The historical Eastern Townships region has greatly evolved over the past few decades. Today, this tourist region that is home to several British and American traditions. The podcast Discover you Past tells the story of the region’s unique history. What do Americans have to do with the region’s development, what is the story behind the lone pine in the Saint Francis River and what is the Irish Orange Lodge doing in the Townships?
After 1867, Canada underwent a period of reflection on its international identity and personality. How did Canadians perceive themselves? What role did they wish to play on the international scene? What relationships did they wish to maintain with Great Britain and with the United States?
Political Tensions and an “Agreement of Good Will”
In the Eastern Townships, some counties were home to a French-Canadian majority. When a new election was called, the choice of candidates led to heated debates. In counties where the English-speaking and French-speaking populations were proportional, an agreement of good will was struck between the two groups.
Francophones Change the Region’s Demographic Profile
An interesting characteristic of the Eastern Townships is the complete reversal of linguistic majorities over the 1880s. The local population went from an Anglophone majority to a Francophone majority during this period.
The The Scots of Lewis
On November 6, 1838, 200 Gaelic-speaking Scots arrived in the Eastern Townships. Most came from the Isle of Lewis, an island of the Outer Hebrides archipelago located north west of Scotland.
The Irish Community in the Eastern Townships
As early as the 18th century, there was an Irish presence in New France, with Irishmen joining the military ranks under the leadership of the King of France. During the War of 1812-1814, they arrived in the province as British soldiers.
Alexander Galt is a name nobody can miss in Sherbrooke. There is a boulevard named Galt and the English-language secondary school located in Lennoxville is named after him. But why was this man of Scottish origin, raised in England, so influential in the region?
The influx of French-Canadians to the Eastern Townships began to worry the region’s English-speaking inhabitants. The project that aimed to unite the British colonies of North America into a single dominion made the Anglophone population of the Eastern Townships fearful of becoming landlocked in a province with a French-Catholic majority.
During the turbulent years marked by rebellion within the colony, the politics of the Eastern Township shifted. The British Party (the Tories) was the only party present in the region. The Reformist group lost its press, and its leader and several members were forced to flee to the United States in exile.
The agricultural development of the Eastern Townships
The 19th century was a critical moment for agriculture in Lower Canada. Since 1792, new regions had opened for settlement. However, agriculture in the new Eastern Townships evolved differently than it did in the the old seigneuries.
The industrial development of the Eastern Townships
Thanks to their hydrography and to the abundance of mineral resources, the Eastern Townships held great economic potential. Between the 1840s and the 1870s, the improvement of transportation had considerable impacts on the region’s industrial development.
The development of the railway
In the middle of the 19th century, capital was invested by teh British American Land Company to improve the conditions of roads in the Eastern Townships and railway infrastructure was starting to appear.
Economic development of the Eastern Townships
Until the 1830s, the Eastern Townships struggled because the area was poorly linked to markets in Montreal, Quebec City and the United States. Developing the local economy remained a very difficult undertaking.
Turbulences and political tensions
In Lower Canada. the years that preceded the Patriots’ Rebellion were characterized by conflicts between English- and French-Canadians. In the Eastern Townships, this conflict materialized between American Reformists and Conservatives.
The emergence of a local economy
The turn of the 19th century was marked by a very slow economic development. Communication channels were lacking and access to foreign markets was impossible. In this episode you will join us on a journey to the very beginnings of economy in the Eastern Townships.
The British American Land Company
In 1824, a land development company was founded in order to settle and develop Upper Canada. This Company was founded by John Galt under the name of the British American Land Company. Discover in this episode you will discover the crucial impact the company had on the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
The emergence of a political landscape
What are the roots and beginnings of the political life in the Eastern Townships? In episode 8 we will talk about the emergence of a political landscape in our region.
An American accent in the Townships
In this episode we continue the story of Americans who became known as Loyalists. Where did they settle and what were their living conditions once they crossed the border?
Loyalists in the Eastern Townships
Many believe that the Eastern Townships were developed by American Loyalists. Is this really the case and what role did they truly play in our region’s history?
This podcast has been made possible through generous funding by the Secretariat for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers (SQREA).