The Eastern Townships (in French, Cantons de l'Est) is a region of Quebec nestled between northern Maine and New Hampshire and Vermont. Settled by Loyalists fleeing the United States during and after the Revolutionary War in the 18th century, the Townships share a climate and architectural and cultural heritage with much of New England.
The region also got a lot of Irish immigration in the 19th century. One Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, was from this region and of Irish descent.
- Ayer's Cliff -- Summer resort town at the head of Lake Massawippi.
- Bromont -- Tourist town with alpine and backcountry skiing, mountain biking, multifunctional trails and international horse shows, 45 minutes from Montreal.
- 1 Cowansville
- Dunham -- Known for its wineries
- 2 Eastman
- Granby -- Known for its zoo.
- 3 Knowlton -- Nice village that caters to tourists. It is also a major cottage destination for Montrealers.
- 4 Magog -- Charming town at the head of Lake Memphremagog
- North Hatley -- The true treasure of the Eastern Townships. Popular summer destination. Not to be missed.
- 5 Sherbrooke -- University town and unofficial capital of the region
- 6 Stanstead -- Historic treasure; today a thriving border town.
- 7 Sutton -- Charming village with excellent year round outdoor activities and a strong artistic community.
- 1 Lac-Mégantic - Small village on the Maine-Québec border, surrounded by mountains and two provincial parks.
Historically, this was one of the main English-speaking regions of Quebec, but French has always been spoken here and today it is the predominant language. Young people may be bilingual in French and English, though very few people over the age of 40 are fluent in English.
There is a minor airport just east of Sherbrooke, with only one flight departing, and one other arriving per day, from Toronto, Ontario. Service is assured by Air Sherbrooke. The price of a regular one-way ticket is 324$ plus taxes, though discounts are available for students and passengers flying to Toronto for a long weekend. Most tourists however, come in via Montreal's Trudeau International Airport.
Limocar and Veolia offer bus service to and from Montreal. Most buses stop in Granby and Magog, and all end in Sherbrooke, while two departures per day are local, thus making more than twenty stops along Route 112. From Quebec City, Jordez is the bus company that assures service, and Autobus de l'Or Blanc connects Sherbrooke with Thetford Mines.
By car, Autoroute 10 is the fastest way from Montreal and the new Autoroute 30 provides a link to Ottawa, while Americans coming from Vermont will want to take Interstate 89 or 91. Access from Quebec City, the Mauricie, and the Centre-du-Québec regions is done via Autoroute 55.
The easiest way to get around the Eastern Townships is by car. Bus services exist from Montreal to most towns and villages (such as Granby, Sherbrooke, Magog and Sutton) but it can be difficult to get from one village to another without private transport. The only rail service is a tourist train, the Orford Express dinner train between Magog and Sherbrooke, which moves very slowly as the track is in poor condition.
Automobile travel in summer is generally easy, you may want a car with air conditioning as the Québec summers can be on the hot and humid side. In the wintertime, any vehicle registered in the province must have winter tires between December 15 and March 15 . Vehicles registered outside of Québec do not need to follow this law, but winter tires are a very good idea when driving anywhere in Québec during the winter season. See winter driving for discussion. Autoroutes and major roadways are fully cleared by snowploughs relatively quickly, but back roads, side streets, alleys and other ways may be maintained poorly. Temperatures trend much lower than other regions south of the Townships, and frequent snowfalls mean a very high average seasonal snowfall when compared to, for example, southern New England.