The Townships TrailHistory, culture and pastoral landscapes
On the back roads of the Eastern Townships lie many delightfully picturesque villages, just waiting to be discovered. If you’re in search of architectural gems like covered bridges, round barns, churches, heritage houses and general stores, take the Townships Trail! Discover the region’s history and culture in 27 stages as you meander down the bypaths and byways of a land coloured by contrast.
Once upon a time, there were the Townships...
In the late 18th and throughout the 19th century, the region’s first villages were erected by various settlers: the Irish, the Scots and the American Loyalists. Their unique legacy is alive and well today. Throughout the Townships Trail, numerous interpretation centres, museums, heritage trails and presentations will immerse you in a bygone era as they bridge the gap between past and present.
A wealth of history to uncover
Each city and village signposted by the Townships Trail offers up a wealth of architectural heritage. Below is a sampling of the region’s must-see attractions:
- the Musée historique du comté de Brome (Brome County historical museum) consists of five period buildings as well as authentic reconstructions of the general store and courthouse;
- the Ulverton Woolen Mill (Ulverton wool mill), built in 1850 by Scottish weavers;
- the Centre d’interprétation de l’ardoise (slate interpretation centre), located in a Richmond church whose roof and steeple are made from this local sedimentary rock;
- Danville's three heritage itineraries, which highlight a number of residential architectural styles, including Neo-Queen Ann, Second Empire and Boomtown;
- the Milby covered bridge in Waterville, built in 1873, one of the region’s most famous landmarks;
- the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead, which houses a major collection of artifacts illustrating the lifestyle of the local Anglophone gentry;
- the Uplands Cultural and Heritage Center in Lennoxville (Sherbrooke), a cultural and heritage centre located in a superb 19th-century Victorian home. Exhibitions highlight local history and art. Don’t miss the museum’s traditional English tea, served all summer long;
- the Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada in Compton, located in the childhood home of Canada's Prime Minister from 1948 to 1957;
- the Centre d’interprétation du granit de Stanstead (granite interpretation centre), which highlights the artisanal and manufactured wares produced in Canada's "granite capital", a town whose beginnings hearken back to 1860.
The Townships Trail extends for 415 km (260 mi.) through 31 municipalities, from Ulverton to Bromont by way of Danville, Dudswell, Lennoxville (Sherbrooke), Compton, Magog and Knowlton... to name but a few. The route, which is not a loop, can be accessed at any point, whether town or meadow, by following the signs.