About 100 years ago, Val-Jalbert, Canada was a distinctly modern town. Residents had running water and electricity 25 years before the rest of Quebec. But very little has changed since those days.
Today, the Quebec town remains a perfectly preserved relic of its glory days in the early 1920s. During its heyday, Val-Jalbert was a one-industry town. Its pulp mill brought prosperity to the region, but a series of troubles led to the mill’s sudden closure in 1927. It was only a few years until the town was almost completely abandoned.
It remained that way until the 1960s when the town became a tourist attraction. According to the village’s website, in 2009, Val-Jalbert received over $19 million dollars from the Québec Department of Culture and Communications and the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec to help overhaul the town’s infrastructure and encourage tourism.
Visitors today can walk around and explore the town just as it might have felt 100 years ago. There are more than 40 buildings, each preserved and maintained, allowing travelers to feel like they’ve stepped back in time. Guests can visit a convent school, general store, and even the town’s famed pulp mill. And to complete the immersive experience, the town is populated by actors playing 1920s-inspired characters (think: bowler hats and old-timey jokes).
It’s not just the time-capsule experience that will draw travelers to Val-Jalbert, it’s the scenic natural surroundings, too. Although it may not be the most well-known waterfall in Canada, Ouiatchouan Falls just happens to be taller than Niagara Falls. Ouiatchouan (which means “clear-water river” in Innu, a language spoken by over 10,000 people in Eastern Canada) is an impressive waterfall that plummets more than 230 feet to a natural pool below. Visitors can try a number of hikes near the falls, or even enjoy the view of the falls from a newly built glass-encased overlook.
Those who want to extend their stay back in time can opt to stay overnight in Val-Jalbert. Overnight accommodations in ’20s-inspired rooms are available from about $276 ($345 CAD) for two people and include admission, supper, and breakfast.
This year’s season at Val-Jalbert runs from May 21 through Oct. 10, 2022. Val-Jalbert is just under a three-hour drive from Quebec City.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.