The City of Peterborough is considered the hub of the Kawarthas, as well as being the region's major business, education, cultural, and health care centre. This is a varied community -- a retirement city, but at the same time a university and college city. It has a permanent population of approximately 80,000.
Considering that Peterborough is located between two major Canadian cities (Toronto and Ottawa), it has managed to maintain a small-town friendly feel to it. By many, Peterborough is considered a retirement community; however, during the school year there is a thriving student population, both domestic and international. Peterborough with its relaxed atmosphere and laid back attitude allows the days to go by unnoticeably. There is a big arts community in the city also, meaning Peterborough is the best place in Central and Southern Ontario to create a band, become an artist and simply showcase your talent.
The city of Peterborough is reachable by Greyhound intercity bus services from Toronto (8 times a day) and Ottawa (approx. 2X a day). Go Transit provides bus service between Peterborough and the Oshawa GO Train Station.
The two main highways into Peterborough are Highway 115 from Oshawa and Toronto and Highway 7 from Ottawa. Highway 28 forms a central spine through the Kawarthas and also runs through Peterborough.
The City of Peterborough has a fairly inconvenient public transit system, though they have made efforts to improve it in recent years. Adult bus fare is $2.25, and the buses run to and from downtown bus terminal every 40 minutes, but are often either late or early, so arrive in advance. Getting from downtown to Trent University is much easier, as there is a separate bus system, Trent West, Trent East and Trent Direct. During the school year they run every 10-20 minutes. Peterborough downtown is walking-friendly, and most of the attractions and parks are within walking distance. Any farther trips will require a car or the transit bus. Lots of people bike around also, which is strongly encouraged, especially in the warmer months of the year.
There are good bike paths leading north west out of the downtown core, through Jackson's Park, that continue for several kilometers to the outskirts of the city. There is also a bike path along the east side of the Trent River that leads up to Trent University and, beyond that, all the way north to Lakefield.
Hailing a cab in downtown Peterborough is somewhere between difficult and impossible, so your best bet is to call in advance.
Visit the Peterborough Liftlock, the highest hydraulic liftlock in the world, on Hunter Street at Ashburnham Drive. It is best to go in summer (between Victoria Day and Canadian Thanksgiving) when the Trent Severn waterway is operational. The visitor's centre has displays and explains how the lock works.
The Canadian Canoe Museum, 910 Monaghan Road, (705) 748-9153, . Open every day, M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM. Has displays of watercraft from Canada and around the world, plus exhibits on the role canoes and kayaks have played in Canada. $9.25 (adult) / $22.12 (family of 4).
Visit Trent University's Lady Eaton College. One of the best examples of modern architecture in Canada.
Take a boat cruise along the Otonabee River. Liftlock & the River Boat Cruises, office and departure dock located at the Little Lake Peterborough Marina, 1-888-535-4670 (toll free) and 705-742-9912 (fax: 705-743-9980, email: firstname.lastname@example.org), , offers a number of different cruise options during the day (including a trip on the liftlock). Cruises operate mid-May to mid-October.
Walk or hike along the many trails within and outside of Peterborough. Many of the abandoned railroad tracks have been converted into paved trails, including the Rotary Trial along the Otonabee River.
Little Lake Musicfest, . Weekly outdoor live music running all summer long on Wednesday and Saturday nights. A great family event. edit
Trent University is a small university with faculties in Arts, Business, Education and Science and Technology. It is best known for its undergraduate studies in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The main campus occupies a beautiful spot spanning the Otonabee River in the far north end of the city (head out Water Street past the zoo and turn at Nassau Mills Road).
Fleming College is a College of Applied Arts and Technology. Its main campus is located in the south-west corner of the city, off Brealey Drive.
In the last several years Peterborough downtown has seen a rapid expansion of the food industry and it now presents a unique opportunity to try out various cuisines for various prices. Hunter Street, between George and Aylmer, escpecially now boasts a wide variety of places to eat. Remember, though, the downtown core has much more to offer in variety and authenticity than mall strips, like Lansdowne and Chemong.
Carousel Restaurant & Tavern, 116 Lansdowne Street East, 705 745-0060. Serves homestyle meals and is known for its buffet and Sunday brunch. $5 - $24.
Charlotte Anne's, 390 Queen Street, 705 742-2944. Small restaurant in an old house, very busy at lunch. Good burgers and sandwiches. $5 - $24.
Elements, 140 King Street, 705 876-1116. More upscale restaurant that serves a variety of dishes. $25 - $49.
The Olde Stone Brewing Company, 380 George Street North, 705 745-0495. Brewpub with good pub food and a large selection of beers on tap.
Nicolini's An Italian Eatery, 141 Hunter Street West, 705-745-9966. Small Italian Restaurant. Great Food, expensive.
