Sherbrooke is the primary economic, political, cultural and institutional centre of Estrie. There are eight institutions educating 40,000 students and employing 11,000 people. The proportion of university students is 10.32 students per 100 inhabitants, the highest concentration of students in Quebec.
Since the 19th century, Sherbrooke has been a manufacturing centre, but this sector has declined significantly. The service sector occupies a prominent place in the economy of the city, as well as a growing knowledge-based economy.
The Sherbrooke region is surrounded by mountains, rivers and lakes. There are several ski hills nearby and various tourist attractions in regional flavour. Mont-Bellevue Park, a large park in the city, is used for downhill skiing.
The First Nations (Indigenous) people were the first settlers in the region, between 8,000 and 3,000 years ago. Traces of seasonal camps, characterized by arrowheads, scrapers, and other similar tools have been found. Ceramic objects dating from the Woodland period (3000 to 500 years ago) were also found, indicating that the region continued to be occupied by nomadic people during this period.
Upon the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in Quebec in 1608, this region was under the control of the Mohawks. France created an alliance through its missionaries with the Abenaki in Maine and Vermont. The French were driven to the valley of the St. Lawrence River near Trois-Rivières after a Mohawk victory in the war of 1660. The area around present-day Sherbrooke then became a battlefield between the two peoples who had to travel to the region, both of whom sought to obtain control of the territory. During the Seven Years' War between France and Britain, the Abenaki, still allied with the French, travelled along the rivers of the Eastern Townships, frequently near present-day Sherbrooke, during raids against British forts.
After the American Revolution, British Loyalists came from America to the region, and obtained government grants. The first attempts at colonization occurred in 1792 on the banks of the St. Francis River. This settlement was known as Cowan's Clearance. In 1793, loyalist Gilbert Hyatt, a farmer from Schenectady, New York, established his farm not far from the confluence of the Massawippi River and Coaticook River. Over the next two years, 18 families came to live on the site. The Crown acknowledged Hyatt's ownership of the land in 1801. Hyatt built the first dam on the Magog River, in collaboration with another loyalist named Jonathan Ball. Hyatt then built a gristmill in 1802 on the south bank of the river, effectively founding a small village that became known as "Hyatt's Mills". In 1818, the village was renamed after Governor General Sir John Sherbrooke at the time of his retirement and return to Britain.
Manufacturing activities were established that harnessed the Magog River's hydropower. In 1852 a railway line connected the cities of Montreal and Portland. From 1867 to 1892, the manufacturing system was based on hydraulic power. The founding of several important factories near the Gorges helped to attract more and more Francophone workers, coming mainly from the Beauce and elsewhere in Quebec.
Despite the town's English name and heritage, relatively few traces of the city's English past remain, and the vast majority of the city's residents speak French.
Sherbrooke has a humid continental climate, with long, cold, and snowy winters, warm summers, and short but crisp springs and autumns. Highs range from −5.8 °C (21.6 °F) in January to 24.6 °C (76.3 °F) in July. Annual snowfall is large, averaging at 287 centimetres (113 in), sometimes falling in May and October. Precipitation is not sparse any time of the year, but is the greatest in summer and fall and at its least from January to April, totalling 1,100 millimetres (43.3 in) annually.
Many travellers to Sherbrooke use a ridesharing service: Kangaride/AmigoExpress and AllôStop offer rides from Montreal for about $10-20 plus a yearly membership fee of $7.50 for Kangaride (free 6 months trial account for students) or $7 for AllôStop. They also have rides to other major cities in Quebec and beyond and both offer free membership to students.
While there are no direct services between Sherbrooke and any US destinations, you may be able to find a ride with one of the above-mentioned ridesharing services.
From Trois-Rivières and points north: Take Autoroute 55 south to Autoroute 20. Continue on Autoroute 20 west until Exit 173. Take Autoroute 55 south until you get to Sherbrooke.
From Québec City and points east: Take Autoroute 20 until Exit 173. Then, turn onto Autoroute 55 south. Continue until you get to Sherbrooke.
From New England and points south: Take I-91 north until you hit the Canadian border. (Make sure you have your passport!) After the border, I-91 becomes Autoroute 55. Take Autoroute 55 north until you get to Sherbrooke.
From Montreal and points west: Drive onto Autoroute 10 east. Continue until you enter Sherbrooke (if you're past the east end of Autoroute 10, you've gone too far).
The STS, which is local transportation by bus, offers either a one trip 'jeton' that you have to buy beforehand at an authorized dealer for $3.25 giving you one trip with all transfers necessary or, more economically if you travel a lot, a day pass at $9.25 that either gives the right for one or two adults with children (age 12 or less) for a maximum of 6 passenger on one pass or one adult alone. Service for the bus ends at midnight; if you need to get around after that, use a taxi. It is not too expensive--about $30 for one end to the other of the city--but if you need one at night, chances are that you are in downtown. From there to the farthest hotel, it would cost you $15.
- Taxi service, ☏ .
Also, if you have a cell phone anywhere in Quebec, try *TAXI: it will patch you in the taxi service of your region--the cost is 99¢.
- 1 Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux Arts), 241 Dufferin, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 13:00-17:00 (summer 11:00-17:00); W 13:00-21:00. This art gallery is in the historic 19th-century Eastern Townships Bank building downtown. It displays both works of universal value and local flavor, focusing on the works of artists of the Eastern Townships, but also exhibiting other works. A dozen or so exhibitions are circulated through the lower two floors each year, while the third floor houses the museum’s permanent collection, featuring works by Frederick Simpson Coburn (1871-1960), from Melbourne in the Eastern Townships. $6, seniors/students $5. Adult $10, senior $8, student $7, under 6 years of age free, family $20 (2 adults and children).
