8 Abandoned Ghost Towns You Can Visit in Ontario


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1. Balaclava

This lumber town was once bustling during the height of the production in the late 1800s. Located in Renfrew County, which is in Eastern Ontario, this town has been long since abandoned after its dissolution nearly 100 years later in the 1960s.  This small town was once home to a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, general store and a hotel.

The sawmill was water-powered and was the last to operate in Ontario. What remains for urban explorers are a few buildings, a dam, silo and intact sawmill that will transport you back into the 19th Century.

Although it is technically classified as a ghost town, there has been some new construction in the surrounding area. 

2. Indiana

This abandoned town is only a few minutes north of the community of Cayuga of Haldimand County, located by the Grand River, and was founded by David I. Thompson who was elected to parliament in 1841. At its height it contained mills, a distillery, a pail factory, two inns, and a Catholic church, which allowed the town to flourish to over 300 residents by 1870.

After the railway arrived in 1854, canal shipping took a steep drop. Without railway access, Indiana’s industries gradually fell silent. The Thompson residence Ruthven Mansion (pictured above) still stands today and is open for tours during scheduled hours and for special events.

This is one for the casual ghost hunters of Ontario, or anyone looking to explore a bit of spooky history. The bedrooms of the mansion itself have had multiple reports of a young girl wandering the halls, as well as shadowy figures moving about the multiple graveyards.

3. Falkenburg

  • Established: 1854
  • Dissolved: 1938
  • Known For: The main site for the construction of the Muskoka Road in the Muskoka region.
  • Where: just north of Falkenburg Station

This town once thrived as one of the first locations on the Muskoka Road which was a branch of the Ontario Road Colonization Program which began in 1854 in an attempt to encourage settlement in underdeveloped areas in Ontario and to connect roads to supply centres within the lumber industry.

Due to the immense popularity of the lumber industry, Falkenburg thrived for many years, taking advantage of the wider roads used for stagecoaches. The first settlers managed to open a post office in 1872, later came two hotels, a general store, an Anglican Church, and even a schoolhouse.

Due to its location, Falkenburg appeared unstoppable. But the arrival of railways and a new station a short distance away from the town eventually removed the area’s importance, forcing residents to depart and its popularity to vanish.

4. Swords

  • Established: 1894
  • Dissolved: 1966
  • Known For: Lumber mill, close to Maple Train Station.
  • Where: Swords, ON

This is yet another ghost town located in the district of Muskoka. And like many of the areas on our list, it thrived during the lumber boom in the late 1800s. The Sword family operated the general store and provided for locals getting off at the train station, which was closeby and aided in the towns briefly flourishing times.

The original name was Maple Lake Station but was changed in 1925 to avoid confusion with another Maple Station. Due to the constant flow of people, the Swords were able to build a post office and a schoolhouse before lumbering started declining in the 1930s. The schoolhouse dragged on until the late 1950s, as the did the post office, finally closing its doors in 1966.

The schoolhouse has since been restored as a beautiful community centre, and the general store sits weathered but still standing. 

5. Vroomanton

  • Established: 1820
  • Dissolved: 1942
  • Known For: Farming
  • Where: Vroomanton, ON

This town was founded by Colonel James Vrooman, who was awarded the land after he served in the War of 1812. After establishing a grist mill, the Vrooman’s were able to install a sawmill, a schoolhouse, and eventually thrived as a large farming village.

At the height of its population, Vroomanton had about 200 residents. But once the railway industry started flourishing, stations were built in nearby towns such as Sunderland, which began to thrive. Residents began to move away and follow where they could be employed.

Presently, an old wooden barn still stands, despite standing slightly rickety. A cemetery with a few gravestones remains, and the church has been replaced from a Methodist Church to a United Church. 

6. Newfoundout

  • Established: 1914
  • Dissolved: 1948
  • Known For: A settlement without services or amenities.
  • Where: Newfoundout, ON

This settlement is located on the Opeongo Road in Renfrew County and was never actually established as a village or town. 13 families resided along the rocky hills and chose to farm along with the land for proper sustenance.

The closest schools, churches and post office were located along Opeongo Road. The families were able to tough it out until the 1940s when farming simply would not suffice. The area is still used today for farming and cattle grazing, while the remains of a handful of log cabins sit like skeletons along the road.

7. Burchell Lake

  • Established: 1959
  • Dissolved: 1967
  • Known For: Mining
  • Where: ON-802 off Trans-Canada Hwy

This little town only existed for a mere decade, but still has multiple houses standing for those urban explorers near the Thunder Bay area. It had almost 400 residents at its peak. The mine was mainly known for mining copper, but when the value of copper fell by 1967, the site had to shut down. 

This location is easily accessible, with a number of cottages surrounding it. This includes a dozen houses, a gas station, a school, and a recreational school that is collapsed. Stunning imagery can be found of an original baseball cage outside the recreation hall, surrounding street lamps and an original fire hydrant.

8. Allan Mills

Credit: Kenn Chaplin
  • Established: Early 1800s
  • Dissolved: 1890s
  • Known For: Mining and mill town
  • Where: Allans Mills, ON

This town is one of the most well-preserved ghost towns that you are going to find in Ontario. It was once a thriving mining and mill town, named after William Allan, who was responsible for building the original saw and grist mills. It eventually added a small school, a general store, and a post office. It lost residents once the mill was rendered unusable from fire damage.

It is mainly referred to as a hamlet, rather than a town, due to its small size. It is a 10 km drive just outside Perth, Ontario, and is completely worth the brief detour for those photographically inclined. 

Ghost towns that have been built around/over

Cooper’s Falls

  • Established: 1864
  • Dissolved: Late 1960s 
  • Known For: Lumber transportation
  • Where: Coopers Falls

This town was initially settled by Thomas and Emma Cooper, who acted as some of the main suppliers of wood in the region for lumber trade. The Cooper’s were from England, arriving on a steamship with three young children. They built their own and eventually aided in the construction of a general store, churches, a cheese factory, a blacksmith shop, and a lumber mill.

Of course, once the lumber mill closed down, the town began to deteriorate. Several of the buildings still stand, and although they are dilapidated and the town is generally considered abandoned, around 14 residents still live just off the main roadway. 

Germania

This town was founded by multiple early settlers, many of whom originated from Germany, hence the name. The population increased fast with the construction of a schoolhouse, a church, two general stores, a post office, and later on, a shingle mill.

Germania is located in the Muskoka region, which has a short growing season and did not do well for the farming residents of the town. In the later 1900s, the town began to rely on their lumber production, which eventually lost its grip in popularity in the early 20th century.

There were supposedly a number of unnatural deaths that occurred in Germania during its height of success. Because of this, the town is often explored for paranormal activity.

3 thoughts on “8 Abandoned Ghost Towns You Can Visit in Ontario

  1. My son and i checked out Germania and Coopers falls and boy what a disappointment. These are not ghost towns at all. There are new homes built there and what is left of the old towns is not worth it. Try visiting the places first before you mark them as ghost towns or abandoned towns. Don’t waste your time and visiting these two.

    Reply
    • A good thing to do, is google maps the location, throw it on satellite view and that’ll show you if its abandonded and/or lived in, and you’ll see newer houses, cars, stores etc built if that’s the case.

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