Potton, Quebec

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Township municipality
Location within Memphrémagog RCM.
Location within Memphrémagog RCM.
Potton is located in Southern Quebec
Location in southern Quebec.
Coordinates: 45°05′N 72°22′W / 45.083°N 72.367°W / 45.083; -72.367Coordinates: 45°05′N 72°22′W / 45.083°N 72.367°W / 45.083; -72.367[1]
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Estrie
RCM Memphrémagog
Constituted July 1, 1855
Named for Potton[1]
 • Mayor Louis Pierre Veillon
 • Federal riding Brome—Missisquoi
 • Prov. riding Orford
 • Total 278.60 km2 (107.57 sq mi)
 • Land 261.78 km2 (101.07 sq mi)
Population (2011)[4]
 • Total 1,849
 • Density 7.1/km2 (18/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011 Increase 3.3%
 • Dwellings 1,757
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code(s) J0E 1X0
Area code(s) 450 and 579
Highways Route 243
Website www.potton.ca

Potton is a township municipality of about 1,850 people in the Memphrémagog Regional County Municipality. It is located on the western shore of Lake Memphremagog in the Estrie region of Quebec, 125 km southeast of Montreal, 30 km to the southwest of the city of Magog, and next to the United States border, north of North Troy, Vermont.

Potton Township (Canton de Potton) consists of several villages and hamlets that include Potton Springs, Mansonville, Highwater, Dunkin, Province Hill, Leadville, Vale Perkins, Perkins Landing, and Knowlton's Landing.

Of these, Mansonville is the business center and the seat of government (Municipalite du canton de Potton) for the township. Formerly a sleepy community, Mansonville has experienced some growth and prosperity because of its proximity to the Owl's Head ski resort. Like many Eastern Townships and New England villages, Mansonville grew up around a water-powered mill which exploited a head of water above a fall on the North Branch of the Missisquoi River. The mill ceased operating with electrification in the early 20th century, which allowed economies of scale and centralized manufacturing in larger centres. It operated as a feed and grain mill until 2004, when it was destroyed by fire. Overlooking the mill site is the mansion of the Manson family that founded the town. The mansion has since become a bed and breakfast.

Mansonville, like many Eastern Townships communities, has long had a mixture of French and English-speaking residents and is home to over twenty nationalities and ethnic groups. Religious diversity is present, and in Mansonville, Roman Catholic, United (closed 2011) and Anglican churches are located a few yards apart. Mansonville was also the home of Russian Orthodox prelate Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov for some five decades until his death in 2006.


The area encompassed by the township is part of the larger territory originally inhabited of the Abenaki tribe. There are no known permanent Abenaki habitation sites in the township. The area was used by them for hunting and fishing. Lake Memphremagog and the Missisquoi River were important trade and travel routes. A number of place names originate from them:

  • Owl's Head is the English name for the mountain called "Walowadjo". From the Abenaki language, "walo" translates as "saw-whet owl" (aegolius acadicus); "wadjo" translates as "mountain".
  • Owl's Head was also called "Waloimudupsek": "walo" translates as "saw-whet owl" (aegolius acadicus); "imudups" translates as "head"; "ek" translates as "location".
  • Memphremagog comes from the word "Memrahabegek", which means "where there is a big expanse of water".
  • Memphremagog was also pronounced as "Mamphremagog". This came from the Abenakis "Mamlawbagak" which signifies "a long and large sheet of water". The prefix "mamlaw" denotes largeness or abundance; the particule "baga" denotes water; and "k" marks the name as given in local term.[5]
  • Missisquoi comes from the word "Masipskoik", which means "a place where there are boulders", more specifically "boulders point".[6]
  • Missisquoi also comes from the Abenakis "Masipskoik" which means "where there is flint".[7]

There are several solstice sites and petroglyph sites in the township.

Potton Township was proclaimed in 1797. It, and the homonymous municipality township erected in 1845, derive their name from the town of Potton in England, located in Bedfordshire, near the village of Sutton. Among the first settlers of the area was Henry Ruiter, in 1799. Ruiter Brook in Dunkin is named for him.

Perkins Landing and Knowlton's Landing were regular stops for the steamships that plied Lake Memphremagog from the latter half of the 19th century up to the mid-20th century. The first of these steamships was the Mountain Maid, the Lady of the Lake was the largest, and the last was the Anthemis. The wharves at these locations now provide public access to the lake.

The covered bridge crossing Mud Creek was listed as a cultural heritage site in 2008.[8] The bridge was built in 1896 and is of the "Town Simple" type.[9]

A round barn, built in 1911 for Robert Jersey, is situated in Mansonville. The structure and site were listed as a cultural heritage site in 2009.[10]

Highwater was the site of the Space Research Corporation where Gerald Bull performed ballistics research.

Portions of the 1998 movie "Free Money" were filmed in Vale Perkins, Highwater, Mansonville, and near Mount Owl's Head.

Coat of Arms[edit]

The township received a Grant of Arms on March 25, 1992.[11] Among the symbols on the arms are:[12]

  • five peaks, representing the five main mountains in Potton
  • blue wavy lines, representing the many waterways, ponds, and the lake
  • the sun, representing the bright future of Potton
  • a crown, symbolizing Quebec and Canada
  • the latticework of the covered bridge across Mud Creek[9]
  • a deer, representing the deer and other wildlife that are abundant in the area
  • the motto "Ille Terrarum Mihi Omnis Angulus Ridet" ("This small corner of the world smiles at me above all").


The eastern boundary of the township is the western half of Lake Memphremagog. The southern boundary is the international border with the United States of America. The western boundary is formed by the Sutton Mountains.

The territory of the township is traversed by the north to south flow of the North Branch of the Missisquoi River. It confluences in Highwater with the South Branch of the Missisquoi River, forming the Missisquoi River which disembogues into Lake Champlain at Missisquoi Bay.

The township is dotted with many mountains. Among the more prominent peaks are:[13]

  • Peewee, at a height of 647 meters and located at 45.1485, -72.3379
  • Elephantis (also called Elephantus), at a height of 658 meters and located at 45.1204, -72.3279
  • Hog's Back, at a height of 533 meters and located at 45.1383, -72.3140
  • Owl's Head, at a height of 747 meters and located at 45.0636, -72.2994
  • Hawk, at a height of 536 meters and located at 45.0135, -72.3325
  • Bear, at a height of 668 meters and located at 45.0188, -72.2969

Potton is well known for the many sugar bushes that produce maple syrup, considered among the most remarkable in the Quebec.

Geology and soils[edit]

Most of the bedrock underlying the township is Cambrian-era slate, schist, phyllite, greywacke and quartzite. There are bands of ultramafic rock near the Missisquoi River valley, and basalt also occurs. Quaternary glaciation left deposits of stony loam till plus outwash deposits of sand and gravel. Benchlands overlooking the Missisquoi River commonly have deposits of clay loam. Brown podzolic and podzol profile developments are most common.[14]

The area is also rich in talc. For many years the Baker Talc company operated underground mining and open-pit operations in South Bolton, with a plant in Highwater. The mine and plant are inactive.

Other inactive mines include a copper mine on the northwestern slope of Hog's Back and a lead mine in Leadville.



Population trend:[15]

Census Population Change (%)
2011 1,849 Increase 3.3%
2006 1,790 Increase 2.8%
2001 1,741 Increase 3.0%
1996 1,690 Increase 5.4%
1991 1,603 N/A


Mother tongue (2011)[4]

Language Population Pct (%)
French only 930 50.5%
English only 785 42.7%
Both English and French 25 1.4%
Other languages 100 5.4%

See also[edit]


External links[edit]