How To Experience Sherbrooke In Every Season
Nestled between the St. Lawrence River and the United States border and just a short drive from Montréal is a picturesque destination that offers a unique blend of French and English cultures. If you’ve never ventured to Quebec’s Eastern Townships, you’re in for a treat. This charming region, known for its bucolic landscapes, quaint towns, and rich history, was the only Canadian destination named in the New York Times’ popular 52 Places to Go in 2023.
One of the region’s most notable cities is Sherbrooke. Located at the confluence of two rivers, Sherbrooke is home to stunning natural beauty and a thriving arts and cultural scene. Sherbrooke also boasts an impressive culinary scene, with an array of restaurants and cafes serving up delicious French-Canadian cuisine. And for those who love the great outdoors, the city is surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests, offering endless opportunities for adventure.
Read on below for list of things to do in and around Sherbrooke in every season. If you’d like help planning the perfect Quebec getaway, check out our growing list of Quebec Experience or reach out to us. We’d love to help!
For more information about the Townships, read our post Exploring The Eastern Townships.
Summer in Sherbrooke
Inhale the sweet scent of lavender on the largest lavender farm in eastern North America, stroll the Lac-des-Nations Boardwalk and check out a festival at the parc Jacques-Cartier. Summer in Sherbrooke is a time for fun, food and relaxation.
Try some of the incredible local food products (such as cheese, meat and gelato) at the Marché de la Gare, which features a year-round indoor market and Saturday Farmer’s Market in the warmer months.
Get out on the water with a gourmet cruise on Lake Memphremagog or paddle the Corridor Bleu — Sherbrooke’s two river system that offers two descents and two calm water adventures. Bring your own kayak or canoe or opt to rent one in town. Hiking, biking, golfing and swimming are also all readily available on a summer trip to Sherbrooke.
Beer enthusiasts will want to sample some of the local craft brews. You can also take a tasting tour of the Siboire Microbrewery and learn about the history of beer in Sherbrooke, which dates back to the mid-1800s.
Fall in Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke is a dream destination for those who love to see the changing fall colours. While the city itself is awash with vibrant reds, golden yellows and punchy oranges, it is the surrounding terrain that will take your breath away.
For the best vantage point, visit nearby Mont Orford. You can ride the gondola for spectacular views or hike one of the many trails in the park. The fall colours festival — Flambée des couleurs — takes place annually from mid-September to mid-October.
Of course autumn in the Eastern Townships is about more than just the leaves changing colour. It is also a time of bounty for the local farmers and producers. Go apple picking, explore a nearby farm or sample fresh local products at one of Sherbrooke’s many restaurants.
Fall is also a great time to visit the Abbaye de Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, located on the shores of Lake Mémphremagog. You can walk the meandering wooded trails, go apple picking, take a guided tour of the monastery or buy products made by the monks, such as the renowned cheeses, compotes and ciders.
Wine aficionados can enjoy the surrounding fall colours while partaking in a wine tour and tastings at nearby vineyards. Visit Le Cep d’Argent and try their sparkling wine or do a tasting at the picturesque Vignoble la Haute des Pèlerins.
Winter in Sherbrooke
Hibernation is not an option when visiting Sherbrooke in the winter — there are just too many fun outdoor things to do.
Just 10 minutes from downtown Sherbrooke is the Parc du Mont-Bellevue where winter visitors can ski (both downhill and cross country), go fat biking, snowshoe, or tube down a 100-metre long hill.
When it gets dark, head to Domaine-Howard Park for a magical evening of illuminated skating on the pond.
Good, local food is always part of the experience when visiting Sherbrooke and winter is no exception. Dine on comfort cuisine in the city’s many cozy restaurants or grab a warm beverage and enjoy the winter scenery in one of the city’s three winter squares. These are outdoor spaces outfitted with seating located throughout the city. Try the Strathcona Square in front of Town Hall for a fun winter vibe.
Winter is also a good time to visit the city’s Museum of Nature and Science. There are always interesting and interactive exhibits, such as Terra Mutantés, which takes visitors back in time to the evolution of the areas terrain (expect to learn about the formation of the Appalachian Mountains, continental shifts and lava fields).
Spring in Sherbrooke
When the weather becomes warmer and snow gradually starts to melt, it signals maple time in Sherbrooke. Spring is known as “sugaring time” when producers tap the region’s numerous maple trees to collect the sap that will be boiled down into some of the most desirable maple syrup in the world.
Visit the Érabilis sugar shack for a tour of the maple production (with great views over the nearby mountains) and a tasting menu that consists not just of maple syrup but of all kinds of delicious homemade foods that showcase the product.
If you’re visiting later in the season, enjoy a quiet walk on the Rapids Walkway along the river. The water is lit up by dynamic lighting in the evenings, making this a magical place for a stroll. During the day, enjoy a walk through the downtown searching for the 18 pieces of outdoor street art on the Sherbrooke Murals Circuit.