By Jazmine Aldrich
We at the ETRC can hardly believe that October is almost over and 2024 is just around the corner. As we embrace the last quarter of 2023, let’s reflect on a slice of life in the 1923 Eastern Townships, 100 years ago.
In East Angus, an exciting feat of engineering was making its first appearance. The Taschereau Bridge, which replaced the Brompton Pulp and Paper Company’s bridge over the St. Francis River, was inaugurated on August 1, 1923. It was named for the Quebec Liberal and 14th Premier, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, who served in that role from 1920 to 1936. The bridge cost nearly $200,000 (almost 3.5 million, today) and was funded by the Government of Quebec as well as the Brompton Pulp and Paper Company. Decades before the Quiet Revolution, the inauguration ceremony began with a blessing of the bridge by the Monseigneur Alphonse-Osias Gagnon – at that time, Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sherbrooke. A banquet was held, following the inauguration ceremony, and Premier Taschereau addressed the gathering about his reservations regarding the Government of Canada’s proposition to prohibit the sale of Canadian pulp to the United States. Mr. Taschereau certainly knew his audience!
Meanwhile, from August 17th to 27th, 1923, the Boy Scouts’ 2nd Sherbrooke Troop were headed to camp in Ayer’s Cliff. The direction of the camp was under former District Scoutmaster, Peter M. Dennis, with Troop Leader Lynn Trussler serving as assistant director. The tents were supplied by the army courtesy of Colonel John J. Penhale. Aside from their regular scout training, the camp included swimming, campfire singalongs, hikes, fishing, baseball, and plenty of other activities. The camp was open to all scouts of the Eastern Townships, ranging from other Sherbrooke troops to Coaticook scouts, and even some boys who were not yet scouts but were potential recruits. A modest price of $5 per child for 2nd Sherbrooke Troop scouts and $6 for all others was charged. Parents and friends were encouraged to visit the camp and witness the fun being had. Saturday, August 25th was reserved as a special sports day where three silver cups were up for grabs, along with first- and second-prize ribbons. In an announcement published in the Sherbrooke Daily Record on July 31, 1923, it was asserted that “the camp is undoubtedly going to be a success” and a success, it was.