There’s something fascinating about abandoned places. A shuttered institution with a haunted past. A long-forgotten resort reclaimed by the wilderness. A once prospering village left to decay—or with buildings perfectly preserved, but empty all the same. We’re often drawn to these places and the stories they tell, regardless of how eerie they may seem. With that in mind, here are the tales of six abandoned (and a little creepy) places in Canada.
1. Kitsault, British Columbia
If you drive 167 kilometres north from Terrace, British Columbia, you’ll find the former mining town of Kitsault. Perched along the coast of the Observatory Inlet, this remote town in northern British Columbia sits on the traditional territories of the Nisga’a First Nations. The discovery of molybdenum (a silvery-white mineral) in the 1970s brought a rush to house more than 1,200 residents. Modular homes, a recreation centre, a restaurant, and other amenities were built during this time, but the growth was short-lived. In 1982, the molybdenum market crashed and the mine was shut down.
Some say Kitsault was abandoned overnight, but it didn’t become a typical ghost town with collapsed structures and overgrown greenery. It was closed off to the public for more than two decades, but in 2004 it was purchased by businessman Krishnan Suthanthiran, who has tried unsuccessfully over the years to revive the town. Despite being completely empty to this day, it’s claimed Suthanthiran invests $500,000 annually to maintain Kitsault—repairing roofs on buildings, landscaping, and cleaning houses. According to the few who have toured the town, not a speck of dust can be found inside the homes. It’s as though Kitsault is stuck in a loop, waiting in an eerily preserved state until Suthanthiran’s ambitions come to fruition. Or until finally giving way to Father Time.
Note: Kitsault is considered private property and is not open for public exploration. Exclusive tours have been offered in the past with the approval of the property owner.
2. Minnewanka Landing: Banff, Alberta
Minnewanka Lake lies within Banff National Park. Above the surface, you’re treated to spectacular views of towering mountains and sprawling wilderness. But, it’s what lies beneath in the lake’s crystal-clear water where you’ll discover something truly remarkable. You see, Minnewanka Lake was the home of Minnewanka Landing, a resort town complete with wharves, cottage lots, hotels, and restaurants. The resort flourished in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, but it met its demise during the Second World War.
The Calgary Power Company needed more energy to operate an ammonium nitrate explosives plant nearby, which meant increasing the area’s hydroelectric capacity. So, in 1941, the House of Commons voted in favour of wartime necessity and the Cascade Dam was built. Minnewanka Lake swelled almost 30 metres above its former depth and Minnewanka Landing became a ghost town at the bottom of the glacial lake. The remnants remain frozen in time, offering an unparalleled diving trip to anyone exploring the Banff region—that is, if you’re brave enough to enter the icy waters and submerge into the unknown.
Note: Parks Canada provides a free dive map with the location of all the popular sites. Visitors are urged to practise safe, responsible diving and follow all rules and regulations.
3. Fort San: Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan
Fort San once sat in a lush ravine near the shores of Echo Lake in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan. It was a sanctorium during the tuberculosis outbreak in the 20th century, housing more than 350 patients at any given time from the early-to-mid 1900s. Fort San was a self-sufficient village, producing its own power and agriculture, but those suffering from the disease were left in isolation. It’s said Fort San is one of the most haunted places in Canada thanks to its unpleasant past.
The 184-acre property featured a number of Tudor Revival and Arts and Crafts-style buildings in a beautiful, uplifting setting. So, when the outbreak subsided, Fort San became the perfect destination for the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts (1967 to 1991). Eventually, it became a resort village hosting the Echo Valley Conference Centre until finally being abandoned in 2004. Unfortunately, the old sanitorium was demolished in 2017—only a provincial historic plaque remains—but you’re still able to explore the area.
Note: It’s said a Fort San staff member, known as Nurse Jane still roams the premises. Some even claim to have felt a choking sensation when visiting the area.
4. Western Counties Health and Occupational Centre: London, Ontario
Built in 1946, the Western Counties Health and Occupational Centre was a quiet veterans’ village in London, Ontario. It was a place where Second World War veterans came to rest, rehabilitate, and reintegrate into civilian life. Tucked away in a natural environment to give solace to its battle-torn residents, the centre was built on 400 acres within today’s Westminster Ponds Conservation area. This former veterans’ village consisted of 11 buildings, each named after counties in southwestern Ontario (Perth, Ontario, for example) and was home to 196 patients. Veterans were offered a pleasant living environment and a number of amenities—from an auto shop, to a bowling alley, to a golf course and two baseball diamonds.
Over time, the population declined and the centre closed its doors for good in 1984. The Board of Education used the grounds briefly, but the village was completely abandoned by 2000. Today, only four buildings remain standing—Elgin, Lambton, Kent, and Oxford—and you can see each pavilion from the pathway overlooking Walker’s Pond. Perhaps the most impressive attraction is the Wellington administrative building, a grand structure covered with crawling ivy.
Note: This forgotten veterans’ village is accessible from Western County Road beside Parkwood Hospital. Visitors are reminded the buildings are city-owned—it’s considered trespassing if you attempt to investigate the interiors.
5. Val-Jalbert National Historic Site: Chambord, Quebec
Founded in 1901, Val-Jalbert was a small village built on the banks of the Ouiatchouan River—positioned between Chambord and Roberval in Quebec. Its development was spurred by a nearby pulp and paper mill owned by industrialist Damase Jalbert. The village supported the mill’s employees and their families, offering a diverse mix of houses along with industrial and commercial buildings. When the mill closed down in 1927, residents abandoned Val-Jalbert shortly after.
This ghost town was given new life in the early 1960s, as plans to transform Val-Jalbert into an open-air museum were put in motion. In 1996, the village was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada and, in 2009, a $17 million subsidy was provided by the Quebec and federal governments to overhaul the village and increase tourism to the area. That in mind, Val-Jalbert is considered one of Canada’s best-preserved ghost towns, with more than 70 of the original buildings still standing. Today, more than 60,000 visitors come to explore the historic village each year.
Note: While much of Val-Jalbert has been restored, some buildings were left in ruin, giving the village a ghostly vibe—especially during the spooky season!
6. Trinity Loop: Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador
Our final abandoned attraction is located in Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador, a short 30-kilometre drive from Charleston. The famous Trinity Train Loop was once a vital transportation link for the Newfoundland Railway but, when the railway shut down in 1988, the site was converted into a popular amusement park. The Trinity Loop amusement park was enjoyed by many throughout the 1990s and featured miniature train rides and miniature golf, a ferris wheel, live entertainment, a museum, a petting zoo, and a restaurant inside a railcar.
Sadly, the park halted operations in 2004 and was relinquished to the elements following the aftermath of Hurricane Igor. Now, it’s a labyrinth of twisted train tracks, graffiti-tagged rubble, and haunting murals. People still travel to the Trinity Loop to explore—with the toppled Ferris wheel being a notable landmark—while some choose to go for a swim or cast a line in Loop Pond. The chaotic scenery also makes the perfect backdrop for amateur horror movies.
Note: If travelling from Charleston, take Route 230 to Route 239 and follow the signs for Trinity and Dunfield. Drive 3.5 kilometres until you come to an unmarked road on the right—follow that road until you see a train.
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