Difference between revisions of "Eastern Townships"
Revision as of 08:00, 8 June 2012
The Cantons de l'Est or l'Estrie (English: Eastern Townships) is a region of Quebec nestled between northern Maine and New Hampshire and Vermont. Settled by Loyalists fleeing the United States during the Revolutionary War in the 18th century, the Townships share a climate and architectural and cultural heritage with much of New England.
There is a minor airport just east of Sherbrooke, with only one flight departing, and one other arriving per day, from Toronto, Ontario. Service is assured by Air Sherbrooke. The price of a regular one-way ticket is 324$ plus taxes, though discounts are available for students and passengers flying to Toronto for a long weekend. Most tourists however, come in via Montreal's Trudeau International Airport.
Limocar offers bus service to and from Montreal. Most buses stop in Granby and Magog, and all end in Sherbrooke, while two departures per day are local, thus making more than twenty stops along Route 112. From Quebec City, Jordez is the bus company that assures service, and Autobus de l'Or Blanc connects Sherbrooke with Thetford Mines.
By car, Autoroute 10 is the fastest way from Montreal and Ottawa, while Americans coming from Vermont will want to take Interstate 91. Access from Quebec City, the Mauricie, and the Centre-du-Québec regions is done via Autoroute 55.
Get aroundThe easiest way to get around l'Estrie (as The Eastern Townships are known affectionately as in French) is by car. This is due to the lack of bus and train service to the area. The only rail service is a tourist Railway, the Orford Express  (and freight rail service). The provincial government, through its Ministry of Transportation (Transports Québec) has recently been improving the roads in the region. Roads are being repaved, motorway junctions rebuilt, and generally, the quality of roads is improving. You will see exceptions in towns such as Magog and Sherbrooke, where the roads may be a bit jarring.
Automobile travel in summer is generally easy, and you will probably want a car with air conditioning as the Québec summers tend to be on the hot and humid side. In the wintertime, be aware that Québec law states that any vehicle registered in the province must have winter tires between December 15 and March 15 . Vehicles registered outside of Québec do not need to follow this law, but be advised that winter tires are a very good idea when driving anywhere in Québec during the winter season. Plows generally only fully clear the Autoroutes and major roadways. Back roads, side streets, alleys and other ways may often be covered in snow for the entire winter. Americans visiting this part of Canada will be surprised to learn (and possibly caught off-guard) that much less salt is used to melt snow than in the United States. In addition, the temperatures trend much lower than other regions south of the Townships, and frequent snowfalls mean a very high average seasonal snowfall when compared to, for example, southern New England.<p> The Québécois are spirited drivers in the best of times, and winter is no exception. Be aware of cars which may be manoeuvered in unconventional ways (i.e. sideways, etc) in order to use the snow to the driver's advantage. This is obviously not the case on Autoroutes, but can be observed on side streets and parking lots for instance.