Peterborough, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

Peterborough, Ontario – My Top 7 Picks

Peterborough is a city on the Otonabee River in central Ontario, 125 kilometers (78 miles) northeast of Toronto. Peterborough’s nickname of “The Electric City” underscores the historical and present day importance of technology and manufacturing as an economic base of the city which has operations from large multi-national companies such as Seimans, Rolls Royce, and General Electric. Peterborough is known as the gateway to the Kawarthas, “cottage country”, a large recreational region of the province. In 1818, Adam Scott settled on the west shore of the Otonabee River and the following year he began construction of a sawmill and gristmill, establishing the area as Scott’s Plains. The mill was located at the foot of present-day King Street and was powered by water from Jackson Creek.

The year 1825 marked the arrival of 1,878 Irish immigrants from the city of Cork, a British Parliament experimental emigration plan to transport poor Irish families to Upper Canada. The scheme was managed by Peter Robinson, a politician in York (present-day Toronto). Scott’s Plains was renamed Peterborough in his honor. The Irish emigrated from the Emerald Isle to escape over-crowding, poverty, political unrest, religious tensions, disease and the potato famine. By 1851 almost half of the town of Peterborough claimed Irish ancestry. They cleared the land in the rolling hills of the Peterborough countryside.

In 1845, Sandford Fleming, inventor of Standard Time and designer of Canada’s first postage stamp, moved to the city to live with Dr. John Hutchison and his family, staying until 1847. Dr. John Hutchison was one of Peterborough’s first resident doctors.

359 Downie Street – Second Empire style, mansard roof, window hoods, 2 storey bay windows – Peterborough Book 1

232 Brock Street – Italianate, cornice brackets, two-storey bay windows, second floor balcony – Peterborough Book 2

413 Rubidge Street – Grover Nichols House – an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture, modified in the Palladian manner, it was begun about 1847 by P.M. Grover, a well-to-do local merchant. The square pillars are a Classical Greek feature. The local Masonic Lodge held its meetings here from 1849 to 1853 and the Masons purchased this imposing house in 1950. – Peterborough Book 2

An elegant example of a residential terrace in the Second Empire style, Cox Terrace, 332-344 Rubidge Street, was constructed in 1884 during a time of prosperity and rapid urban growth in Peterborough. In this row of houses, inspired by British models, seven dwellings are skillfully unified behind one façade with three projecting pavilions. Mansard roofs, dormers, and oriel windows give life to the distinctive design. The terrace was built for Sir George Cox, one of the wealthiest and most influential Canadian businessmen of the period. – Peterborough Book 2

George Street corner – Second Empire style, window hoods on dormers, banding on top floor; cornice brackets, dentil molding, pilasters on 2nd floor; Romanesque style window voussoirs and keystones on ground level – Peterborough Book 2

The Peterborough Lift Lock was completed on July 9, 1904. It was the first lock to be built out of concrete and at the time was the largest structure built in the world with unreinforced concrete. It is a boat lift located on the Trent Canal in the city of Peterborough and is Lock 21 on the Trent-Severn Waterway. The dual lifts are the highest hydraulic boat lifts in the world, with a lift of 19.8 m (65 feet). – Peterborough Book 3

McDonnel Street – Peterborough Collegiate circa 1917 – Romanesque Revival architecture – Peterborough Book 3