7 Spooky Abandoned Towns To Visit In Canada For An Eerie Road Trip This Summer
It's road trip season! For a perfect day trip, you can trade in the hustle and bustle of the city for the quiet, slow feel of one of Canada's ghost towns.
The country is full of former mill and mining towns that, once thriving, have been left all but abandoned, with crumbling houses and vacant buildings now all that remain.
Some have been well preserved and offer a chance to experience days gone by, while other towns are slowly being reclaimed by nature.
While wandering through an empty town is eerie enough, some are even home to a ghost or two.
Here are seven ghost towns in Canada that are as beautiful as they are spooky for you to check out on your next road trip.
Why You Need To Go: The "all but abandoned" town of Wayne is certainly spooky, and not just because of its dwindling population.
Located near Drumheller in Alberta's Badlands, Wayne was once a thriving coal mine town but now has just a handful of residents.
The main attraction of the town is the Rosedeer Hotel and Last Chance Saloon, which is said to be haunted.
In the area, you can also see the 11 bridges of Wayne, a series of single-lane bridges visitors will need to cross to get to the ghost town.
Along the way, visitors will see countless coal mining relics of the past, including abandoned homes and machinery.
Location: British Columbia
Why You Need To Go: Sandon is a historic community located in the Slocan Valley in B.C.'s West Kootenays region.
In the 1890s, Sandon thrived as Canada’s richest silver mining community, with about 5,000 residents, 85 brothels, 29 hotels, 28 saloons, banks, three breweries, two railways and dozens of stores and businesses.
A series of labour problems, a downtown fire, and the exhaustion of several major mines eventually led to the town's demise.
Today, you can visit the eerie ghost town and see its famous "ghost buses," a preserved general store, city hall, and a few of the town's original buildings.
Why You Need To Go: Found on the banks of the Ouiatchouan River in Quebec is the historic village of Val-Jalbert.
The village was founded through the establishment of a pulp and paper mill in 1901, but was abandoned when production at the mill was permanently suspended in 1927.
Revived in the 1960s, today the ghost town is a national historic site popular for tourists. The village is home to about 40 original period buildings, including a convent school, general store and the pulp mill.
Why You Need To Go: Located in Banff National Park, Bankhead was once a thriving town of nearly 1,000 people, built next to the operations site of an anthracite coal mine.
Dubbed a "20-year town," residents abandoned the town after a 1922 labour strike resulted in the closure of the mine, according to Atlas Obscura.
Today, you can see the crumbling ruins of Bankhead in the mountains of the park and enjoy an easy 1-kilometre hike through the abandoned coal mining town.
Location: Cayuga, Ontario
Why You Need To Go: Located in Haldimand County in Ontario is the former village of Indiana, which was once home to about 300 people.
The village was laid out by David Thompson, a promoter of the Grand River Navigation Company, which transformed the Grand River into a navigable waterway for commercial activity during the 1830s.
Indiana thrived as a result of the company's activity. Today, however, all that's left of the former village are its cemetery, pasture land and orchards, and one remaining house known as the Hill House.
Thompson also developed an estate known today as Ruthven Park, a mid-19th-century country estate with a Greek Revival villa, the focus of the area, that was built in 1847.
Today, the area is a national historic site and is open to visitors. The property has also earned a reputation for being haunted.
Location: British Columbia
Why You Need To Go: Hidden in the woods above Whistler, B.C., you'll find Parkhurst, an abandoned logging settlement that provides a glimpse into how the ski town came to be what it is today.
The former active mill town dates back to 1926. While the mill closed in 1956, the home and buildings of the area went on to become a "sanctuary for ski bums."
Today, the area is abandoned and what structures remain are slowly being reclaimed by nature. There are crumbling vehicles, buildings, and eerily, a house with a graffitied image of a face watching over the area.
Why You Need To Go: Balaclava has been called Ontario's "most famous ghost town," and is definitely worth a visit.
Located in Renfrew County, Balaclava was once a thriving lumber town and home to some 200 people. The sawmill, a well-known spot now completely run-down, was built in 1855, according to Reader's Digest.
It was forced to shut down sometime in the mid-1950s due to a lack of timber in the area. What's left today are crumbling and dilapidated buildings slowly being taken over by nature that provide an interesting look into the history of the region.
It's worth noting that the abandoned buildings are private property. That, in addition to their condition, means they're best admired from afar.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.