Finnish Place Names - British Columbia

Finn Slough
City of Richmond. Finn Slough is a colloquial name given to a small district in the southern portion of the City of Richmond. It refers to a collection of small homes and scow-homes along a slough between Gilmore Island and Lulu Island (the main island of Richmond) that connects to the South Arm of the Fraser River. The slough is more formally called Green Slough. The name Finn Slough comes from the national origins of a number of the settlers who first lived there.

The Arcihives of Richmond has a few secondary sources that include history essays written on Finn Slough. These suggest that the first Finnish settlers came here from Vaasalani. The first few pioneers were Pete Maneini (1890), Koale Helenuse (1891), Mikko Hihnala (1892 - he later changed his name to Jacobson as English settlers had a hard time understanding his name and his father's given name had been Jacob), Mannos Inkstrom and Gustaf Elstrom (1893) and William Haasanen (1894). These settlers were involved in fishing. The Finnish connection to the community has faded in modern times with children of original settlers moving away and people of different origins living in the district now.

Source: Ken Young, City of Richmond Archives / January 4, 2000.

Malcolm Island. Originally a Finnish utopia commune founded by Matti Kurikka in 1901. A total of 200 Finns settled in Sointula before the utopia ended in 1905. Today about 900 people live on Malcolm Island and nearly half are descendants of the original settlers.

This place was founded by the Kalevan Kansa Colonization Company in 1901. It was designed as a Finnish co-operative community, with its name in Finnish meaning 'harmony'. Within  four years the venture failed, because of poor business practices, but the place remained occupied.

Source: Rayburn  1997.

North of Cranbrook. This place was named in 1902 by Nils Hanson after Vaasa, on the west coast of Finland.

Source: Rayburn  1997.

Wasa Lake
North of Wasa, Cranbrook. Formerly called Hanson Lake.

Source: Rayburn  1997.