Marine News from the Great Lakes

Peterborough & the Kawarthas: Shaped by Their Connection to Water

Published: Monday, July 1, 2019

The 386 kilometer-long Trent-Severn Waterway, a National Historic Site of Canada, has been the lifeblood of this region for generations, connecting the vibrant city of Peterborough to rural towns and villages and the region to Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay.

Peterborough & the Kawarthas is conveniently located between Canada’s Capital (Ottawa) and Ontario’s Capital (Toronto), and within a 2-3 hour drive of the US/Canada border. The region is home to more than 150 lakes and has a reputation for being one of Ontario’s most famed cottage country destinations, offering enviable Canadian hospitality and a number of bucket-list worthy experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. The rich mix of heritage city, cottage country, and flourishing farmlands – unique in Ontario – makes living and visiting the region out of the ordinary.

Try Spelunking in Glacier Formed Caves

Explore a series of seven caves formed by the melting, rushing waters of a glacier that once covered most of Ontario, follow the sounds of the disappearing river and stop to reflect at one of the area’s most scenic lookouts at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area & Campground.

Get Hooked

The Kawarthas are synonymous with fishing. The unique blend of cool- and warm-water lakes make the region a favourite, year-round. You can catch more varieties of fish here than almost anywhere else in Ontario.

Grab Life by the Handlebars

Make sure you have a bike on board because the geography of the region makes it a cyclist’s dream. Take it easy on flat terrain and paved trails, get gritty on gravel, hold tight in the forest, and test your endurance on the nearly 300kms of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Classics signed road cycling routes.

Can-oe Picture It?

Whether you’re dipping your paddle into the still waters of a wilderness lake or adrenaline filled rapids, you’ll love the areas 10 signature paddling routes. No trip to the region is complete without a visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum to see the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddle-watercraft and, better yet, to paddle a 36’ voyageur canoe through the Peterborough Lift Lock – the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock.

Our Beaches are Peaches

Going to the beach shouldn’t be like squeezing into a sandy sardine tin. The shorelines here are dotted with sandy hideaways, playgrounds, and splash pads for the young and young-at-heart. Top spots include Sandy Beach near Buckhorn, Jones Beach near Bridgenorth, and Lakefield Beach.

The Water Way

Cruise Canada’s world-renowned inland passageway, the Trent-Severn Waterway, known as one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world. Locks 19-31 are located in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and it’s worth planning a stop in Lakefield, Young’s Point, Burleigh Falls, and Buckhorn. The waterway is also scattered with many resorts, cottages, and campgrounds that offer a wide variety of activities for water lovers including skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, paddleboarding, kite-boarding, and scenic flights, to name a few.

Have a Rock Solid Experience

At Petroglyphs Provincial Park, you can view the largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings in Canada and learn the traditions of the Ojibwa people through the teachings of the medicine wheel. You can also carve out some “you time” at ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery – a unique sculpture park, which is home to the most comprehensive collection of Zimbabwean stone sculpture in Canada.


Step Back in Time

Lang Pioneer Village Museum will transport you back in time to the Peterborough County of yesteryear. A living history museum nestled along the banks of the historic Indian River, you’ll find over 25 restored and furnished buildings constructed between 1825 and 1899. This is also the home for two of only a handful of authentic Jacquard looms that can be viewed in North America.


Feeling Festive?

There are more than 600 festivals and events in Peterborough & the Kawarthas each year. Boaters love Peterborough Musicfest, which is a FREE outdoor summer concert series located just steps from the Peterborough Marina and the base for Liftlock Cruises. This year’s line up includes Dallas Green, The Sheepdogs, K-OS, Crash Test Dummies, Chad Brownlee, 54.40, and more.

Art is In the Air

…and on the walls of coffee shops, galleries, studios, and in trails and parks throughout the region. You won’t have a hard time finding a piece to take home, but you are likely to have a hard time choosing. Fall is an especially good time to visit; there are two self-guided studio tours and others which direct you along some of the region’s most beautiful fall drives.

If performing arts are more your thing, check out 4th Line Theatre’s unforgettable outdoor theatre experience featuring Canadian plays, or the wide variety of shows that take place each year at the historic Market Hall or Showplace Performance Centre.

Hop On Over

The Brews, Bites and Barns Brewery Discovery Route features the area’s craft breweries, distilleries, and winery in addition to restaurants that specialize in local food and some of the region’s top Farmers’ Markets.

Local Flavour

The new wave in local cuisine is not new in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. For years, the fruits of the area’s centuries-old farmlands and passionate producers have been – and continue to be – the most important ingredient in the vibrant local food scene. From the café district in downtown Peterborough to the vast array of global and local flavours that can be found in restaurants around the county (not to mention the Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour), the region is a foodie favourite.

You Are Welcome

To plan your next vacation in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, check out the itinerary planning tool found on or connect with the friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Visitor Centre by calling 1-800-461-6424 or using the live chat feature found on the website. You can also request a free travel package including a travel guide, maps and more. Email [email protected].

This article first appeared in the Summer Issue (Jul/Aug) 2019 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Destination


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