Kitsault: British Columbia’s Most Famous Modern Ghost Town

canada-ghost-town-kitsault-british-columbia (All images by 16×9 Global News via YouTube – watch full video below)

For more than 30 years, an isolated ghost town has stood empty on the east shore of Alice Arm amid the stark beauty of British Columbia, Canada. The 94 houses, 200 apartments, hospital, mall, bank and community store of the abandoned settlement – known as Kitsault – have remained eerily silent since they were deserted in 1983.

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Located at the end of a gravel road from Terrace, BC – a three hour drive north – Kitsault is closer to the Alaskan border than the nearest Canadian town. So its no wonder that this modern ghost town is like a time capsule, its abandoned buildings frozen some time between the late ’70s and early ’80s.

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Sustained by a molybdenum mine and built to house 1,200 people, Kitsault was considered a state-of-the-art when it was built in the late 1970s.

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But when molybdenum prices crashed just 18 months after it opened, Kitsault’s fate was sealed. When the mine closed the community was left with nothing and all but a few determined residents left in search of better opportunities elsewhere. Those who remained were soon evicted.

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Oddly enough, however, power to this isolated Canadian ghost town was never disconnected and, 30 years later, the empty houses looked as though they had been deserted only yesterday – a bizarre scene for anyone lost enough to find them.

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Houses and other buildings, including the deserted swimming pool, curling rink and adjacent Maple Leaf Pub, stood eerily frozen in time. Then, in 2004, Kitsault was purchased for $7 million Canadian by businessman Krishnan Suthanthiran who began charting the ghost town’s revival.

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Carolyn Jarvis of Canada’s 16×9 TV news show reported in 2012: “Despite the amazement of it all it’s hard not to feel a sense of emptiness in this place. Everything is as it was three decades ago, frozen in time. Many of the houses still have the 1970s decor. In the hospital the x-ray gloves still lie on the table right beside a full fledged operating room with the cupboard still stocked.”

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Krishnan Suthanthiran said at the time that he wanted to create a unique community for several hundred scientists, engineers and artists, giving them the “total freedom of living in an area that is so beautiful that you can focus your mind.”

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Fast forward two years to 2014 and it was reported that the molybdenum mine was poised to be reopened, and relations between its operators Avanti and Mr Suthanthiran – who has been exploring the possibilities of an LNG terminal at Kitsault – were somewhat chilly.

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Time will what becomes of Mr Suthanthiran’s eco-tourism vision and the ghost town of Kitsault. You can follow its progress here and explore Kitsault via the video below.

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