Sherbrooke is a beautiful city that is at the point where the Saint-Francois and Magog rivers meet. People have lived in the city for at least 8,000 years, so it has a long history. But it didn’t really make a name for itself until the 20th century.
Sherbrooke was called the “Queen of the Eastern Townships” because it was the economic, cultural, and institutional center of the area. And it is a queen, with a city center surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers and lots of green spaces.
Sherbrooke is a great place to go on vacation because it has historic sites, cultural sites, and natural attractions. If you ever find yourself in Sherbrooke, make sure you don’t miss these 10 great things to do:
1. Get your adrenaline pumping
Whether you go to Mont Bellevue Park in the winter, spring, summer, or fall, you are sure to find something to do that will make your heart beat faster. The 333-meter-high highest point of the 200-hectare park is the highest point in the city.
You can go hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing on the park’s 30 km of trails. You can also go tubing in the summer on the water or in the winter down a hill.
In the winter, if you ski or snowboard, you should go to Mont Bellevue Park. If you like to hike and look for animals, go in the spring or fall to see beautiful flowers and a lot of different animals.
2. Gaze at art
The Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts was started by art lovers in the area in 1982. Today, it has an important permanent collection that shows off the work of artists from the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
You can look at art on all three levels of the gallery when you go there. On the first two floors, there are traveling exhibitions, while the third floor is only for local artists.
In downtown Sherbrooke, the gallery is in an old building from the 1800s. The building that used to be a bank is now an art gallery with more than 4,600 pieces.
3. Learn about the different kinds of nature in the city
At the Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum, you can do this any time of year because it is inside. The museum has more than 65,000 objects and specimens that show the province’s wide range of plants and animals.
In the museum, you can see fossils of plants and animals, minerals, scientific tools, and animal specimens. There are also artifacts from the past that can be seen.
The Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum has special exhibits in addition to its permanent collection. After you’ve looked around the museum, be sure to stop by its gift shop to pick up some unique keepsakes.
4. Check out the castles
Or homes in the Rock Forest neighborhood of the city that look like castles. Some of the most wealthy people in the city now live in the old farming village.
Walk down some of the streets in the area and be amazed by how beautiful the homes are. A big recreation center with tennis courts, racquetball courts, volleyball courts, and a restaurant is also there.
Rock Forest is mostly an Anglophone neighborhood in a city where most people speak French. People who live there are friendly and happy to see tourists.
5. Go to a weapons store
The Sherbrooke Hussars and a Canadian Army Sherman Tank both live in the Sherbrooke Armoury. A national historic site is also in the building.
The Sherbrooke Armoury has a large drill hall and a low-pitched gable roof. The Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke Regimental Museum is also there.
The museum promotes both Sherbrooke’s and the rest of Canada’s military history. It shows things that have to do with the regiment as well as other things.
6. Drink tea
At the Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre, you can have tea the way the English do it. During the summer, afternoon tea is served during the week as well as on the weekends.
Tea, scones, cream made in the Devonshire style, and homemade strawberry jam are always served. In the summer, cucumber sandwiches and pastries are also served. Go for the full high tea and enjoy quiche and other tasty bites as well.
Tea can be enjoyed in the gardens, on the terrace, or inside the stately house, depending on the time of year. The house itself is also worth looking at because it has display rooms that are decorated to match the time period of the house.
7. Go to the theatre
Even though the Granada Theatre is now a national historic site, it is still a place where shows are put on. It was built as a movie theater, but today there aren’t many movies shown here.
In 1929, the Granada Theater first opened its doors. The building was made in the style of the Spanish Revival, and its interior was designed by Emmanuel Briffa, a well-known local theater decorator.
The city owns the theater and runs it to protect the building and its history. Check out the website to find out what shows are coming up and to buy tickets.
8. Walk around in a jail
Winter Prison closed in 1990, but it is now a very popular place to visit. One of the oldest buildings in the city, the prison was built in 1865.
The prison is now empty, and people say that it is haunted. Some of the worst criminals in the province used to be locked up there.
Winter Prison can be seen, but most people don’t go inside. Instead, they choose to look at the historic building from the street.
9. Enjoy a festival
Sherbrooke is the cultural center of the area, so it has a lot of great festivals. Almost any time of the year, you can go to a festival.
Make sure to check out the Fête du Lac des Nations if you visit in the summer. This festival lasts for six days every July. There is music, fireworks, and rides.
At the Festival des traditions du monde, which also happens in the summer, you can see how different the city’s cultures are. You can enjoy Carnaval de Sherbrooke if you go to Sherbrooke in the winter.
10. Take a walk through the woods
The Bois Beckett Forest is different from other forests nearby. Old maple and beech trees grow together in this forest.
You can walk through the 70 hectares of forest and look at the old trees and animals. There are more than 100 kinds of birds in the forest, and if you’re lucky, you might see a few of them.
In the forest, there are eight marked trails that add up to 6.1 kilometers of hiking. The Bois Beckett Forest is a great place to go cross-country skiing in the winter.