Little White House

Photo by McAllister

The Little White House was built in 1890 by Elzéard Gagnon, in the heart of one of the first neighborhoods of the city of Chicoutimi, today named the city of Saguenay. It is 24 feet by 24 feet in size and is a two-storey.

On the night of July 26 to 27, 1947, the Little White House and the surrounding neighborhood suffered a flood caused by the overflow of the dam located nearby, upstream. The damage is minor. The overflow was caused by an employee who had forgotten to open the shovels of the dam. On July 19, 1996, the dam overflowed again. This time, there is a lot of damage. The houses in the neighborhood where the Little White House is located are either washed away by the torrent or severely damaged by the water flowing out of the reservoir for 4 days. Unlike 1947, the overflow of the dam was caused by unprecedented torrential rains. This event was called "The Saguenay Flood".

Media around the world covered the Saguenay Flood event live. The Little White House, in the heart of the flood, resisted the storm day after day while the surrounding dwellings were carried away one after the other by the torrent of water. The Little White House thus benefited from media coverage which helped to make it known to the four corners of the world. Images of this house have even been used in an episode of Chris Carter's MillenniuM series (season 1 episode 13: Force Majeure). The only surviving member of the July 1996 flood, the Petite Maison Blanche is in a municipal park.

The neighborhood surrounding the Little White House was never rebuilt after the flood. It was converted into a municipal park where the house is located.

In 2005, a museum was built inside the house to tell the story of the Saguenay disaster in 1996. A tourist attraction, the Little White House museum is visited by thousands of visitors each summer.

Photo by McAllister