EXPLORE QUEBEC | VISITING THE ABANDONED VILLAGE OF RIVIERE DE LA GUERRE

Hidden away from the road, down a bumpy trail through a corn field, you will find the remains of a long abandoned village known as Riviere de la Guerre. Located in the Monteregie area of the province, what was once a thriving village is now virtually non-existent, with only a few gravestones, a run down church, and the pastor’s old house still standing. Founded in the early 19th century and named after a man known as Francois dit La Guerre, a settler that had been living in the village at the time, Riviere de la Guerre only survived for about 30 years before being completely abandoned by the 1850’s. 

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While the state the village is in today makes it hard to believe that this place was once a thriving place, by the 1830’s, Riviere de la Guerre had over 80 inhabitants calling it home. Scottish settlers began to come over to the village in the mid-1820’s, with 16 families making up the citizens of the village. Things were going well for a few years with the agriculture and forestry businesses thriving and the citizens had access to a shoemaker, several different shops, and even a schoolhouse making life quite enjoyable in the little village. Fast forward 30 years after the first settlers set foot in Riviere de la Guerre, and the village was now abandoned, left to crumble and deteriorate, with nature reclaiming many of the buildings left standing.

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Also referred to under the name of Godmanchester, even though this is still an actual town today that isn’t anywhere near abandoned, the village met it’s match with the Beauharnois canal. The building of this canal ended up causing the downfall of the village not long after it’s construction, when the waters rose too high and flooded a good portion of the village. Aside from that mishap, the construction of this canal also meant that the smaller boats who were once able to navigate the more shallow water of the La Guerre river, were no longer able to make their way to village using the deeper and rougher waterway of the canal. Steam-powered vessels were now replacing the smaller Durham boats that were once used and due to their increase in size, these boats favored the deeper water found in St-Anicet just a few kilometers away. In no time, the tiny wharfs and shores in Riviere de la Guerre were no longer being used which drastically hurt the village’s economy as their way of receiving and trading goods was now non-existent. With no other option but to abandon ship, the villagers’ packed up their belongings and simply moved onto the next town, leaving behind the buildings that we see today.

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