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BRIGHAM, QC: BWA NOT A BLEMISH ON THIS QUÉBEC MUNICIPALITY’S AMBIENCE
Situated on the banks of the Yamaska River, Brigham is home to more than 2400 people whose roots date back to the mid-19th century. Brigham was named after the owner of a brick factory, the area’s largest business of that era. Still standing today as an agricultural and tourist region, numerous houses dating back to 1865 and two covered bridges, one of which underwent major restoration in 2001, are tangible signs of the past.
An upgrade to the water system has also been a major project in the municipality. WaterToday learned from Francois Bergeron of the Municipal Office “there has been an active boil water advisory for the past 13 years. Right now, only 22 homes are affected.” Bergeron told us that “there have been a number of projects over the years and this latest project will be completed by the end of next summer.” Water quality is the issue. “Engineers are working on a solution,” WT discovered.
Another discovery was the agro tourism that characterizes the Brigham community. Maple sugar production is a thriving enterprise. WT came across Cabane du Pic Bois (cabin of the woodpecker), a sugaring business that owner, Andre Pollender and his wife Danielle started in 1995. “I grew up on a dairy farm. We also had a sugar house and I learned the trade from my father and grandfather.” Pollender still produces maple syrup the old-fashioned way with wooden buckets and a wood fire. The 125 acres of maple trees allows for 1,300 taps to be running during the spring sugaring season.
Pollender, a building construction contractor, who jokingly calls this venture his “sideline”, still manages to run a year-round restaurant featuring many creative maple sugar dishes, provide tours and the sugaring experience to over 3,000 visitors per year, including patrons from France and Germany. He is also an international celebrity
having been on 3 different TV specials in Japan and travelled to London, England as a guest on the television show “Sunday Brunch”. And if that were not enough to keep the jovial Pollender busy he has also just finished planting for a winery. “In 3 years we should have enough grapes for a small production. In 5 years though, we will have enough to go into full-swing.”
One can only imagine the creations that will come out of Cabane du Pic Bois restaurant and store when Pollender marries wine and maple syrup. Definitely a place to keep on our radar!
And on the topic of wine, Brigham just happens to be on the Brome-Missiquoi Wine Route with three vineyards in the municipality. Vignoble la Mission, Domaine Vitis and Vignoble de la Bauge all provide wine-tasting and tours of their family owned operations complete with hillside views of the region. Bauge also has an interesting menagerie of exotic animals. An added feature is their interesting array of meats prepared in-house to pair with the wine selections.
For a more adventurous way to explore the farms, wineries, forest trails, and the Yamaska River route, hook up with The Ranch au Gre Du Vent for personalized horse riding tours. Or hop on your bike and meander through the 2 bicycle circuits that will take you to the doorstep of Brigham’s treasures.
Whether you indulge in Brigham’s offerings by car, horse, or bike it certainly will call you back for more.
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