Peterborough, Ontario


I had only planed to stay in Peterborough for two years but it turned into six. I shared a house while I went to Trent university. Some of my fellow room mates were interesting, others not so entertaining.

Peterborough is a small city of 65,000 on the banks of the Seven-Trent waterway. The swift flowing waterway provides hydro power. This power originally drove sawmills and later electric turbines making Peterborough an important manufacturing center. However industry is declining and moving to larger centers or ones with lower costs. The mainstay of the city is now tourism, retirement centers, and the University.

Trent is a delightful university. It is in a rural campus a few miles north of town. Initially it was a downtown university, but GE donated some land and a new campus was developed. In retrospect it might have been better for town and gown if the campus had stayed downtown. The center of Peterborough like most cities and towns has deteriorated over the last 20 years. The building of some quality university buildings downtown would have gone a long way to reverse this trend.

The faculty of the university went on strike the year before I started and again six years later. Their goal was parity with Toronto. Certainly they deserve the same pensions, but life in Peterborough is much cheaper than the big city.

There is a local industry of brew pubs. The problem is that you have to do 50 gallons at a time. By the time I’m getting to the end of the batch it is past its best. If you brew your own, it’s much cheaper. Regrettably all your friends think it’s free, this pushed up the unit price of the stuff I drank.