Gold mining ghost town on block for less than $1M

It's a real fixer-upper, but a gold mining ghost town surrounded by majestic snow-capped peaks in Canada’s most western province can be had for less than $1 million.

That’s the asking price for the abandoned 50-acre town of Bradian, one of many towns built during British Columbia’s gold mining heyday. It comes complete with streets, vacant lots and 22 empty homes that were built 80 years ago.

There are also breathtaking views, nearby lakes and rivers and piles of snow in the winter. Real estate broker John Lovelace said the historic town in an idyllic setting comes with one big caveat: all the homes are in serious disrepair.


“If you expect to go up with a can of paint, forget it,” Lovelace told Monday.

Lovelace put Bradian on the market in 2010 for $1.3 million, but has recently dropped the price to $995,000, or about $907,000 in U.S. currency.

“We have gotten quite a great response from as far away as Australia,” he said. “If somebody went in there with some money and they got the services up to speed and created those (vacant) lots, they’d make a crap load of money. But that’s a five to 10-year process.”

Bradian popped up in the 1930s as a small bedroom community for the neighboring Bralorne mine.

For years, the mine was one of the biggest producers of gold in Canada. Bradian produced 4 million ounces of gold over a 40-year stretch until the mine closed in 1971, when gold dropped to $35 an ounce and the mine’s operators could no longer turn a profit. A new company has been operating the mine on a limited basis since 2011.

When the mine closed, Bradian became a ghost town.

It then sat abandoned and decaying until 1997, when Vancouver couple Tom and Katherine Gutenberg, senior flight attendants for Air Canada, showed up and decided to buy it.

“When he saw the town was falling apart, Tom thought, 'Wouldn’t it be great for the family to save the town?'” Lovelace said.

The Gutenbergs spent a lot of time in Bradian, especially on weekends and holidays. They brought their two young children on the trips. They also put new roofs on the homes, gave them a fresh coat of paint and boarded up broken windows.

Click here to read about another gold mining town that sold on Craigslist

Lovelace said the Gutenbergs want to sell because their children have grown and they don’t make the trip to Bradian that much anymore.

“Your chance to own an entire townsite with 22 buildings, on over 50 acres, with some of the original utilities still intact, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says the listing.

Lovelace said Bradian could be a great tourist destination for snowmobile enthusiasts.

Bradian is four hours from Vancouver and two hours from Whistler, a ski and snowboard destination. Whistler hosted a number of events during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

But the Realtor said the challenge in getting from Whistler to Bradian are the mountain ranges that separate the two towns. For nine months of the year, a road that cuts a four-hour trip to two hours is impassable because of snow.

“The Hurley Pass is beautiful, but there are snow banks 10 feet high on the side of the road . . . and that’s in June,” Lovelace said.