Dorea Institute – Franklin, Québec - Atlas Obscura
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Franklin, Québec

Dorea Institute

This abandoned orphanage-turned-asylum witnessed a terrible chapter in Québec's history. 

Exploring the crumbling, derelict ruins of this abandoned asylum is a chilling, haunting experience. Children here were once put through vile treatments as part of a mid-20th century plot to bamboozle funds from the Canadian government.

The Dorea Institute was one of the many orphanages involved in Québecs Premier Maurice Duplessis’ governing in the 1940s and ‘50s. During his tenure, Duplessis was part of a corrupt scheme to convert church-run orphanages into asylums to get the churches more funds from the federal government. As a result, thousands of children whose parents had died, who were abandoned by their family, or who sent away by single mothers were falsely declared mentally ill. They were forced to go through horrific treatments, including lobotomies, electric shock, water torture, to name a few, for no reason other than being orphans. 

The asylum closed in the 1990s; the buildings have long been abandoned, and have been ravished by vandals. The basement is flooded in a few places, and the ceilings are caving in as well. There is graffiti everywhere—some amazing work, and some less so. There have been recent fires, possibly caused by visitors exploring the site, or possibly to deter them. Either way, this and many other abandoned buildings in Quebec are being torn down, or are charging for visits, making it harder to explore the sites of the province’s past, which is filled with so many fascinating things and places to visit.

Know Before You Go

This place is only hundreds of feet from the U.S./Canadian Border, and is patrolled quite often, especially now there had been incidences of arson.