Autumn comes to Coaticook
  Quebec's Eastern Townships (Map of Eastern Townships) or the Cantons de l'Est or l'Estrie is located south, and as the name indicates to the east, of Montreal. At the upper reaches of the Appalachian Range, the area consists of rolling farmland in the shadows of large mountains, with some reaching 1000 meters or more. Several large lakes can be found in the area, including Lake Memphremagog, which stretches from Magog into the United States. One of our favorites for an evening paddle is Lac Saint-Francois, in Frontenac Park. Lac Stuckley in Mont Orford Park is a another excellent destination for a quiet paddle on a warm summer evening.
Heritage buildings and homes can be found everywhere in the region, stone, brick and clapboard construction are common. You'll also find innumerable cover bridges along the secondary roads, which add to the regions' charms.

Excellent restaurants and quaint inns are to be found throughout the area. Auberge L'Aubergine, of Mansonville, is well known for it's excellent fare, which includes dishes with distinctly Quebecois origins. Another fine example is the Auberge Le St-Amour, which offers dining and lodging in a fine example of a period building. The town of Knowlton is one of our favorites when it comes to dining out, with several intriguing spots along its main street, allowing you to choose from a variety of different cuisine.

 
Dusk settles on the Town of Sutton

At first glance much of the Townships could be mistaken for parts of New England. A more discerning eye will start to see the French influences. Add to this the natural beauty of the surrounds and you have a very picturesque image. While the region is one of Montrealer's vacation getaways and is dotted with cottages, there are still many rugged and undeveloped areas in the Townships - providing nature at its best.

The Eastern Townships is all about the outdoors. There are four provincial parks, several significant regional parks, as well as ZEC's and nature centers. Given the vast stands of maple, the leaf viewing in Autumn is amongst the very best in the east (this statement makes for some great arguments - forewarned is forearmed). Each year many of the ski hills put on a leaf festival, with the areas colours begging you to catch a ride on the ski lifts to the top of the mountains for a better view. Check our Leaf Viewing feature for the festival dates, as well as information on regional accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

 
Catching big air at Bromont during the World Cup Downhill Photo by Justin Moss
  Mountain Bikers have several options here, including one of the east's finest trail systems on Mont-Bromont.  The hill is a pioneer, having catered to bikers for years.

The lift served trail system is extensive, well maintained and extremely well designed. The mountain has hosted the World Mountain Bike Championships, as well as several cross-country and downhill World Cups.

Hikers and Backpackers are well served by the Township's trails. The Sentier de L'Estrie climbs several of the areas peaks on it's way to join Vermont's Long Trail at the US border in the south. If you favorite sport is Canoeing, there are several rivers to conquer in the region, or you might want to try some canoe camping in Frontenac Provincial Park. Climbers are also in luck with the sport climbing area in Orford and climbing gyms in the City of Sherbrooke.

Winter is one of the best times to visit the region. The area is well known for it's ski and boarding resorts, which include Mont-Sutton, Mount Glen, Mont Orford and Owls Head. There are also endless possibilities for cross country skiing, as well as backcountry hut-to-hut adventure at Mont Megantic Park. Snow Shoeing and Dog Sledding are two other sports garnering a lot of attention and they are increasingly being well represented in the area.

Backcountry Activities in the Eastern Townships
   
 
Articles and Features
Coaticook Gorge
Hut-to-Hut in Mont Megantic Park
Leaf Viewing - Fall Colours in Quebec
Townships Rail Trails - Rails to trails in the Townships

Festivals, Events and Attractions

 
Visiting from outside Quebec: Quebecer's have a unique place in Canada as one of the founding peoples. The interaction of the two cultures, while not always seamless, has contributed to a rich diversity and unique style found no where else in North America. Quebec's natural heritage, is only now being fully appreciate by the rest of the world. The Charlevoix, a world heritage site, the Gaspesie with the spectacular Chic Chocs, the Torngates of the North are just a few of the natural wonders of the province. We have put together pointers to help make your visit to this unique province even more enjoyable.
 
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Visiting from outside Canada: Depending on your country of origin you may have little to understand or adapt to when you visit Canada. On the other hand many of Canada's customs, its commerce and cultural may be very new to some visitors. We have put together a list of helpful information to assist you in your planning and to take with you when you go.
 
 

 
   
 
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  Snapshot Mont Orford Provincial Park - The townships most popular park.
   
 
  New Coaticook Gorge - hiking, mountain biking and camping in the Townships
   
 
  Monteregie The Eastern Townships neighbor shares several cycling paths with the Townships
   
 
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The city of festivals is surrounded by a broad outdoor playground.
   
 
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