Hot Belly Mamas, 380 George Street North (Located right next to The Olde Stone). Cajun style dining. Try the sweet potato frites.edit
Riley's Olde Time Pub, 253 George St. N., Peterborough, ON K9J 3G9, ☎ 705 750-0375, . Great Irish Pub - best burgers in town. Also make a great French onion soup.edit
Again, Peterborough's small size is not a reflection of its excellent choice of watering holes. Again, a list:
The Only Café - On Hunter, east of Aylmer. Bohemian, converted warehouse with a generous patio overlooking Jackson Creek. Fantastic during the summertime; Dortmunder Aktienbrauerei (DAB) on tap and a pinball machine that's still just 25 cents a play. The Gordon Best theater sits on top. Service can be slow, but the atmosphere is worth it.
The Red Dog Tavern - On Hunter, east of Aylmer. Down at heel blues joint that's actually two bars: the Red Dog and the Underdog. Good live acts.
The Montreal House - NE corner of King and Aylmer. A traditional dive bar that was, reputedly, the last bar to admit women in Canada in 1987. Nevertheless, this is a great place to sit at long tables, listen to bluegrass and drink real hoser beer like Molson Stock Ale. Recommended.
St. Veronus - SW corner of Hunter and Water. Belgian pub oozing with ambiance. Extensive selection of Belgian abbey beers, fantastic wood decor, good moules frites. Again, a solid proposition for a Saturday night.
The Olde Stone Brewing Company - Located on George Street, between Simcoe and Hunter, the Olde Stone has a good, traditional pub atmosphere and they brew their own beers (with several standard offerings and a seasonal). Good food is also available.
The Pig's Ear - At the corner of George and Brock, the Pig's Ear may not have the most charming atmosphere, but is a popular place for reasonably priced, mostly domestic beer.
The Second Floor Lounge - Above the Purple Rooster (avoid), the eponymous Second Floor lounge is a pretty cozy joint that sometimes hosts live acts. Extensive back patio for smokers.
The Sapphire Room - Hunter, between George and Water. Bohemian, grungy martini room in the East Village vein. Not bad.
McThirsty's Pint - 166 Charlotte Street (across from the Zoo bar on Charlotte), 705-749-2580. A nice, traditional neighbourhood pub with an extensive beer selection on tap. Good atmosphere.
Best Western Otonabee Inn, 84 Lansdowne Street East, 1-800-373-5843 (toll free) or +1 705 742-3454, . Inn has an indoor pool and whirlpool; rooms come standard with mini-fridges, TV and coffee makers. Located next to the Otonabee River.
Comfort Inn & Suites, 1209 Lansdowne Street West, +1 705 740-7000 (fax:+1 705 745-0506). Check-in 3PM, check-out 11AM. All guests have access to free high-speed Internet and an adjacent indoor pool. Eight suites have whirlpool tubs, the honeymoon suites have a fireplace and the executive suites come with a refrigerator and microwave. $135 - $185.
Holiday Inn Peterborough Waterfront, 150 George Street North, +1 705 743-1144 (fax: +1 705 740-6557). Check-in 2PM, check-out 11AM. Situated just south of downtown Peterborough on Little Lake. Rooms come with mini-fridge, coffee maker and TV. Hotel has small fitness facility, free wireless internet and high-speed access.
Peterborough Inn & Suites, 312 George Street North, ☎ 1-866-446-4451 (toll free) or +1 705 876-6665 (email@example.com, fax: +1 705-741-5033), . Hotel with 32 rooms is located in downtown Peterborough. Each room comes with a fireplace, jacuzzi, free wireless Internet and free continental breakfast.$120 - $150. edit
Quality Inn, 1074 Lansdowne Street West, +1 705 748-6801 (fax: +1 705 748-6254). Check-in 3PM, check-out 11AM. Rooms come standard with TVs and coffee makers. Some rooms also have fridges and microwaves and two suites comes with a fireplace a whirlpool tub. All guests have access to free high-speed Internet and there is an on-site business center. The inn advertises itself as a pet-friendly hotel. Rates start at $120.
While most of Peterborough remains relatively safe, the downtown core, with a high number of bars in close proximity, has become a little more dodgy in recent years. There has been a marked increase in vandalism, generally to nearby shops, and sometimes to parked cars. It's advised to leave the downtown core before the bars close and drunken patrons fill the streets looking for taxis or mischief. Be advised that the Galaxy Cinema is located in the same general vicinity as these bars. Be alert and careful when leaving a long running late show.
Head out on Highway 28 towards Petroglyphs Provincial Park. See pre-Columbian Aboriginal rock carvings and hike out to High Falls. Stoney Lake is beautiful in summertime.
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