In Quebec, Canada, get locked inside a ghost town. Val Jalbert is a former pulp and paper one-company town founded in 1901 near Lac St. Jean. Think of a triangle. If Montreal and Quebec City form its base, Lac St. Jean is the northernmost point. Getting to Val Jalbert is a beautiful drive through Saguenay Fjord countryside.
Val Jalbert history
When the pulp and paper mill closed in 1927, the population drifted away and, because there was no work, the town was abandoned.
In the 1990s, the Quebec government transformed and renovated the town named after mill owner Damase Jalbert. Today we can linger, visit the chapel and school, and stay overnight in one of the 1920s mill-workers’ homes or even the general store.
Interestingly, the villagers here enjoyed electricity many years prior to other regions of the province, thanks to the power generated by the Ouiatchouan Falls.
This waterfall is on-site, and on a full-moon night, I can tell you it’s fantastic to hike up the stairs alongside it… and if you’re lucky, you’ll hear the haunting cry of an owl as you ascend…
Val Jalbert video
Explore Val Jalbert
Val Jalbert camping rates start from CAD28.50 a person if you’re prepared to camp with no services. However, you can pay a little more for water, electricity and sewage.
A guided tour of Val Jalbert aboard a trolley bus features historical characters. You can also join a walking tour of village de Val Jalbert or take a self-guided tour of the mill.
The Val Jalbert village is open from May to October. For more information click here.
More things to do in Quebec
If you’re planning a road trip in Quebec, the Monteregie area, is a lovely place to visit in autumn. Monteregie can be visited as a day trip from Montreal, which is a city for all seasons. Here’s what to do in Montreal in spring, in winter and autumn.
Quebec is also home to Canada’s best sugar shacks
Looking for a leisurely way to travel from Toronto to Winnipeg? Hop on board Via Rail’s “The Canadian”.