and the North Island, contributing to the potential for a heritage trail connecting historical points of interest throughout Vancouver Island.