Wallingford-Back Mine is a semi-natural mine made up mostly of feldspar and quartz located in Québec. Once the largest mine of its kind in North America is now a hollow hill stabilized by rock pillars and surrounded by bright turquoise waters. I’ve second-guessed writing about this abandoned mine many times as rumours have been going around about community leaders wanting to block the mine’s entry points, or even worse, destroy it by 2017.

A couple of my friends and I visited the mine near the end of June just as the site started to attract an abundance of visitors. After spending the day canoeing, hiking, and relaxing around the area, I can see why the municipality of Mulgrave-et-Derry is eager to block all three access points. The area is not built to receive hundreds of visitors a day. There aren’t any paved roads, garbage cans, or parking lots. As a result, people are littering and parking illegally alongside what are supposed to be quiet homes and cottages.

In hopes that demolition will be averted, this site is a powerful reminder of the impact that special places can make in our lives. Thankfully, supporters who praise the mine for its natural beauty see the importance of preserving Québec’s mining history, and while some residents don’t agree, it definitely has potential of developing into a tourist attraction.

No tools are required to visit, however, a small boat is needed to explore the lower parts of the mine. We luckily ran into some very kind souls who offered to bring us in a canoe, and we are so glad we went along for the ride. There are so many parts of the mine we would have missed if we hadn’t done so. (Thank you, strangers!)

This site is not a local attraction, so I am by no means encouraging you to visit. Go at your own risk. With more police officers roaming around the area nowadays, you are most likely to get a parking ticket and be asked to leave. I pray there is a bright future for Wallingford-Back Mine, for it truly is a thing of serene beauty. I mean, just look at the colour of that water!

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