Asbestos (Val-des-Sources) Quebec, Canada

Val-des-Sources, formerly referred to as Asbestos, is a municipality situated along the Nicolet River in the Estrie (Eastern Townships) area of southeastern Quebec, Canada. Its name translates to "Valley of the Springs" in French. 

Formerly referred to as the Asbestos Regional County Municipality, the municipality serves as the administrative centre of Les Sources Regional County Municipality. 

The land comprised of 30.25 square kilometres (11.5 square miles) was incorporated into the municipality on December 8, 1999, as a result of the merger between the City of Asbestos and the Municipality of Trois-Lacs.

As per the 2021 census, the municipality had a total population of 7,088 individuals. Positioned at the midpoint of a square bounded to the north by the Nicolet River and encompassing the communities of Victoriaville, Sherbrooke, and Drummondville. 

It once housed the Magnola magnesium refinery and the defunct Jeffrey mine, the former largest asbestos mine in the world and the town's main employer for decades. It was the location of the asbestos protest of 1949.

Because of the adverse associations associated with the name "Asbestos," deliberations ensued regarding the potential renaming of the municipality. 

In October 2020, a municipal referendum sanctioned the Val-des-Sources as the new appellation. The modification was implemented on December 15, 2020.

History of Asbestos (Val-des-Sources) Quebec, Canada

The municipality could afford to invest in and expand its infrastructure and municipal architecture during the 1960s, when it was flourishing. 

It constructed a new, contemporary town hall whose main corridor featured a mural by Denis Juneau and church furnishings adorned with ceramic pieces by the renowned ceramist Claude Vermette.

The Jeffrey mine, one of the last two asbestos mines in Canada, ceased operations in late 2011. The Quebec government guaranteed a $58 million loan in June 2012 in order to recommence and maintain operations at the Jeffrey mine for the subsequent two decades. 

The provincial election in Quebec witnessed the Parti Québécois emerge victorious over the Quebec Liberal Party in September 2012, prior to the disbursement of the loan funds. 

In accordance with an election pledge, the Parti Québécois ceased asbestos mining, cancelled the loan, and redirected the funds to regional economic diversification.

Name change

Politicians and local residents have on multiple occasions since the decline of asbestos mining suggested that the town's name be changed to reflect the mineral's negative connotations. 

However, these proposals have frequently failed, with debaters noting that the town's preponderance of francophones and the fact that the mineral is referred to as "amiante" rather than "asbestos" in French indicate that residents do not ordinarily associate the town's name with the stigma associated with the mineral.

The municipal council approved a name change proposal in November 2019, and the public voted on the new moniker. 

The municipality's renaming initiative was declared by the mayor on September 14, 2020. Voters would have the opportunity to designate the town as Apalone, Jeffrey, Phénix, or Trois-Lacs. 

Further names were incorporated into the list in response to the unfavourable reception of the options. The inhabitants were given the opportunity to select one of six names—L'Azur-des-Cantons, Jeffrey-sur-le-Lac, Larochelle, Trois-Lacs, Val-des-Sources, or Phénix—during an October referendum. 

The results of the referendum were declared on October 19, 2020. Val-des-Sources was selected by 51.5% of electors in the third round of preferential balloting. 

Before it can be implemented, a municipal name change in Quebec necessitates proposal to the Commission de toponymie du Québec and subsequent approval by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. 

This process was completed on December 17, 2020. The name change was effective for the most part immediately; however, the rebranding of the town's billboards was not anticipated to occur until January 2021, and Canada Post needed until April 19, 2021 to finalize the requisite modifications in its postal addressing system.

A portion of the town's inhabitants who maintained their opposition to the name change orchestrated a petition initiative, urging the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to reject its endorsement. 

Their justification was that the referendum failed to garner sufficient participation from the town's populace and did not provide an opportunity to indicate support for the current name. 

The petition was denied by Minister Andrée Laforest, who also granted approval for the name change, which was implemented on December 15, 2020.

Places of interest

In close proximity to downtown Val-des-Sources, the Trois Lacs resort, the golf club, and the cycle path are all options for outdoor enthusiasts. Moreover, the Festival des Gourmands is the city's preeminent celebration. 

