Lemieux was a small milling and farming village, located in eastern Ontario near Ottawa. It was first settled around 1850. Eventually a post office opened in 1875. On the positive side, saw, flour and planing mills quickly followed.
At its height Lemieux boasted a population of around 75. It contained a hotel, blacksmith shop, carpenter, school, and of course a Roman Catholic Church with a large cemetery. Not surprisingly, the church was the focal point of the community.
Life in Lemieux carried on pretty normally until 1989 when the South Nation Conservation Authority (SNRCA) made a shocking discovery. It turned out Lemieux sat on a rare subsurface called “Champlain Sea Clays” or “Leda Clay.” During periods of heavy rain, the soil could turn to mush if fully saturated. Eighteen years earlier, 31 people tragically lost their lives in the province of Quebec due to a mudslide that occurred under similar conditions. No one wanted to see a repeat of that tragedy.
Lemieux was officially abandoned in 1991 and none too soon. In 1993 the town’s former main street suddenly slipped away, leaving a crater 680 metres long and 320 metres wide. Since then the SNRCA has taken measures to stabilize the soil and prevent further erosion.
It was necessary to either relocate or demolish all of Lemieux’s buildings. On the positive side, the authorities were able to preserve the cemetery which remains open to visitors. Learn More