Did you know Quebec is home to one of Canada’s largest goldmining industries? Since the Quebec gold rush of the early 1900s, many mining boom towns sprung up along the Cadillac Fault, one of the richest gold areas in Quebec to this day. Of these, few are more well-known than Val d’Or, or the Valley of Gold.”

Named for the area’s rich, shiny bounty, Val d’Or has produced over 45 million ounces of gold since its founding in 1934. The area’s legacy of gold mining and how it shaped the city’s development is commemorated at La Cité de l’Or, or The City of Gold.” 

Val d Or City of Gold Historic

The Legacy of the First Val d’Or Gold Mine 

Housed in the Old Lamaque Mine and the Bourlamaque mining village National Historic Sites, La Cité de l’Or offers a glimpse of how the Val d’Or gold mine created an entire society and a town around it. Much of the mine’s original equipment and buildings are still intact, including the site’s towering cage elevators.

La Cité de l’Or’s dedication to preservation extends belowground as well above – 300ft belowground to be exact. Lamaque’s original, 300ft deep mine shaft is open to the public, giving visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of generations of miners through the Val d’Or gold mine tour.

The journey through the Val d’Or gold mine includes exhibitions of mining practices used throughout the 20th century, including how ore is smelted and turned into gold bars. Video exhibits are also available for visitors unable to go underground.

Val d Or City of Gold Mine

Beyond the Quebec Gold Rush

More than just commemorating the Quebec gold rush, La Cité de l’Or also strives to teach about the lives and struggles of the miners themselves at Bourlamaque village. Containing sixty of the original log cabins that housed the mine’s workers, Bourlamaque village features an audio tour styled as mid-century radio broadcasts offering stories from across the area’s rich history.

The Bourlamaque Historical House exhibition is a recreation of a mining household where visitors can take on various roles and relive the dilemmas miners and their families experienced. This includes struggles with management, unionization, and the growth of one of the largest gold areas in Quebec.

La Cité de l’Or also gives guests the opportunity to try their own hand at prospecting, with a geocaching rally where they can use GPS devices to locate hidden veins of gold.”

Val d Or City of Gold Mine Site

Sitting on a Gold Mine

One of the most popular attractions in Val d’Or and winner of several regional tourism awards, La Cité de l’Or offers a unique look at a world unknown to most people. Combining the science of gold mining and the resulting cultural and historical ramifications in Quebec’s Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, La Cité de l’Or is a veritable gold mine” of knowledge and fun.

Special thanks to the staff at the Quality Inn & Suites in Val d’Or, QC for their suggestions.

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