Our founding fathers
Dr. Gaétan Duquette
Dr. Pierre Massicotte
Dr. Robert Weldon
Dufferin Street in 1897
In 1897, streetcars began to circulate in the streets of Sherbrooke. On the Dufferin Bridge, they passed pedestrians and carts. The bridge, rebuilt with an iron frame in 1880, still has its wooden sidewalks. At the intersection of Frontenac and Marquette streets, the Sun Life building housed several offices, including those of the American consulate. On the left, the People’s Telephone Company, which competed with the Bell Company in the Eastern Townships, displays its corporate name. At the time, each company had its own lines and terminals. It was impossible for a subscriber to reach a person who was linked to a competing company. Merchants, in order to contact their customers, had to subscribe to both telephone networks. The building on the other side of Dufferin Street, near the bridge exit, housed the offices of the daily newspaper La Tribune for several decades. Photo: Paul gagné Fund – Sherbrooke Historical Society.
The Magog Woolen Mill near the Magog River, around 1910
Sherbrooke’s development is due to the hydraulic power provided by the Magog River gorge. In the 19th century, following the construction of several dams that supplied energy to many factories and workshops, Sherbrooke became the second largest industrial city in Quebec, after Montreal. On the east bank of the Magog River, near the present-day Hubert-C.-Cabana Bridge, an industrial sector was established where, among other things, G.G. Bryant, a lumber factory built in 1877, and Magog Woolen Mills, a company specializing in textile manufacturing, built in 1868 and operating until 1925, prospered. In 1889, to accommodate the factories in the Gorge area, the Canadian Pacific Railway built a station at the intersection of Belvedere and Frontenac streets. The following year, the citizens of the North End benefited from a new bridge that linked their neighbourhood to their workplace and to the schools on the Plateau Marquette. In 1897, a streetcar line passed over the bridge. In December 1902, a streetcar derailed at this location. The repeated passage of streetcars over the wooden structure of the bridge eventually shook it. In July 1903, a new metal-arched Wolfe Bridge was opened. Photo: Frederick James Sangster Fund – Sherbrooke Historical Society.
The Sherbrooke Pure Milk Co. Ltd. circa 1920
In 1910, Marcus Trenholm Armitage and R.W. Reid joined forces to found Sherbrooke Pure Milk. From modest beginnings, the company became the largest retailer and wholesaler of dairy products in Sherbrooke and the Eastern Townships. In addition to milk, Sherbrooke Pure Milk soon produced cream, half-and-half, whipped cream, ice cream and butter. At the end of the 1920s, the mandatory pasteurization of milk brought about structural changes in this production sector. Small producers did not have the capital to equip their dairies with a pasteurizer. In 1929, businessmen from the region, including Charles Benjamin Howard and Albert Carlos Skinner, formed the Sherbrooke Pure Milk Company, which merged Sherbrooke Pure Milk and the Crèmerie de Sherbrooke. Photo: Gérard Auray Fund – The Sherbrooke Historical Society.
Wellington Street North in the 1930s
At the end of the 1930s, Wellington Street was the center of economic activity in the city of Sherbrooke. The streetcars had not been running since 1932. They had been replaced by large American cars. Parking meters had not yet been introduced, so professionals with offices downtown could park their cars along the street for a full day without getting a ticket. To the left, in the center, a large sign announces “CLOTHES”. It’s the Rosenbloom store, a haberdashery that also sells long woolen bathing suits for moral support. To the right, in the distance, the Granada is the place where great American movies are shown and where international and local stars perform. Large elm trees still line the street near the present-day city hall, but they disappeared when Dutch elm disease struck them in the 1950s. Photo: Jean-Marie Dubois Fund – Sherbrooke Historical Society.
The Sherbrooke Pure Milk Dairy Bar circa 1952
In 1930, the Sherbrooke Pure Milk Company inaugurated its new plant, which included the necessary equipment to comply with the new sanitary regulations enacted by the provincial government. The milk and cream were pasteurized. The new plant was built to the left of its former building. Dairy companies began advertising campaigns to demonstrate the benefits of pasteurized milk. In 1936, Sherbrooke Pure Milk pulled off a great advertising coup by distributing a free calendar featuring the five Dionne twins, who were then two years old. In addition to selling milk, Sherbrooke Pure Milk took advantage of the milkshake and ice cream cone craze in the 1950s. It expanded its clientele by opening a dairy bar that all the youth of Sherbrooke would frequent. Photo: Olivier family fund – The Sherbrooke Historical Society.
A policeman in the “garbage can”, directing traffic at the corner of King Street West and Grandes-Fourches in 1974
In the 1920s, a policeman was directing traffic at the corner of King Street West and Wellington Street. Wearing a white colonial helmet, he directs cars, pedestrians, carts and streetcars. In the 1960s, there was still a constable at this intersection. As for the intersection of Grandes-Fourches and King Street West, it was not until 1946 that a police officer was assigned to the same job. At first, the constable was only there during rush hour. For his safety, he was installed on a small pedestal 30 cm high, which allowed him to overlook the traffic. Over time, this small base will become the “trash can”, an object that many Sherbrooke residents remember. The garbage can will soon be equipped with a heated floor and a small roof to protect the constable from bad weather. This tower disappeared at the end of the 1980s. Photo: Fonds de la Ville de Sherbrooke – La Société d’histoire de Sherbrooke.
234 Dufferin Street
After having practiced in the Central Building on King Street West, it is in this building that Dr. Gaëtan Duquette, Dr. Pierre Massicotte and Dr. Robert E. Weldon established their clinic on May 1st 1978. Later named the Old Sherbrooke Dental Center in 2008, it was the location of our office until December 2012. In 1854, John Griffith, a merchant, erected the building at the present 234 Dufferin Street. The Griffith Block was then a three-storey building with multiple uses. It was the largest commercial building in the area. Many curious people make a detour to come and see it. In addition to the businesses, the Griffith Block has offices and an auditorium. The post office was located there until 1884. Several associations occupy offices in the building. Some had a cultural vocation, such as the Sherbrooke Library and Art Association, which set up a museum, a library and a reading room in the 1880s. From 1907, the Jewish community of Sherbrooke worshipped there until 1920. Purchased in 1947 by Mrs. Blanche Bélanger, the building was expanded by one floor. However, the foundations of the building, as seen from the Gilbert-Hyatt bridge, show that they are from the 19th century. Photo: The Sherbrooke Historical Society.