Sointula Island Utopia

Sointula Island Utopia

Archival photographs
Contemporary images by Rick James
Published by Harbour Publishing

The story of Canada’s socialist-utopian community.


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


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.


Banner photo: The Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet, BC. Photo by Paula Wild