Coordinates: 45°28′53″N 71°40′04″W / 45.4814°N
71.6678°W / 45.4814; -71.6678
Eastern Townships (French: Cantons de l'Est) is a tourist region
and a former administrative region in southeastern Quebec, Canada,
situated between the former seigneuries south of the Saint Lawrence
River and the United States border. Its northern boundary roughly
followed Logan's Line (or Logan's Fault)—the geologic boundary
between the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Appalachian Mountains.
The region comprises counties that were originally divided into
townships after the traditional method of land grants of the original
New England and New York settlers. Earlier French settlement along the
Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River had divided the landscape into parishes and
Seigneuries. The tourist region now covers most of the region. The
administrative region, officially called Estrie, is slightly smaller.
The principal cities are Sherbrooke, Granby, Magog, and Cowansville.
The towns of Drummondville, Victoriaville, and
Thetford Mines are part
of the historical region. The region has summer colonies used by
vacationing Montrealers and several ski resorts, including Mount
Orford, Ski Bromont, Mount Sutton, and Owl's Head.
4 Heritage sites
5 Notable natives and inhabitants
6 See also
8 External links
For a complete list of the townships, see List of Eastern Townships.
The area contains a population of about 330,000, most of whom are
French-speaking. It also contains about 41,000 native English-speaking
inhabitants, forming a significant minority in the community.
The area has been described as "populated by well-heeled cottagers and
The first inhabitants of the region were the
Abenaki First Nations.
The names of many towns, lakes and rivers of the area are of Abenaki
The Abenakis allied themselves with the French during the Seven Years'
War to fight the British.
The region was part of
New France until the
1763 Treaty of Paris
1763 Treaty of Paris which
granted the region to the British. Shortly after the American
Revolution, a few United Empire Loyalists, who fled the revolution in
order to stay loyal to the British Crown, settled in the Eastern
Townships. The land there was controlled by three English seigneurs:
Henry Caldwell had purchased what had been the Foucault
Seigneurie, which ran along the
Richelieu River and a little over the
present day frontier; Colonel Gabriel Christie was seigneur of Noyan;
and Thomas Dunn was seigneur of Saint-Armand. The early loyalists
settled in and around Missisquoi Bay. A popular misconception is that
there was a huge influx of Loyalists to the Eastern Townships. In fact
most of the immigration from
New England happened in the early
nineteenth century, thirty or so years after the Revolution. Most were
farmers seeking new lands, something the townships had to offer.
Some Loyalists moved to the area during the Revolutionary War. After
it ended Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Quebec, expected
them to move westward with the rest of the Loyalists. He cut off the
rations the government had been providing. However, they resisted
efforts to be moved by force and were finally permitted to stay by
Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton after Haldimand's return to
The status of the
Eastern Townships Loyalists was resolved when the
seigneurs agreed to permit them to stay on their land for a nominal
fee. The exact number cannot be ascertained, but a petition they sent
to the governor included 378 names. Allowing for a family of five,
this could suggest a population of about 1600 or so. The land they
settled on, the present-day area of Noyan, Clarenceville and St.
Armand, was not part of the
Eastern Townships (which were not opened
to settlement until 1791), but have since been regarded as part of the
Under the terms of the Constitutional Act of 1791, the Eastern
Townships were open to settlement and a land rush followed. Most of
the 3,000 or so settlers came from the United States. A few were
Loyalist, at least in spirit, but most simply wanted land and had no
strong feeling about nationality. Many more immigrated from the
British Isles, including Gaelic-speaking Scots.
Eastern Townships were originally part of the following counties:
English-speaking inhabitants remained a majority in the Townships
until the 1870s.
In the early 1980s
Quebec was reorganized into 16 (later 17)
administrative regions divided into regional county municipalities.
The bulk of the
Eastern Townships became the
Estrie region, but
Arthabaska, Drummond, and part of Wolfe and Megantic counties became
part of the
Mauricie–Bois-Francs region (later, part of
Centre-du-Québec region), while the remainder of Megantic County
became part of the
Chaudière-Appalaches region, and the Shefford and
Missisquoi counties became part of the
Today the region is heavily Francophone, with the notable exception of
Lennoxville, which is about evenly divided between English and French
speakers and hosts the region's only English-speaking university,
Bishop's University. Even though the region is now predominantly
French-speaking, the influence of the Loyalists and settlers from New
England can still be observed in the architecture of older buildings
and the names of various towns.
Heritage sites in the
Eastern Townships include:
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (Maple Grove, Quebec), near Thetford
Notable natives and inhabitants
Conrad Black became the owner of his first newspaper, the Eastern
Townships Advertiser, in 1966.
Joseph-Armand Bombardier, Canadian inventor, 1907-1964, was born in
Jean Charest, twenty-ninth Premier of Quebec, was born in Sherbrooke.
Dian Cohen, economist, Order of Canada, Order of Manitoba, lives
part-time in Hatley, Quebec.
Muriel Duckworth, pacifist and feminist, died in Magog.
Reginald Fessenden, Canadian inventor, was born in East Bolton.
Louis St. Laurent, Prime Minister of
Canada 1948-1957, was born in
Paul Martin, Prime Minister of
Canada 2003-2006, lives in Brome.
Damian Pettigrew, Paris-based Canadian film director, lives part-time
on Lake Memphremagog.
Donald Sutherland, actor, lives part-time in Georgeville.
Julia Grace Wales,
World War I
World War I peace activist
^ "Byline" in The Outlet, August 2007.
^ a b The Star Accessed 15 March 2008.
^ Ethno-Cultural Transition and Regional Identity in the Eastern
Townships of Quebec, J.I. Little, Canadian Historical Association,
Paul Martin profile
^ Radio France interview with Pettigrew and Caroline Caldier. Accessed
12 August 2011.
Tourism Eastern Townships
Townships Heritage Society
United Empire Loyalists
United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada
Gaelic Settlers of
Eastern Townships of Quebec
The Haldimand Collection, a major source of information regarding