What types of outdoor activities are available?Peterborough is known as “the gateway to cottage country”. The city sits on the edge of thousands of kilometres of wilderness broken only by small villages and hamlets.
Many families rent or buy cottages (simple houses) along the lakes during the summer months. Cottage season starts on the Victoria Day, a long weekend in May and ends on Thanksgiving weekend in October.
Other outdoor recreation venues include parks, conservation areas, trails, and activities such as hiking, biking and canoeing.
Municipal ParksThere are many municipal parks in the city. Many have facilities for soccer, rugby, baseball, basketball, or tennis.
Some parks have picnic grounds or playgrounds for children. Others include special features like works of art, swimming areas, and barbecues.
The more popular parks include Millennium Park, Del Crary Park, Jackson Park and Beavermead Park and Campground.
Provincial Parks, Conservation AreasOntario's Provincial Parks are large areas of forest, lakes and rivers managed by the provincial government. Many include campgrounds, picnic areas, and outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, caving, canoeing, rock climbing, and skiing.
Many provincial parks, including the 43-hectare Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park are within a short distance of the city. It is also only a 2.5-hour drive from Ontario’s famous Algonquin Park.
Conservation Areas are areas of wilderness that are established and managed by local Conservation Authorities. Conservation areas often have a historic significance, and may include a museum. There are many Conservation Areas near Peterborough including the Warsaw Caves.
Other Outdoor ActivitiesThe Peterborough area is known for its trails and waterways. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are all common recreational activities in the region.
The main trail system that travels through Peterborough is called the Trans-Canada Trail. The City of Peterborough has created a map of city trails for walking and bicycling.
The Trent Severn Waterway brings thousands of boaters to Peterborough each year, and is one of the area’s main tourist attractions. Each boat that travels through Peterborough will pass over the historic Peterborough Lift Locks.
The city also includes nature areas -- wilderness areas established and maintained by private companies or individuals. The Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area is located in the city’s north end.
Peterborough’s Ecology Park is a place where people of all ages to can make a lasting friendship with the natural world.
The Riverview Park and Zoo hosts a large number of animals along with entertaining and informative exhibits and displays. The zoo also has many walking trails and a large play area for children, including a splash pad.
The Riverview Park and Zoo is the only zoo in Ontario where you can visit for free!
WildlifeFor birdwatchers and nature lovers, there is the Peterborough Field Naturalists (PFN) club.
The many local forests, lakes and rivers also make the Peterborough area a popular destination for observing wildlife in its natural habitat. The Ministry of Natural Resources website has a information on fish and wildlife in Ontario, including personal safety information and information on endangered species. The Ministry of Natural Resources also has a useful article called Watching Wildlife in Ontario.
Winter SportsIn winter, residents skate and play hockey on the canal in front of the Lift Locks. Many neighbourhoods also build makeshift outdoor rinks for skating and shinny hockey.
Cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are among the popular winter activities. Downhill skiing (or Alpine skiing) is also available at the nearby Devil's Elbow Ski Area.
Tobogganing is another fun outdoor activity for families. Here is a map showing the location of Armour Hill - a popular toboggan hill in Peterborough.
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