We recently stumbled on the new and growing trend of “homemade tourism” (think everything from handmade jewelry to baked goods to pottery to microbreweries and all points in between!). The trend is generally most visible in events like community craft fairs, school fair fundraisers, and local artisan studio tours.
Our recent trip to Malcolm Island was just a tad early for the official kick off of the First Annual Sointula Craft Tour but Robin at The Oceanfront Hotel was awesome and able to connect us with many of the artists participating in the tour. They opened their studios early for us to preview their collections for when the upcoming tour starts in December 2018.
Just a short ferry ride away from Port McNeill is Malcolm Island. Having never been here we did some research before arriving. It was built by Finnish settlers who wanted the community to be a utopia—a place where everything is perfect. While that didn’t quite work out as planned, there is certainly a strong sense of community, neighbours helping one another, and people working together for the greater good of the island. Also, with every Gulf Island comes two things: a laid-back island feel and a totally unique culture that is simultaneously both like and unlike the other Gulf Islands.
Forty two years ago a few tree planters got together in the fall to sell their crafts for some extra dough before Christmas. That first event led to the creation of an annual event that has evolved to highlight much of the talent within the community and beautifully showcase local musicians and artists.
Fast forward to 2018 and Sointula’s Winterfestival is a highlight of the fall season! The wholeMalcolm Island community and people from near and far gather for the festival consisting of workshops, a craft fair, and entertainment. Now, this isn’t just a few tables selling knitted dish cloths and wooden bowls… This is a huge event for the island and the whole community is involved!