Thetford Mines, June 19, 2023 — The Office de tourisme de la MRC des Appalaches (Tourisme Région de Thetford) announces the opening of a brand-new platform for observing the landscape and mining history: the Quartier-Mitchell Lookout. This infrastructure provides access to a particularly revealing view of the city’s past while highlighting the Quartier-Mitchell and its builders from the English-speaking community. In addition, this space will now allow all types of customers to observe the mining panorama since it was designed to be accessible to people with restricted mobility. The construction of the lookout was possible thanks to the contribution of several partners, including Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), the City of Thetford Mines, the Megantic English-speaking Community Development Corporation (MCDC) and Asbestos Corporation Limited.
Tourisme Région de Thetford is in the forefront of the action to find out what arouses the interest of tourist customers. The mining heritage is one of the main attractive factors of the region. In order to stimulate this attractiveness and meet the demands of travellers, it was necessary to increase the number of accessible sites. According to the director of Tourisme Région de Thetford and the MRC des Appalaches, Mr. Rick Lavergne, “the development of mining heritage is seen as an important driver of tourism development for the MRC des Appalaches. By creating a new mining heritage observation and interpretation site, we are confirming this common and concerted vision.”
The choice of location for the structure was not randomly made; a visually compelling site was needed where the mining history could be easily interpreted through a typical panorama, and industrial, architectural and urban artifacts. Tourisme Région de Thetford knew the perfect site, commonly called the “WOW” point at the time of city tours: Dubuc Street in the Quartier-Mitchell, which runs along the Beaver mine pits, very close to the place where the asbestos ore was discovered, nearly 150 years ago. As a bonus, this location would provide an opportunity to put into perspective the heritage and origins of the English-speaking communities of Thetford Mines. This is a part of the city’s history that had not been highlighted until now, despite its undeniable importance.
Construction of the Lookout therefore took place over the past year on land belonging to Asbestos Corporation Limited. The mining company is allowing privileged access to the surroundings of the Beaver mine, within a well-defined perimeter. The lookout is finally ready to receive its first visitors!
The interpretive elements at the lookout describe six historical figures from the English-speaking community, intimately linked to the beginning of the city. Stimulated by industrial development and capital investment, they contributed to the boom in asbestos mining. The origins of the Quartier-Mitchell, home to English-speaking communities, are also well depicted in the panels. In addition, the panorama that can be seen from the Lookout reveals the local history. You can see the old buildings of four mining sites, including the first ones. The Lookout is on the outskirts of the pits filled with turquoise water of the Beaver mine, the operation that isolated the Quartier-Mitchell from the rest of the city. Finally, we can see the location of the streets of the old Saint-Maurice district. These are all central elements in the city’s past, each interpreted on panels with a distinctive graphic.
Accessibility for people with restricted mobility
The new structure was designed to respect the principles of universal accessibility so that all citizens can get there, regardless of their level of mobility.
Many supports for the realization of the project
The project is supported by various partners, including the City of Thetford Mines and CED, for whom this project will contribute to improving the tourist attractiveness of the MRC des Appalaches and will make it possible to increase traffic and attract potential customers for several SMEs in the region and thus maintain jobs.
“The Government of Canada continues to be there for organizations in the tourism sector. Thanks to CED’s support, the Office de tourisme de la MRC des Appalaches can today unveil the Quartier‑Mitchell Lookout in Thetford Mines and look towards the future. Our assistance represents an important step in recovery efforts to attract tourists from Canada and around the world so that they can all discover the best tourism experiences our country has to offer,” highlighted the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome—Missisquoi, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED.
For the City of Thetford Mines, this project responds to a need to open up access to mining sites, both for the general population and for people with restricted mobility. “The history of our city is fascinating and special. Visitors are always eager to know the basics and are very impressed by the beauty of the sites and the turquoise waters. This new lookout offers them a particularly interesting perspective and direct access to an exceptional panorama,” said Mr. Marc-Alexandre Brousseau, Mayor of Thetford.
The Lookout in the Quartier-Mitchell offers a unique experience to visitors, allowing them to discover the mining heritage and that of the English-speaking communities. This is why it was important for Tourisme Région de Thetford to consult the MCDC in the process of creating the interpretive elements, in order to bring the rigour and authenticity to the project. “MCDC is very pleased to have participated in this unique project which highlights the contribution of the English-speaking community to the development of our region. This type of project fits well with our desire to play a role in the ongoing development of our region with our partners,” agreed the executive director of MCDC, Mr. Brian Gignac.
To Know More
Access to the Lookout is on Dubuc Street, near the intersection with Mitchell Street. It is accessible free of charge at all times, except in winter.
For more information, please contact Tourisme Région de Thetford at 418 423-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.