If you’re looking for an experience unparalleled by any other in the area, schedule a road trip to the Wallingfordback Mines into your agenda! This beautiful abandoned mine will make you feel like you’ve traveled much farther than a couple of hours outside of Quebec!
The Wallingfordback Mines was once the largest and most profitable mining site in North America before it was abandoned decades ago. It has since become an ‘off the beaten path’ tourist destination pretty much year round, offering different activity options depending on the season. The Wallingfordback Mines are conveniently located in Quebec, just a couple hours just outside of Ottawa, although they are kind of in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t get cell service for most of the time I spent there, so keep that in mind if you’re heading to the mines.
During the summer months, Wallingfordback Mines is a popular attraction for kayakers, divers, and even rock climbers and zipliners (who all bring their own equipment). The water is a deep turquoise blue because of the minerals in the rocks and looks like you’ve gone on vacation somewhere exotic, like Mexico. When I went during the winter, however, I’d argue to say it was more magical than at any other time of year! There were huge icicles hanging everywhere and mountains of snow piled under the cavernous openings of the mine.
The ice was frozen what seemed like meters deep and was mesmerizing to stare into. Although it did crack occasionally beneath me as I skated, the sounds echoed throughout the mine in a way that only added to the fairy tale feeling. If it wasn’t so cold on the day I went, I really could have stayed there for hours, and hours.
When I went to the Wallingfordback Mines, I had the place completely to myself but I have seen photos of people playing hockey here and it is becoming a little more popular, so it’s not a guarantee that you’ll have a private skating rink like I did. For your best shot, though, head there early in the morning and aim for a random weekday (not a holiday, or weekend).