Is Sutton in Estrie or in the Eastern Townships? Administrative region 05 may be called Eastern Township only. But on earth, the Estriens are divided on the name to choose for their region.
Posted at 5:00 am
“I always say Estrie and I will keep Estrie! “said Réal Rousseau, in front of a snack bar in Danville. The 78-year-old has always lived near Sherbrooke, and no one will change his mind, he said emphatically.
The debate over the region’s name was revived in July, when the MRC of Haute-Yamaska and Brome-Missisquoi, formerly in Montérégie, moved to Estrie at the request of the minister responsible for the region, François Bonnardel.
The boundaries of the Estrie administrative region and the Eastern Township tourist region have become exactly the same. That is why the Table des MRC asked the government to use a name: the Eastern Townships. A public consultation was launched in November and a report will be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, at the end of April.
The municipality of Stanstead, which has 2,800 residents, half of them English speakers, did not comment during the public consultation. “In my opinion, this is a big debate that won’t make a big difference,” Mayor Jody Stone said, during the passage of The Press in his village.
“Even if the government chooses Eastern Townships, the word Estrie will continue to exist. As proof, we have many companies with the word Estrie in their name, ”said the man who was born and always lives in Stanstead, near the American border.
When discussing, the mayor uses the word “Estrie” more often in French, but ” Eastern Towns “in English.
At the bazaar, a few streets away, Sylvie Boudreau said she uses the same name to designate her region. “I say both, but I prefer Estrie, because it’s shorter,” he explains as he walks through antique, craft and trinket merchants.
However, the general manager of the bazaar wonders about the need to hold such a debate. According to him, there are more important issues, such as the economy. Businesses in the region have been suffering from the pandemic and the absence of American tourists for two years. Mako Boudreau also criticized the costs involved in the public consultation and a name change.
I have something to say that may confuse me, but it gives me the impression that this idea is to a public servant who needs to justify his work.
Sylvie Boudreau, General Manager of Stanstead Bazaar
Réal Rousseau shared this opinion. “Eille, how much does it cost to change the name of an administrative region? he asked himself before leaving the La Reine de la patate snack bar carrying his poutine. “We should stay with Estrie because a change will cost money. […] It’s funny! Dear money, dear money. »
Eastern Townships for vacation
At the La Petite coiffure salon, customers rarely talk about the name the region should have-or not. “There’s a lot to be said about it in a hair salon, but that’s not a topic I’ve often heard about in two years,” said Catherine Théberge, owner of the business located on rue Principale, in Granby.
“I didn’t really think about myself. I didn’t stop there. I’m from Quebec, but I’ve lived in Granby for 25 years. I think Eastern Townships is like a vacation. Estrie sounds more administrative,” added the hairdresser, scissors and hand comb.
He’s not the only one who thinks. The name “Estrie” is more often associated with economic development while “Eastern Townships” refers to tourism, shows a survey conducted in 2019 by Vision Attractif, an organization founded by Tourisme Cantons-de- l’Est. More specifically, 52% of Estriens attribute job opportunities to Estrie, compared to 12% in Eastern Townships. On the other hand, 51% of respondents associate tourism with Eastern Townships rather than Eastern Townships (32%).
Charlotte Delorme, a hair salon client, still has preferences. “I was born in Eastern Townships and I want Eastern Townships to be Eastern Townships again. But hey, I’m not going to have a crisis for it, ”he said with a smile that could be guessed behind his mask.
Granby has always been part of the Eastern Townships tourist region. The city of Haute-Yamaska, however, moved from the administrative region of Montérégie to Estrie in July 2021. Thus it became the second largest city in Estrie, after Sherbrooke.
“Are we in Montérégie, in Estrie, in the Eastern Townships … getting confusing”, underlines Charlotte Delorme.
In one of the smallest villages in the Eastern Townships, Kingsbury, Amélie Tremblay also believes the two names are confusing.
Estrie and the Eastern Townships, for me, have always represented the same thing. I didn’t even think there was a difference.
Amélie Tremblay, who has always lived around Sherbrooke
“It might be simpler for the region to have a single name, whether it’s Estrie or the Eastern Townships. When I write this, I prefer Estrie,” the woman explained in front of her century-old yellow and purple house. .
More than 500 reviews
The president of the Table des MRC de l’Estrie has sidelined critics who believe the region should focus on other priorities.
We’ve been talking about Estrie and the Eastern Townships for years, and there are two names. We had to take the time to fix the question once and for all.
Hughes Grimard, president of the Table des MRC de l’Estrie
“With the addition of two new territories [en Estrie]if we want to close the question once and for all, that’s where we have to talk about it, not in two or four years, ”Hughes Grimard added, over the phone.
The Table des MRCs emerged in favor of the name Cantons-de-l’Est in 2019, but a very recent change in elected officials means the organization will no longer take a public position. “All the information is with the Minister and it is up to the Quebec Government to make the decision. The ball is in their court to make the best decision for the future of the region, ”Mr. Grimard said.
During the public consultation that ended last week, the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) received more than 500 opinions. “Opinions are very divided,” said Isabelle Rioval, strategic advisor at CMQ. Administrative judge Alain Roy is due to submit a report by the end of April, and the Council of Ministers will decide once and for all on the issue of Estrie and the Eastern Townships. .
Estrie in the figures
9 and RCM
Source: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing