Ottawa is a charming city, and our architecture, tulips and world-class shawarmas are renowned across Canada. However, the city also has some dark and mysterious sites, and they’re places that you won’t find on a tourist map. If you’re interested in exploring abandoned places near Ottawa, you’ve come to the right place. But beware, some of these spots will give you serious heebie jeebies!
Canada’s capital city is full of thriving businesses, bustling offices, high-rise apartments and modern condos.
While the region continues to expand, build and renovate, there are some places around the city that seem to have been left behind over the years.
Sadly for urban explorers, many of the capital’s abandoned buildings end up being restored or knocked-down. However, a few still remain, and they’re mysterious reminders of the city’s history and untold stories.
These places often stand eerie and abandoned in some of the places you’d least expect.
From left-behind mills and original jail cells, to deserted strip clubs and neglected vehicles, the Ottawa region is full of weird and wonderful hallmarks of history.
If you’re curious (and brave) enough to go on an adventure, here’s exactly what should be on your abandoned places bucket list …
Location: Allan's Mill Road, Tay Valley, ON
What It Is: Allan’s Mills is an abandoned town, just one hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa. The old village was left behind during the 19th century, when local businesses started to decline. All of the town’s original buildings still exist, including an old general store, a post office and even a small school house.
As the mill and surrounding buildings are now privately owned, it is not possible to explore inside. However, you can drive down Allan’s Mills Road to check out the eerie scenes from your car.
Rideau Trail Car Dump
Location: Rideau Trail (Through Monaghan Forest), ON
What It Is: This old collection of 1940s cars is believed to have been a local farmer's personal dump. Nature is taking back the vintage vehicles here, and photos from the site are strangely beautiful.
The best way to find this spot is to park your vehicle in the NCC Monaghan Forest parking lot, located just off of Fallowfield Road. Exact coordinates can be found here.
Willson Carbide Mill
Location: Meech Lake, Gatineau Park, Chelsea, QC
What It Is: The building was erected back in 1892, by a scientist named Thomas 'Carbide' Willson. According to Atlas Obscura, Wilson learned to create calcium carbide, an important industrial chemical.
The man eventually became bankrupt and his home fell into disrepair. Fortunately for urban explorers, it’s still standing now. The abandoned Carbide Willson historical ruin is as mystical and mysterious as they come.
To find this spot, follow directions to Meech Lake in Gatineau Park. Just before you see the the lake, you'll spot the O’Brien Beach Parking Lot. From here, follow the 30-minute walking trail to the ruins.
CFS Lac St. Denis
Location: Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard, QC
What It Is: This huge property is a 5-storey abandoned military complex. The original purpose of the station was to detect potential enemy missiles during the Cold War era. Since then, it has stood empty and left-behind.
While it's open for exploration, make sure you're super careful and dressed appropriately when visiting.
Make your way to Lac St. Denis, and to the intersection of Rue des Musiciens and Chemin du Village. Here, take the uphill route, following the dirt road past the big, white sign. You'll find the base is at the top of this hill.
More information about the location's coordinates can be found here.
Cabaret Le Pink Strip Club
Location: Aylmer Street, Gatineau, QC
What It Is: According to one urban photographer, this old strip club was known as Pink's, but it has stood empty for a number of years.
Sadly, it's not considered to be safe to explore inside anymore, and you could get in serious trouble if you're caught breaking in. This could be for the best though, as it looks pretty creepy inside!
Stony Swamp Ruins
Location: Stony Swamp, Nepean, ON
What It Is: According to Capital Gems, this old house is early evidence of some of Ottawa's first ever settlers. While this curious location is definitely scary in the dark, it's a cool piece of history that is worth checking out.
Park your car in the NCC parking lot P11, from here you'll need to track coordinates, which can be found by clicking here.
Location: 3929 Carp Road, Carp, ON
What It Is: Although it's now a museum, this chilling space used to be an abandoned former nuclear fallout shelter. The bunker is dark, cold and will definitely give you goosebumps.
It's goes very deep underground, and it's not for the faint-hearted. If you're claustrophobic — forget it!
Find more information here.
Ottawa Jail Hostel
Location: 75 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON
What It Is: Previously known as The Carleton County Gaol, this prison was once home to some of Canada's most notorious criminals. In fact, many of them even died here.
Although the jail was originally abandoned, it has since been privately purchased. Now, ghost-hunters can spend a night in the allegedly haunted original jail cells. It's intense, but it's a pretty authentic experience.
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.