Sherbrooke bills itself as the Reine des Cantons de l'Est (Queen of the Eastern Townships), and with a population of more than 150,000, it’s far and away the region's largest and most important city. The Loyalists who founded the city in the 1790s and who named it for Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, one of Canada's pre-Confederation governors-general, used the power of the Rivière St-François to build a strong industrial base. Though the city's economic importance has waned, it still has significant manufacturing and textile plants, and Wellington Street, in the downtown area, is experiencing a significant face-lift, with trendy restaurants, bars, and clubs now occupying once vacant lots.

A highlight of the town is the many beautifully painted murals on the sides of downtown buildings, and you can follow a self-guiding 6-km (4-mile) tour of them, starting from the tourist office on rue King.

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