Editorial: Cultural Powerhouse

When it comes to culture, the Town of Brome Lake punches above its weight. Over a long period, volunteer groups have built an impressive set of cultural institutions that places with 10 or 20 times the population do not have. We can start with the theatre, which puts on a wide variety of events and is home to the Knowlton Film Festival. As a venue, the theatre and its lobby are unmatched in the area. 

The Knowlton Players, the amateur theatre group, consistently put on performances that match professional quality. 

There are two literary festivals, one English and one French. The Knowlton Literary Festival has evolved from a local event to one where renowned writers are more than willing to come here. Author Kathy Reichs this year, for example. Building the festival to its cur- rent level took work and imagination. In a world where small bookstores are being crushed by the likes of Amazon and Indigo, the Brome Lake Book Store flourishes. Its connection with author Louise Penny – herself a local and international literary treasure – attracts visitors from Canada and the United States on a pilgrimage to the fictional Three Pines. 

Then there is the library, a beautiful century-old building that is in many ways the cultural anchor of the town, serving the population in French and English. Its coming expansion will only enhance its importance. There are five art galleries in town and many artists and writers live in the community. 

Since 1897, the Brome County Historical Society has been proudly preserving and promoting the heritage of the area through the Lac-Brome Museum, an outstanding historic and educational organization that makes this area unique among small Quebec communities. It began at a picnic in 1897 on a farm in West Brome to celebrate the centenary of the first land grant in Brome Township. 

Finally, we have our own radio station, which recently expanded its broadcast footprint and two newspapers, something large cities are hard-pressed to support. This impressive cultural repertoire did not come from any central plan; it was built by the imagination and work of the people behind them and the support of the community which enjoys the fruits of their labours.