In the remote wilderness of British Columbia, Canada, there is a town that was once a bustling hub of activity. Kitsault was built in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and it had everything a small city or town could offer: shopping centers, schools, restaurants, and even a curling rink. It was built to be a modern, self-sustaining town that would attract workers to the nearby revitalized mine. More than 1200 people moved to Kitsault in hopes of a prosperous future. However, the mine shut down just 18 months later, and by 1983 the town was completely abandoned.
Kitsault’s history is similar to that of many other ghost towns that were deserted when economic activity ceased to flourish. The town was built around a mine that produced molybdenum, a metal used in steel production. Amax Canada Development reopened the molybdenum mine in a lightly populated area of the province, far from any major city, and inaccessible by road. Amax decided to build Kitsault, a modern town that would attract workers to settle with their families. Despite the mine’s closure, Kitsault has survived as a pristine time capsule of a bygone era, unlike other ghost towns that were left to crumble and decay.
Kitsault was designed to be self-sustaining, and it had everything a modern town could offer. The town was built with winding roads, cute streetlights, and recreational facilities like a gym, cinema, and pub. Kitsault even had a modern hospital to cater to the medical needs of its residents. However, the price of molybdenum crashed just as quickly as Kitsault had come to life, and the mine closed in late 1982. Soon after, Kitsault’s residents were ordered to leave the town, and most of the infrastructure and objects were simply left behind.
Amax employed caretakers to maintain Kitsault in the hope that they could resurrect the mine and town. In 2005, Krishnan Suthanthiran, a medical product entrepreneur, purchased the entire town for under $7 million. He launched a restoration project to maintain Kitsault, upgrading its water systems and renovating its buildings. Suthanthiran has floated various plans for Kitsault, including transforming the ghost town into a hub for scientists and artists or converting it into a natural gas terminal. However, none of these plans has materialized yet.
Today, Kitsault is a relic of a community’s dreams and aspirations, frozen in time. The few tour groups that are allowed to visit every year can bask in the nostalgia of Kitsault’s retro aesthetic, like burgundy carpets and geometric tiling, and experience its eerie desolation. The town remains closed to the public, but it has been carefully maintained over the years, surviving as a pristine time capsule of a bygone era.
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