What could be better than a road trip through the fall landscapes of Quebec to get excited about the season? Perhaps a road trip that ends with a chilling reminder that the past lives in crumbling ruins across the province. Quebec is full of abandoned and ruined colonies that send shivers down your spine.
Each of these spooky places is accessible to visitors (although some are far from Montreal) and reveals a piece of history. Whether that’s cool or just plain creepy is up to you and who you bring in to explore these once-inhabited ghostly spaces.
This ghost town is a popular tourist site due to the well-preserved quality of many of its buildings. The small town was built around a paper mill in 1901. In its heyday in the 1920s Val-Jalbert was a bustling little village, but when the factory closed in 1927 the town was quickly abandoned.
Today, you can still see many buildings, some of which were restored after Val-Jalbert was abandoned. The site also offers a view of a nearby waterfall, once you get too scared to continue exploring the town.
This picturesque island location belies its dark past. From the 1830s until 1937, Grosse-Île served as a quarantine station for immigrants, mainly from Ireland. They often brought with them infectious diseases, such as cholera, typhoid and smallpox, and eventually over 8,000 people were buried on the island.
Visiting this historical site is free, but you will have to cross water to get there (the whole island). Boats are available to take you to see the remaining structures, including the hospital and cemeteries.
The small village of Rivière-La Guerre was originally populated by Scottish immigrants in the 1820s. At first a small, cozy community, the town was eventually abandoned after the timber trade became too difficult to maintain. Flooding troubled the area and made it difficult to stay after a dam was built in a nearby river.
Today, the remains of the little church make up most of what remains of Rivière-La Guerre, and you can see for yourself how easy it is for time and nature to erase the remains of human lives…
An abandoned oven in Baie-Sainte-Claire.
Government of Quebec
On Anticosti Island near Gaspé, the remains of a brief settlement can be visited and explored. The island was originally purchased with the hope of building a fishing business, but these aspirations were barely fulfilled. in 1930, there were only two families left living in Baie-Sainte-Claire.
Today, only a few stone structures remain, including a lime kiln restored in 1985.
Saint-Jean-Vianney, after the landslide.
Saguenay Historical Society
Located in what is now Saguenay, this small village experienced a nightmare on the evening of May 4, 1971. A massive and sudden landslide swept away part of the town, destroying 42 houses and killing 31 people. Only 15 people were found alive.
That month, then-Premier Robert Bourassa announced that the city would be permanently closed. From now on, the only vestiges of Saint-Jean-Vianney are the uneven terrain caused by the landslide and the traces of roads. Cooling.