Sherbrooke is home to the "Sherbrooke University Pole," a collection of eight colleges and universities that drive the city's economy and shape its "University City" identity. The city has historically been a major manufacturing and shipping centre due to its prime location in eastern Quebec, but as the economy evolved, its education industry become more prominent.
If you are interested in moving to “the Queen of the Eastern Townships,” read on to learn more about moving to Sherbrooke.
Sherbrooke has a cold-winter humid continental climate according to the Köppen Climate Classification system. The city experiences all four seasons each year, but winter hits the hardest and lasts the longest. Summers can get quite warm, with an average high of 25 degrees Celsius, but January highs only reach about -6 degrees.
What really makes the winters harsh is the abundance of snow (287 mm a year). Precipitation is common year-round, but is at its worst in late summer and fall. Although rare, snow is possible in May and September, leaving only three months in the year with no chance of ice.
In 2002, Sherbrooke annexed most of its surrounding suburbs and then divided into six boroughs: Brompton, Fleurimont, Lennoxville, Mont-Bellevue, Rock Forest–Saint-Élie–Deauville, and Jacques-Cartier.
The boroughs are further divided into several neighbourhoods, including popular destinations such as Le quartier universitaire, L’Est, Le Petit Canada and Ascot. Most of the city's architecture is noted for its distinct Victorian style.
As you may be able to tell from the neighbourhood names, Sherbrooke is predominately a French-speaking city. Roughly 90 percent of the population speaks French as its first language, while only four percent primarily speak English. Unlike some French-speaking areas, bilingualism isn’t common. Only 0.4 percent know both English and French.
Registering Your Car in Sherbrooke
If you are bringing a car into Sherbrooke from outside of Quebec, you will need to get it registered. Remember that Quebec largely acts independently from the rest of Canada, so the requirements and exemptions for vehicle registration may be unlike other provinces. Make sure your inspection sticker is up to date and bring ample identification and proof of ownership. There will also be clerical fees.
Société de transport de Sherbrooke provides Sherbrooke with public transportation service. STS has minibuses, taxi-buses and standard buses which provide over 30 separate routes around the city.
The Sherbrooke Airport is just outside of the city, but it does not offer any outgoing flights and only accepts a limited amount of incoming air traffic. If you need an international airport, you’ll need to drive over 140 kilometres away and use Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal.
Sherbrooke is filled with schools, especially post-secondary institutions. There are eight in total that make up the famous “Sherbrooke University Pole”.
- Université de Sherbrooke
- Bishop's University
- Cégep de Sherbrooke
- Champlain Regional College
- Séminaire de Sherbrooke
- Sherbrooke University Hospital Center
- Centre de santé et de services sociaux - Institut universitaire de gériatrie
- Dairy and Swine Research and Development Center
Because of this collection of colleges and universities, Sherbrooke has Quebec’s highest percentage of students in its population. Over 10 percent of the city’s residents study at one of the University Pole schools.
Elementary and secondary schooling is less prominent in Sherbrooke, especially if you’re looking for English-speaking schools. There is only one public English-speaking elementary school and high school each in Sherbrooke. They are both under the authority of the Eastern Township School Board, which also oversees several other cities' English-speaking schools in the predominantly French region.
Sherbrooke’s economy thrives on a combination of industry and education. The Sherbrooke University Pole is the biggest source of employment in the city. These colleges and universities employ over 11,000 people and produce over one billion dollars.
Sherbrooke’s location at the confluence of the St. Francis and Magog rivers along with its several stops in national rail lines keep the city an important travel and shipping hub. Goods are constantly being transported into and out of the city, which makes Sherbrooke a good place for companies to have operations. The City of Sherbrooke, Desjardins Group and Kruger are some of the city’s largest non-school employers.
Sherbrooke’s Cost of Living
Sherbrooke has a relatively low cost of living, especially when it comes to rent prices. Other life necessities are average or cheaper than similar Canadian cities.
Please note that the city’s cost of living is an elusive thing to measure and it depends on a lot of data to get an accurate estimate. The two biggest online cost of living calculators (Expatistan
) both need more information on Sherbrooke before they can give you definitive numbers. A quick look at both those sites will reveal a few irregularities. The one consistent trend is that rent is exceptionally low in Sherbooke, even if you are renting in the more expensive part of town.
Sherbrooke Culture and Contemporary Life
Sherbrooke has a variety of seasonal festivals for both residents and tourists to attend.
- Fête du Lac des Nations: This July festival takes place in Jacques-Cartier Park and features carnival attractions and musicians.
- Festival des traditions du monde: This free festival celebrates world cultures and is based in Quintal Park each August.
- Carnaval de Sherbrooke: This festival is held in winter and is a celebration of both Sherbrooke and the season.
Sherbrooke also is home to parks and museums for all tastes. The Sherbrooke Fine Art Museum unsurprisingly holds many fine art exhibits. On the other hand, the Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum focuses more on natural history and science than art. Both museums are located in downtown Sherbrooke.
There are 108 parks and greenspaces in the Sherbrooke municipality. Some are protected nature preserves and others are places for people to play sports and engage in other recreational activities. The city’s biggest park is the 200 hectare Mont Bellevue Park. It’s so big that it contains both natural ecosystems and places for human recreation. You can even ski down the mountain!
Sherbrooke Moving Resources
If you’re considering a move to Shrebrooke, you need someone to get your things to the city. Topmoving.ca has a database of companies that can provide you with moving services in the Sherbrooke area. Get at least three quotes from multiple companies to find the best price for your move.
Sherbrooke Relocation Tips
- Learn French if you plan on moving to Sherbrooke. Less than five percent of the population can speak English.
- Prepare for snow in winter, the city usually gets hit hard.
- If flying, you may have a long drive since you'll likely have to use Montreal's airport rather that the limited Sherbrooke Airport.
- You can be picky with the housing in Sherbrooke because the rent is relatively cheap, even in the high-end areas.
- Sherbrooke.qc: The city's official website.
- SAAQ: This Quebec government site can provide information on vehicle registration in the province.
- Expatistan: A cost of living calculator that compiles real people's reported expenses in specific cities. This is Sherbrooke's profile.
- Numbeo: Another calculator like Expatistan, it has slightly different results for Sherbrooke.
- Sherbrooke Record: This is the city's leading online newspaper.
- STS: Sherbrooke's public transit website can provide you with information about its routes and services.