Willson ruins in Chelsea, Quebec.

Fall is one of the most picturesque and stunning seasons in Quebec and I am a firm believer that it is the best time of the year to go on a little road trip.     

One of the lesser-known but most beautiful fall destinatons are the Ruines Carbide Willson, a collection of abandoned buildings in Chelsea, Quebec.

This excursion presents an opportunity to travel through time while educating yourself on the industrial heritage of Quebec.

Against the striking backdrop of the fall foliage, the ruins ignite curiosity and imagination.

The haunting building shells on the site are surrounded by a forest that has come to reclaim the land they occupy. The tumble of a nearby stream echoes through the walls.

If you were ever looking for an experience to put you in the autumn mood, this is it.

The grounds in the Gatineau Hills overlooking Meech Lake were once the home of Leopold Wilson, an inventor from Princeton, Ontario born in 1860.

He is known for a life-long interest in electricity and a mission to develop a dynamoelectric lighting system while focusing on producing pure aluminum.  

In 1867, the three storey residence became the world’s first phosphoric avid condensing plant.  

Only the base of the acid condensation tower survived a horrendous fire that took place in Gatineau Park.

Though devastating, the fire left behind an eerily beautiful park that visitors can now safely enjoy.

A tour of the ruins allows participants to explore both an important piece of Canadian history and stunning views of the abundant and colourful landscape.

This destination is less than three hours away from Montreal and great for a day trip or even an overnight adventure.

If you have a love for history and want to spend a day walking through beautiful and historic sites this fall, this is an ideal activity for you.

Information on the ruins and the industrial heritage of the Outaouais region is available on the Réseau du patrimoine de Gatineau et de l'Outaouais website

Ruines Carbide Willson

What: Ruins of an industrial complex. They are perhaps most hauntingly beautiful during the peak of fall foliage.

Where: 639 Chemin du Lac Meech, Chelsea, Quebec

Cost: Free


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.