What is the Pioneer Trail?

The Pioneer Trail is an original and unique tour that allows you to meet historical figures who left their mark on the history of the Coaticook region. It is produced by the Table de concertation culturelle (cultural dialogue table) of the Coaticook MRC.

Each pioneer is presented in a life-size silhouette form cut from a corten steel plate, a magnificent work of art in itself. It is mounted on a permanently landscaped base where visitors can stop at any time of the year except January and February. Thanks to an audio recording incorporated into the structure, the character speaks five minutes in French and five minutes in English. Each of the five pioneers relates a large part of their history and the events that marked their times. Seating arranged around the silhouettes offers visitors a moment of relaxation, and gives them an opportunity to admire the typical landscapes of a region scattered with hills, valleys and picturesque country streams.

Follow the Pioneer Trail and let yourself be charmed by the voices of the past in the heart of our land. Enjoy learning about a broad period spanning the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. These voices provide us with a reconstituted history that is rich with the facts and heritage at the heart of our local pride. Their words are sure to touch the hearts of all history enthusiasts in attendance.

For details, see the activity description

In the spotlight

Magazine Vivre à la campagne, fall 2012, p. 16.
Rendez-vous – Circuits thématiques

Le Progrès - July 10, 2012
La Voie des pionniers s'enrichit de six personnages

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Objectives of the project

The Pioneer Trail was launched by the TCCC in 2007 and aims to enrich the cultural circuit in existence since the beginning of 2000. The pleasant routes of the twelve municipalities in the Coaticook MRC can already be explored by using one of the six photo circuit discovery tours produced by the TCCC in 2002 and published in 2004 in a bilingual booklet. With the addition of The Pioneer Trail, visitors will now be able to meet selected characters featured right in the areas where they lived. True to the image of the Eastern Townships where Francophones and Anglophones mingle and live together, these celebrated characters represent both linguistic cultures. In 2012, the TCCC completed its three-year plan to extend the Pioneer Trail with five new historical figures.


A first section in 2010

As of June 20, 2010 an initial section has featured the first five historical figures: Matthew Henry Cochrane (1823-1903) in Compton; Oscar Lessard (1895-1964) in Martinville; Wilfrid Morache (1856-1920) in Ste-Edwidge-de-Clifton; Hermine Malouin Lefebvre (1841-1941) in St-Venant-de-Paquette and Thomas Van Dyke (1851-1914) in East Hereford.

A second section in 2011

As of June 26, 2011, a second section has presented five additional figures: George Gale (1824-1892) in Waterville, Georgianna Lizotte-Ouellet (1874-1950) in St. Malo, Marie-Marthe Paquin-Crête (1923-2006) in St. Herménégilde, Walter G. Belknap (1864-1940) in Baldwin's Mills (Coaticook) and Daniel Way (1794-1875) in Way's Mills (Barnston West).

A third section in 2012

As of July 8, 2012, a third section has included six new historical figures, for a grand total of sixteen figures on the Pioneer Trail! The new figures are Bruce Baldwin (1842-1925) in Dixville; Nathaniel Jenks (1818-1891) in Coaticook (Barnston); Cécile Dessaint-Veilleux (1904-2001) in Barnston West (Kingscroft); Marie-Ange Vaillancourt Genest (1901-1997) and Marthe Bureau (1922-2007) in Compton; and Lauréat Lavoie (1890-1971) in Coaticook.

A forth section in 2013

New figures in 2013.



Project Development

Research on the pioneers was conducted by history students from the University of Sherbrooke. An abundance of information was drawn from various sources including documents, archives from different historical societies, websites, accounts, and consultations with history specialists. Based on this information, author and actress Anne Dansereau wrote the texts, which were interpreted by professional performers.

The Production Team

  • Project execution: Pittoresco
  • Coordination, planning and graphic design: Josée Moisan, Stéphan Flibotte
  • Sound tracks - Drafting of the texts, supervision of the translation and of the recordings : Anne Dansereau
  • English translation : Suzanne Lepage and Stevenson & Writers Inc.
  • Revision of the translation : Benoit Pelletier, Anne Lawton
  • Voices of Steven Bolduc, Normand Chouinard, James Crooks, Anne Dansereau, Lewis Evans, Lysanne Gallant, Nelson Gonyer, Jean-François Hamel, René Lefebvre, Benoit Pelletier, Jacques Quintin, Jo Jo et George Rideout, Charles de Sainte Marie, Jacinthe Tremblay, Gregory Tuck
  • Recording : Larry O’Malley, Audiobec Sono/Vidéo




For their patience, their availability, and their passion for the history of the characters whom they studied and presented to us through their work, we extend our thanks to Julie Beloin, Antoine Barrière-Morin, Amélie Masson-Labonté, Mylène Urbain and Jean-Michel Morin. Thank you to Ann Leydet for her invaluable research on the Daniel Way character featured in Barnston-West (Way's Mills) and to Yves Robillard, whose research on Baldwin Mills and the important characters in its history we were able to use. We would also like to thank Susan Beaton for all of the historical information she provided to us, as well as the families of the pioneers, who allowed us to explore the lives and worlds of several characters featured on the Pioneer Trail. Finally, thanks to Shirley Lavertu for her support of the historical research done by the TCCC, as well as Édith Thibodeau for her availability, belief in our projects, support of our research activities, and help in presenting the figures in our area.