Sherby, as some call it, is a mid-sized student city in the Estrie region of the Quebec province. You can read a lot about this city here on wikipedia. To be short: it’s a city with a very strong English heritage mixed with French roots, making it a fairly balanced bilingual city. Here you can work, study, live in either French or English without having to speak the other language. Today it has a little over 150.000 inhabitants and is the center of the region. Sherbrooke is the union of 4 different villages (6 neighborhoods) with a strange political arrangement (they have 4 mayors).
We arrived here on November 12th 2014 around 1a.m. completely exhausted but our initial impression of the place was that it’s quite vast, extended; and that the population density must be quite low. The next day we toured around the city to find out that the city center is very cute and charming, resembles a tiny bit the European cities we were used to. As soon as you leave the city center though it gets strictly residential. The buildings here are quite low so the city skyline isn’t full of obnoxious skyscrapers, etc., which is nice. That also makes things grow apart.
We chose this place because it was small, but still big enough. We were tired of the highly dense cities of the French Riviera, tired of Paris, tired of traffic. We wanted somewhere a little more peaceful but not countryside. And Sherbrooke is just perfect, with its huge educational backbone it also has an great leisure options. There are good bars of which I will write one day, museums, theaters, and alot-of-alot-of opportunities for outdoor activities.
There’s a lake in the center, and a river running through the city. Loads of parks everywhere, forests, more than 150km of bicycle paths/tracks; public tennis and baseball courts, hockey and skating rinks… it’s wonderful. In so many ways this place is much more democratic than any city I lived in in France.
Sherbrooke also has a healthy and strong industrial sector, as well as other expanding sectors like IT and Health. Another reason why we came to Sherbrooke specifically is that I had found an employer interested in my profile before coming here. That made everything a lot easier for the move. Once they confirmed their intentions, we started getting on the move. They arranged our flight tickets, picked us up at the airport, and helped us finding a home.
So practically we were all set even before arriving in Canada.