Marking 50 years since Sherbrooke’s St-Jean Baptiste Society headquarters bombing

Taylor McClure, Special to The Record

This year we are marking 50 years since the headquarters of Sherbrooke’s St-Jean Baptiste Society (SSJB) was destroyed by a dynamite explosion, which led to a cancellation of all of their St-Jean Baptist activities. The Society was in the midst of planning their annual celebrations for the June 24 holiday when they decided to extend an invitation to the Prime Minister at the time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, in hopes that he would attend. Trudeau’s acceptance of the invitation did not sit well with a group of Quebec nationalists known as Le Comité pour les Fête Populaires and they protested against his presence. They believed that St-Jean Baptiste Day should be focused at the provincial level and should not include federal politicians who they saw as barriers to Quebec’s independence. As a result of the protests and a request on part of the Comité, they city of Sherbrooke decided to let the Comité use the Sports Palace and Jean Cartier Park for the June 24 holiday to organize their own series of events in addition to those of the St-Jean Baptiste Society. See full story in the Friday, Oct. 25 edition of The Record.

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