A Place of Harmony - Sointula
Utopia: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect
Sir Thomas More, who coined the word utopia, and wrote a novel by the same name, very likely never imagined how many communities would be formed in hope of achieving a perfect society.
In the late 1800s, Finnish immigrants came to Vancouver Island in search of a better life. Many of them worked in the coal mines. One of them, a man by the name of Kurrika, dreamed of a place where Finns could live an ideal life. He the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company Limited to encourage more Finns to immigrate to Canada.
He traveled up and down the coast, looking for land suitable for building such a community. In 1901, the provincial government granted the Kalevan Kansa Company ownership of Malcom Island. The island was promptly renamed Sointula, which means "harmony."
Here a few hardy souls attempted to create paradise from the wilderness. The task was unending. The colony was soon in debt for they discovered that making a living in this rough environment was an arduous business. Logging, fishing and agriculture proved insufficient. A disastrous fire combined with debt and disillusionment led to the dissolution of the colony within 10 years of its inception. Most of the Finnish immigrants left, but a few stayed, and other settlers joined them.
Today, Sointula is a small community whose members continue to struggle to make ends meet. Our neighbours grew up on the island and left for economic reasons about 20 years ago.
The houses are neat and most are painted in colours that bring brightness to the many grey, rainy days of the area. It's a gorgeous island. We drove out to Bere Point Campground.
Someone created this unique bench that has a view over the water.
The sun shone while we were there, and the air was very fresh and cold.
Orca whales come to these beaches to rub their tummies on the rocks. Here's a link to a youtube video showing the whales. We didn't see any whales during our visit to the beach.
While we were on the beach, a bald eagle lifted off from a tree just above us. I pointed my camera straight up to get this shot.
Enormous trees with tangles of roots lie on the beaches, thrown up as if they were toothpicks by the power of the waves.
We visited Sointula in late March during our road trip to the north island. Each island has its own culture and history, all fascinating.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.