Peterborough and the Kawarthas

Peterborough is a vibrant, yet laid back city that is nestled in the Kawarthas region. It has an exciting arts scene including performing arts and a nightlife with a focus on live musicians. Peterborough is also home to many museums including a unique museum with an impressive collection of canoes.

Known as the gateway to cottage area, Peterborough is the perfect place to setup a basecamp to explore the rest of the region. There’s a lot of natural space to explore inside and outside of the city with trails to follow if you enjoy the outdoors.

To learn more about all there is to see and do here, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.

Where are Peterborough and the Kawarthas?

Peterborough is located in the Kawarthas region in Ontario. It’s at the mid point between Toronto and Ottawa, making it a great stopping point during a road trip.

You can reach Peterborough by car or catch a bus from Toronto or Ottawa — both the cities are easily accessible by flights from Canada and internationally. 

Things to do in Peterborough and the Kawarthas

Peterborough has a thriving arts culture. You will discover a lot of entertaining live performances in downtown Peterborough. Take a stroll downtown and you will also find many restaurants and quaint cafes that have delectable menu options.

History lovers will enjoy learning about Peterborough’s past at Peterborough Museum and Archives  or Hutchison House Museum. The Canadian Canoe Museum is home to the largest collection of canoes and is the best place to find out about Canada’s canoe culture. If you are interested in contemporary and historical art, visit impressive art galleries such as the Art Gallery of Peterborough.

Peterborough does not disappoint when it comes to exploring the outdoors. There are a variety of trails in and around the city suited for everyone, whether you like to bike, blade, hike or enjoy the trails in the winter. Rotary Greenway Trail is a trail created from the abandoned railroad line that follows the Otonabee River. It's perfect for a peaceful and scenic hike.

Learn about lift locks and the region's history of the waterways at the Visitor Centre, then experience cruising to one of the the world’s tallest hydraulic lift lock and continue a scenic tour of the historic waterways.

If you really want to immerse yourself in the Kawarthas, Peterborough can be a wonderful basecamp to travel to the several parks and lakes around the region. Start from Peterborough before heading to the cottages nearby, or before heading out into longer trails. 

Peterborough and the Kawarthas neighbourhoods and districts

As it is known as a university town, Peterborough has a youthful vibe. However, the downtown core also has its own character—being the hub of leisure and artistic performances. Here is a list of some of the neighbourhoods and areas of the city.

Downtown Peterborough

Home to most of the nightlife, eateries and places to shop in the city.

East City, Peterborough

A neighbourhood that has its own charm and is well-located, East City, Peterborough is close to trails, downtown, as well as the Little Lake. 

Kawartha Heights

A quiet residential neighbourhood close to the highway in Peterborough. 

Hospital Area

Hospital Area is an upscale neighbourhood with a lot of greenery and old architecture.

Old West End

A well maintained residential neighbourhood with older architecture, Old West End in Peterborough is also located very close to the downtown area.

Things to know about visiting Peterborough and the Kawarthas

Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Peterborough, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the city.

Little-known fact

The hit TV show “Murdoch Mysteries” has been filmed in Peterborough. 

Hidden gem

Connect with nature at The Children’s Garden at Ecology Park, a 2-hectare park featuring opportunities for hands-on learning about making the world a greener place, including a cedar maze, “green” playhouse and interactive gardens. 

Where to listen to live music

Musicfest in Peterborough is Canada’s longest running admission free concert series.

Last updated: December 15, 2022

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