Valley of Turgeon River, or just Turgeon Valley, is located 25 kilometers (20 mi) from the city of La Sarre, at the 49th parallel. The Turgeon River is wedged between the Abitibi hills to the west and the Fenouillet hills to the east. In pre-Columbian times, the Algonquin people lived in these virgin forests.
The development of the area started in the early 1930s, when many people fled big cities’ chronic unemployment during the economic crash of 1929. Since no roads had been yet built, people had to travel by boats and barges. Three parishes were founded in the Turgeon Valley between 1932 and 1942.
Their inhabitants worked in the agriculture and forestry, although today the valley is one of the greatest tourist attractions of James Bay. Five covered bridges still function on the territory of the valley. Four of them are of the so-called Town style, unique to Quebec. The fifth bridge, a “covered bridge without a roof”, was built in the Pony style and is the only one of this kind in Canada.
Two patrimonial churches are located here: St-Camille in Villebois and the St-Joachim church in Beaucanton.
The Gates of the James Bay, a monument commemorating the first settlers, can be seen at the entry of the valley. Hundreds of miles of exciting pedestrian, mountain-bike, snowmobile, and ATV trails are available for tourists here.
In the western zone, guests can visit the Lake Imbeau area with its 4-kilometer (3 mi) interpretation trail Fire Retorts. Along the path The Rock Counts (2 mi), visitors can observe relics of last glaciations: erratic blocks and ancient beaches.
A few campsites and picnic areas are installed throughout the Turgeon Valley for the vacationers to take their time and relax.