o3 BLOG | Educational

Val-d’Or — Québec’s Hidden Gem Worth Discovering

January 11, 2022

O3 Mining

When people hear of Val-d’Or, their first thought is often gold mines — which isn’t wrong — seeping in rich gold mining history, Val-d’Or literally means “Golden Valley.” But for the people who live in Val-d’Or, the city means so much more than that. Val-d’Or offers beautifully preserved architecture mixed with up and coming urbanism. Surrounded by protected greenscapes, with its woods and lakes, Val-d’Or comprises close-knit communities of friendly people, rich cultural and heritage sites, and quite a few restaurants popular with locals and tourists alike. Although it is small, Val-d’Or is one Canadian destination worth discovering. And like its namesake, Val-d’Or itself is a goldmine for culture, history, outdoor activities, food, business, and breathtaking scenery. 

Val-d’Or is one of the most well-known cities in the larger territory of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, located north of the Outaouais region and on the border with Ontario. There is no shortage of views, with varied scenery and crystal-clear water lakes in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue.  Located in the 48th parallel, near the Nord-du-Québec region, Abitibi-Témiscamingue is a vast territory ideal for nature lovers all year round, summer and winter.

From late November to early March, Abitibi-Témiscamingue transforms into a magical snow covered wonderland that will make even the most devoted beach lover embrace winter.  Located in the heart of the City of Val-d’Or, The Forêt Récréative (recreational forest), is a 50-square-kilometre paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can take their pick from many snowy trails to cross-country ski, fat bike, and snowshoe. The park also features a 2 km ice skating loop where you can take in a picturesque winter landscape surrounded by a forest of snow-covered trees. Open year round, Forêt Récréative offers a lush green space for hikers to explore during the warmer months. It is home to many stunning flower species native to the area, and foragers can even find wild strawberries and blueberries. There are also several dedicated bike trails for cyclists of all levels — don’t have a bike? No problem — mountain bike rentals are available on site.

Many restaurants and quaint cafes help you warm up after a day of winter activities. Le Prospecteur is a microbrewery, boasting an impressive list of beverages on tap for the craft beer connoisseur. They also have a menu with local favourites and comfort foods, including poutine — the most well-known dish in Québéc.

Right behind the brewery, art and mining collide in a mural by Michel Omen, an internationally famous muralist. Titled “The Mining Mural,” Omen emphasizes the critical role of human capital in the mining industry and the significance of mining in the city of Val-d’Or.

Historical Sites in Val-d’Or

La Cité de l’Or, located in Val-d’Or, is home to two historical mining sites, which paved the way for many other mining and exploration companies, like O3 Mining. The Ancienne-Mine-Lamaque is a tourist information centre located underground where you can learn about the history of the mine and (on a high level) live a day in the life of a miner. You can also visit the ground facilities, including the analytical laboratory, where you can learn about ore processing, in addition to this underground experience. The Bourlamaque Mining Village received a Designation of National Historic Significance in 2012. Residents still live in some of the buildings on site, many of which have maintained original architectural characteristics. A dedicated heritage home set in a 1940s residential décor, allows visitors to discover what distinguished the past and current life of miners of the area.

Other historical sites, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1954 was the first of its kind in the region, and serves as a reminder of the role the Russian community played in the development of the municipality. Abitibi-Temiscamingue Mineralogical Museum, located in Malartic, which has a permanent exhibit about the area’s geology and mining sector. The Mineralogical Museum allows visitors to tour the facilities of the Canadian Malartic Mine, the largest open pit mine in Canada. This visit will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about mining equipment, technological advancements in the mining sector and give you a first-hand look at the magnitude of the Canadian Malartic Mine.

You will find many sites recalling the history of the municipality as the Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1954. A few kilometers from Val-d’Or, you can visit the Abitibi-Témiscamingue mineralogical museum located in Malartic.

Kinawit, located on the beaches of Lac Lemoine, is a community centre and heritage site dedicated to the Acinabe people and their existence in Val-d’Or before colonization. Visitors can walk the Anicinabe Mikana Trail, highlighting four facets of a complicated reality: urbanism, social exclusion, family knowledge transfer, and the hope for harmonious cohabitation.

The City of Val-d’Or is on unceded Algonquin territory, where their presence in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue dates back more than 7,000 years. Currently, the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre serves as an urban service centre, a safe place, and cultural anchoring space for Indigenous people who reside in the area. It is committed to the well-being, justice, and social inclusion of Indigenous peoples while encouraging harmonious coexistence as well as providing educational resources for diversity and inclusion.

Val-d’Or has maintained its small-town values, historic charm, scenic beauty, and sense of community throughout the years while supporting a strong economy. One of the secrets to the city’s success is that it is home to a diverse range of individuals in selecting and planning for the future. They also capitalize on their unique assets — architecture, history, natural surroundings, and homegrown enterprises. Val-d’Or has built solid business partnerships not only in northern Canada but all around the world. O3 Mining is proud to call the Golden Valley home and grateful to be part of such an amazing community.

https://www.abitibi-temiscamingue-tourism.org/

https://microleprospecteur.ca/

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/history-of-poutine

http://www.citedelor.com/fr/index.cfm

https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=13338

http://www.museemalartic.qc.ca/en/

https://ottawariver.org/pdf/05-ch2-3.pdf

http://www.kinawit.ca/

https://www.rcaaq.info/en/les-centres/val-dor/

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