- Musée de la nature et des sciences (MNS²), 225 Rue Frontenac. Daily 09:00-16:00. Adult $13, student or senior $11, child 4-17 $9, child 0-3 free.
Every summer there is the Fête du Lac festival at Parc Jacques-Cartier which features an international fireworks competition and many local artists.
Sherbrooke has many options for someone who enjoys nature.
- Bois Beckett. This forest is considered as being one of only two 'Ancient forests' in an urban area in the whole province. The forest's 8 trails have a total length of 6.1 km.
- Marais Réal-D. Carbonneau. This wetland is home to many plants and animals, and makes for a delightful walk in spring, summer or fall.
- Parc Lucien-Blanchard. Near the University of Sherbrooke, this park has trails for walking and cycling along the Magog river. During the summer there is a beach for free-water swimming and canoes and kayaks may be rented. There is also La Maison de l'Eau, an interpretation center featuring an exposition of various amphibians and fish.
- Parc Jacques-Cartier. This is a huge park where people come for different activities. The park is next to the Lac des Nations, and a walkway allows for pedestrians and cyclists to circle the lake. This is a very popular place during the summer.
- Carrefour de l'Estrie. 3050 boul. de Portland. Shopping center with many stores.
- Marché de la Gare. Market where various local products may be purchased. In the summer there are local farmers selling their produce outside. There is also a Savoroso, for refreshing gelatos on a hot day.
- Pizzeria Stratos, 260, 12th Avenue North, ☏ . Su 08:00-22:00, M-W 11:0-22:00, The 11:00-01:00, F 11:00-02:00, Sa 08:00-02:00. Fast food. Order poutine with frite bien cuit, sauce barbeque, sauce à part for maximum enjoyment. Pizzas are passable, and be sure to try their extra hot sauce suicide. However, the spare-ribs have an excellent sauce, heavy on molasses falvour. Pastas, grilled chicken, submarine sandwiches.
- Restaurant Louis. From 06:30. Three locations on rue King (1875 rue King Ouest, 260 rue King Ouest, 386 rue King Est) serving classic greasy-spoon diner fare such as burgers, hot dogs, and poutine. The locations are very clean and the atmosphere is good. Daily specials $4-11.
- Choux de Bruxelles, 1461 Galt Street Ouest, ☏ . Tu W Su 17:00-21:00, Th-Sa 17:00-22:00. Belgian and French cuisine. This restaurant is not a real Quebecois affair but somewhere you can have Moule et frite (mussels and French fries) at less than $20 and you bring your own wine. It is recognized by Sherbrooke people to be the best value for your money and great food. You must make reservation in advance if you want to eat here during the weekend and during the month of November and December as many Christmas parties are celebrated there. Moules et frites $14-20, other mains $17-30.
- Antidote FoodLab, 35 Belvedere Nord, Suite 10, ☏ . M-Sa 17:00-22:00. Gastronomic resto in a converted historical building. Limited menu. Call ahead if you have food requirements. Mains $22-34.
- Siboire, 40, Boul. Jacques-Cartier South, ☏ . Su-W 11:30-23:00, Th-Sa 11:30-00:00. A high-quality microbrewery and restaurant experience on the edge of Lac-des-Nations. Lunch and dinner menus.
- Boquébière, 50 rue Wellington Nord. M Tu 17:00 to closing, W Sa 17:00-03:00, Th F 16:00-03:00, Su 19:00 to closing. Brew pub with snack menu, pizzas, hot dogs.
- La Mare au Diable, 151 rue King Ouest, ☏ . M-W 16:00-02:00, Th 11:00-02:00, F 11:00-03:00, Sa 16:00-03:00, Su 18:00-02:00. Brew pub with panoramic terrace.
- The Golden Lion (Le Lion d'Or), 2902 Rue College (Lennoxville). M-F 13:00, Sa 15:00-00:00. Come on Wednesday for "wing night," or any Thursday, Friday or Saturday night to party with the students of Bishop's University.
- Bar La Fakulté, 2155 rue King Ouest. La Fakulté is a huge student bar. It's only opened on Wednesdays but it's the biggest night in town. Be there early (22:00) unless you want to wait in a lineup.
- Complexe le Living, 66 rue Meadow. Club with four rooms, each with a different setting. Hip-hop and techno. Good night on Friday only and some student Thursdays.
- Motel Econo-Nuit, 520 rue du Parc-Industriel (Highway 55, Exit 60), ☏ , toll-free: . Clean economy rooms. From $70.
- Hotellerie Jardins de ville, 4235 Boulevard Bourque, toll-free: . 21 Country decor rooms & 21 standard rooms, 6 fully furnished apartments, heated outdoor swimming pool during summer . From $93.
- Hotel Le Floral, 1920, 12th Avenue North, ☏ , toll-free: . Outdoor heated and filtered salt pool. A maximum of 2 children aged 11 and under travel free with their parents. Charging stations for all electric vehicles. Rooms accessible to people with reduced mobility. Indoor bar open to guests from 11:00 to 01:00. From $141 including continental breakfast.
- Auberge Marquis de Montcalm, 797 Rue du Général-De Montcalm, toll-free: . B&B in a Victorian home. From $149, including cooked breakfast.
|Routes through Sherbrooke|
|Montreal ← Magog ←||W E||→ END|
|Trois-Rivières ← Drummondville ←||N S||→ Magog → Saint Johnsbury via|