Val-d'Or, Qué, Town, pop 31 123 (2006c), 31 430 (2001cA), inc 1968. Val-d'Or is located 95 km southeast of Rouyn-Noranda in northwestern Québec's Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, near the source of the Rivière Harricana, one of the major rivers flowing N to James Bay. The name is linked to the gold rush, second in scale only to the Klondike, which took the area by storm in the mid-1930s.
The town was originally made up of 2 separate municipalities. The first, Bourlamaque, founded in 1934 by the Lamaque Mining Co, was a company town for many years. The other, Val-d'Or, was incorporated as a village in 1935 and a town 2 years later, and began as a bustling gold-rush town. For many years, the twin centres were known as Val-d'Or-Bourlamaque. A third town, Lac Lemoyne, was formed in 1958. In 1968 the 3 towns amalgamated under the name Val-d'Or; it and Rouyn-Noranda are the largest municipalities in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.
Val-d'Or has prospered from the dozens of gold mines discovered in the vicinity. The Sigma mine, located within the town's limits, has been in operation since 1935 and continues to be one of Québec's richest gold-bearing mines. The Lamaque mine suspended operations in the mid 1980s but this was offset by the discovery of a large reserve of copper, zinc and gold in 1989. Known as the Louricourt mine, it began production in 1994.
The lumber business is also important to the economy of Val-d'Or; the forests of the Abitibi region provide 65% of the lumber produced in Québec. An industrial park, created in 1972, provides some 3000 jobs in numerous industries. Val-d'Or is also a service centre, with the third-busiest airport in Québec. The first 65 log cabins built beside the Lamaque mine in 1934 are still in their original state, and in 1978 this section of the town was designated a historic site. The Bourlamaque Miners' Village commemorates the gold rush that brough Val-d'Or into existence. The Exposition Centre promotes regional visual artists. The town has a music conservatory and a large hospital, and offers university services.