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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Fate of Val-des-Sources, the mining town in Quebec where 24 miners died in a disaster

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The idyllic Val-des-Sources was lost to a 2006 mining disaster that killed 24 miners. Now the town, one of Quebec’s first settlements of settlers from France, is preparing to change its name.

It is the name of a settlement in the Quebec town of Val-des-Minot to which three generations of Quebec-born family descendants have been brought. Some family members are now heading for the new name of Val-des-Sources, which translates as “Valley of Communities,” which is an area of hills not far from Val-des-Sources.

“We are bringing our family to Val-des-Sources,” says Jean-Claude Ouellet, a fourth-generation family member from Val-des-Sources, who believes that his name of choice will recall Montreal, where many family members still live.

The town has been considered a monument to mining and mining history in Quebec, and a lesser-known Montreal suburb from the 1800s, Val-des-People, is the first settlement to be named Val-des-Sources by the town administration.

That name, however, meant nothing when water filled a dam and swept the town’s settlement down a mountain, killing 24 miners, who were trapped behind a wall of water after having lost their tools to get out of the mine.

The new name, which was proposed by the mayor of Val-des-Sources, will become official after a formal consultation with town residents next April. According to the town council, a large majority of Val-des-Sources citizens support the new name.

The inscription on the Chamber of Mines, showing the Val-des-Sources was officially named by the town council in 1970.

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