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5 Creepy Quebec Ghost Towns Perfect For An October Squad 'Fear-Trip'

Get it? Like field trip?

Staff Writer
The landslide at Saint-Jean-Vianney. Right, the church at Grosse-Île.

The landslide at Saint-Jean-Vianney. Right, the church at Grosse-Île.

What's better than a road trip through autumnal Quebec scenery to get yourself excited about the season? Maybe a road trip that ends in a creepy reminder that the past lives on in crumbling ruins across the province. Quebec has plenty of abandoned, crumbling settlements that send shivers down your spine.

Each of these spooky spots is accessible to visitors (though some are far from Montreal), and reveals a piece of history. Whether that's cool or just plain creepy is up to you and whoever you bring as backup to explore these ghostly, once-inhabited spaces.

Val-Jalbert

This ghost town is a popular tourist site due to how well-preserved many of its buildings are. The small town was constructed around a paper mill in 1901. In its heyday in the 1920s, Val-Jalbert was a bustling little village, but when the mill shut down in 1927, the town was quickly abandoned.

Now, you can still see many buildings, some of which have been restored after Val-Jalbert was abandoned. The site also offers views of a nearby waterfall, once you're too creeped out to keep exploring the town.

Grosse-Île

This scenic island location belies its sombre past. From the 1830s up until 1937, Grosse-Île was used as a quarantine station for immigrants, mostly from Ireland. They would often bring infectious diseases with them, like cholera, typhoid, and smallpox, and ultimately over 8,000 people were buried on the island.

Visiting this historic site is free, but you'll need to cross some water to get there (the whole island thing). There are boats available to take you to see the remaining structures, including the hospital and cemeteries.

Rivière-La Guerre

The small settlement of Rivière-La Guerre was originally populated by Scottish immigrants in the 1820s. At first a cozy little community, the town eventually was abandoned after the wood trade became too challenging to maintain. Floods troubled the area and made it difficult to stay after a dam was constructed in a nearby river.

Now, the remains of the small church are most of what's left 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...

Baie-Sainte-Claire

An abandoned oven in Baie-Sainte-Claire.

An abandoned oven in Baie-Sainte-Claire.

Gouvernement du Quebec

On the island of Anticosti near Gaspé, the remnants of a brief settlement can be visited and explored. The island was initially purchased in the hopes of building a fishing business, but these aspirations were hardly fulfilled. by 1930, only two families were left living in Baie-Sainte-Claire.

Now, all that remains are a few stone structures, including the a lime oven that was restored in 1985.

Saint-Jean-Vianney

Saint-Jean-Vianney, after the landslide.

Saint-Jean-Vianney, after the landslide.

Société historique du Saguenay

Situated in what's now Saguenay, this small village experienced a nightmare on the evening of May 4, 1971. A massive, sudden landslide swept away a portion 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 town would be closed permanently. Now, the only remains of Saint-Jean-Vianney are the rough terrain caused by the landslide and traces of roads. Chilling.

    Willa Holt
    Staff Writer
    Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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