The city is heavily influenced by music, owing to the Harmonie d'Asbestos, a renowned institution in the region from 1945 to 1960, and the Camp Musical d'Asbestos, an event that attracts youth musicians from across Quebec.


Mayor of Val-des-Sources Hugues Grimard was re-elected without opposition in the municipal elections of 2021. 

In his inaugural election in 2009, Grimard secured 52% of the vote to defeat incumbent mayor Jean-Philippe Bachand. In the 2013 election, Bachand made an abortive attempt to dethrone Grimard and reclaim his former seat. 

Grimard was re-elected with sixty percent of the vote. Bachand returned to the city council in the 2017 elections and was re-elected as a councillor. However, in 2021, Isabelle Forcier defeated him with sixty percent of the vote.

Current Government

Mayor: Hugues Grimard


  • Isabelle Forcier
  • Andréanne Ladouceur
  • René Lachance
  • Caroline Prayer
  • Jean Roy
  • Pierre Benoit


Statistics Canada's 2021 Census of Population revealed that Val-des-Sources had a total population of 7,088 individuals residing in 3,460 of its 3,691 private dwellings; this represented a 4.5% increase compared to the town's 2016 population of 6,786. 

In 2021, upon examining its land area of 30.25 km2 (11.68 sq mi), the population density was recorded at 234.3/km2 (606.9/sq mi).

With regard to the respondents' maternal tongue, the 2016 census revealed that approximately 2% of the populace spoke English and nearly 98% spoke French, taking into account multiple responses. The subsequent most frequently mentioned native tongues were German, Arabic, and Spanish.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Val-des-Sources (formerly Asbestos), Quebec, Canada

Q1. Why was the municipality of Asbestos renamed to Val-des-Sources?

The renaming of the municipality was primarily driven by a desire to distance the town from the negative connotations associated with the mineral asbestos. After decades of debate and consideration, a municipal referendum in October 2020 resulted in the selection of "Val-des-Sources" as the new name. This change was officially implemented on December 15, 2020.

Q2. What was the significance of the name "Asbestos" to the town?

The name "Asbestos" was derived from the mineral that fueled the town's economy for over a century. Asbestos mining and processing were central to the town's identity and economic prosperity, with the Jeffrey mine being one of the largest asbestos mines in the world. However, as awareness grew about the health risks associated with asbestos exposure, there was a push to dissociate the town from its namesake mineral.

Q3. What were the alternatives considered during the renaming process?

Several alternative names were proposed during the renaming process, including Apalone, Jeffrey, Phénix, Trois-Lacs, L'Azur-des-Cantons, and Larochelle. Ultimately, "Val-des-Sources" emerged as the preferred choice among voters in the referendum.


Q4. How was the new name selected?

The selection of the new name was determined through a referendum in October 2020, where residents were given the opportunity to vote for their preferred option. "Val-des-Sources" received the majority of votes in the third round of preferential balloting, with 51.5% of electors supporting the change.


Q5. What impact did the name change have on the town's identity and tourism?

The name change aimed to redefine the town's identity and attract tourism by distancing itself from the negative associations of asbestos. While it may take time for the new name to become widely recognized, the municipality hopes that it will contribute to a positive image and future growth opportunities.


Q6. What are some notable places of interest in Val-des-Sources?

Val-des-Sources offers various attractions for residents and visitors, including the Trois Lacs resort, the golf club, and a cycle path for outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, the Festival des Gourmands is a prominent celebration in the city, reflecting its cultural vibrancy and community spirit.


Q7. Who is the current mayor of Val-des-Sources and what is the composition of the municipal council?

Hugues Grimard serves as the mayor of Val-des-Sources, having been re-elected without opposition in the municipal elections of 2021. The municipal council comprises councillors Isabelle Forcier, Andréanne Ladouceur, René Lachance, Caroline Prayer, Jean Roy, and Pierre Benoit.


Q8. What is the demographic profile of Val-des-Sources?

According to the 2021 Census of Population, Val-des-Sources had a total population of 7,088 individuals residing in 3,460 private dwellings. The population density was recorded at 234.3/km2, with French being the predominant maternal tongue spoken by nearly 98% of the populace.


You can also check the information regarding Small Business Insurance in Alberta


Promote your business for Free

Comments 0

Leave a Reply