Sointula Island Utopia

by Paula Wild

Archival photographs
Contemporary images by Rick James
Published by Harbour Publishing ISBN 9781550174564

The story of Canada’s socialist-utopian community.Sointula Island Utopia book cover

Sointula was foun­ded in 1901 by Finnish set­tlers. Driven from their nat­ive land by the tyranny of the Russian Czar, the Finns found oppres­sion and poverty in Dunsmuir’s Vancouver Island coal mines. Determined to cre­ate a bet­ter life, they formed the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company and moved to Malcolm Island, a small island off the north­east side of Vancouver Island, B.C. They called their uto­pia Sointula, the Finnish word for har­mony.

Lead by cha­ris­mat­ic but imprac­tic­al Matti Kurikka, the Finns worked cooper­at­ively to make their dream a real­ity. But poverty, a dis­astrous fire and argu­ments about free love res­ul­ted in the colony’s col­lapse. Disillusioned, many Finns left the island. But those that remained became known all along the coast for their tenacity and skills in the fish­ing and log­ging indus­tries, as well as their involve­ment in labour uni­ons.

In the 1960s a new wave of uto­pi­ans made their way to the island. Although the hip­pies were shunned by many res­id­ents, some of the older Finns saw sim­il­ar­it­ies to the hopes and dreams that their ancest­ors had struggled to achieve.

Sointula Island Utopia may be pur­chased through inde­pend­ent book stores and through Amazon and Chapters. Paula is also happy to auto­graph and mail books. Email Paula for details.

Paula lived in Sointula for 13 years.

A Vancouver Sun BC Bestseller

BC Historical Federation Certificate of Merit

Reviews

The book is well struc­tured and the author has chosen her mater­i­al with con­sid­er­able skill…a sig­ni­fic­ant addi­tion to works on British Columbia.” BC Historical Federation.

Paula Wild tells this story of ideal­ism, per­son­al and ideo­lo­gic­al con­flict and the evol­u­tion of an isol­ated com­munity in great detail. A wealth of doc­u­ment­ary mater­i­al, oral evid­ence and fas­cin­at­ing pho­to­graphs are pieced togeth­er to give a defin­it­ive his­tor­ic­al account of the devel­op­ment of a com­munity. The res­ult is an invalu­able his­tory of a place and its people.” Stephen Escritt, Books from Finland.

Click here: Sointula Island to read an excerpt.