by Cece M. Scott (cecescott.com)
The central hub of the Kawarthas
Located just 90 minutes northeast of Toronto, Peterborough retains its downhome charm, while offering an expanse of unspoiled opportunities that stretch throughout the Kawarthas.
The Otonabee River meanders through the city of Peterborough, capturing scenic views and beautiful parks along its banks. Known as the Carden Plain, very little soil covers the limestone bedrock. As a result, many of the grasses and flowers that grow here are both rare and endangered, making it a sacred area for avid bird watchers.
The Kawarthas Lakes’ region stretches the boundaries of Peterborough, and includes Chemong, Scugog, Pigeon, Rice, Sturgeon, Balsam and Silver Lakes. From mid-spring to late fall, houseboat rentals are a popular holiday mode of transportation and accommodation, with the Peterborough Lift Lock providing access to the Trent Severn Waterway – one of the most picturesque water route systems in Canada.
With the eventual opening of Highway 407 in 2020, Peterborough and the Kawarthas will be even more accessible to the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe. The cost of living is much more affordable than the GTA, with the median price on a single-detached home averaging $330,000 (September, 2015).
Here, big box stores coexist with one-of-a-kind retailers. Downtown Peterborough is currently being revitalized – adding to the betterment of the existing shops, services and dining options. Authentic, country niches dot the surrounding area, and offer up local fairs, craft exhibits, farmers’ markets and small-town shopping – all adding to the charming, country experience.
Feasts and Festivals
Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes’ region are alive with music, art, festivals and markets throughout the year. The Peterborough Film Festival takes place in late January, Maplefest in March, and the Hiawatha Annual Pow Wow in May. During the summer months, events include the Taste of Downtown and the Kawartha Beer Fest, Ribfest, Lakefield Jazz, the Art and Craft Festival, the Havelock Country Jamboree, as well as the 31st annual Peterborough Musicfest, which features 19 nights of free concerts by the marina.
The Great Outdoors
Seasonal adventures are plentiful. Breathtaking, rugged scenery, as well as exceptional boating, fishing, hiking, camping and bird watching, are all close by.
The area sits in the heart of Ontario’s network of snowmobile trails. Other winter destinations include Devil’s Elbow ski resort, which offers up consistent snow conditions on their 14 runs and three terrain parks. Snowshoers can enjoy 8.5 kilometres of trails that are sheltered by evergreens and a hardwood forest.
The Petroglyphs Provincial Park features the largest known collection of Aboriginal carvings. Considered sacred, the sketchings (which include shamans and reptiles) are believed to date back from 900 to 1100 A.D.
OF CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
The importance of the canoe to our aboriginal forefathers was paramount. A visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum displays examples of vessels from pre-European contact, along with modern day canoes and kayaks.
The Art Gallery of Peterborough features well-known Canadian artists in an inspired environment. The Kawartha Artists Gallery and Studio is a co-operative initiative created by artists, and offers workshops in various disciplines such as abstract painting, oil and acrylic painting.
Home to three colleges, including Trent University (ranked the number one undergrad university by Maclean’s magazine), Peterborough retains a vibrant, youthful spirit, combined with an established maturity.