A Historical Timeline of Peterborough – Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Credit to : Shawn Hughes (Teacher at Crestwood Secondary School)
9000 BC to 5000 BC:
- Paleo-Indians lived in the area.
5000 BC to 1000 BC:
- Laurentian people lived in southern Ontario.
1000 BC to 1000 AD:
- Woodland peoples in the area.
- Initial Woodland had no contact with Europeans.
- Petroglyphs completed between 1000 and 1400 AD by First Nations.
- Point Peninsula people build sacred mounds on shore of Rice Lake (Serpent Mounds).
- Terminal Woodland made contact 1000 AD.
- Samuel de Champlain brought through Peterborough area by Huron; used ancient portage between Chemong Lake and Little Lake (now Chemong Road); stayed for a short period of time in Bridgenorth area.
- Mississauga people forced Iroquoians out of Kawartha region.
- Mississauga settle in area.
- Adam Scott settles on the west shore of the Otonabee River at foot of King Street.
- “Milburn Colonists” settle area north of modern day Parkhill Road.
- Peterborough town site is “set aside”.
- Adam Scott signs agreement to build grist and sawmill on site of future town of Peterborough.
- Future town of Peterborough is established as “Scott’s Plains”.
- Charles Rubidge and family arrive as second settlers in Otonabee Township.
- Stewart and Reid families arrive in area and settle in Duoro.
- Richard Birdsall surveys the area for a town site.
- Market Block between George and Water and Charlotte and Simcoe Streets is established.
From 1825 to 1850
- 2000 Irish immigrants transported from Cork to Peterborough by Peter Robinson, (pictured right). “Scott’s Plains” renamed Peterborough in honour of Peter Robinson.
- First school opens in Peterborough.
- Sir Peregrine Maitland, Governor of Upper Canada town.
- First bridge over Otonabee River is constructed.
- There are now roughly 12 mills and 20 buildings in Peterborough.
- Doctor John Hutchison and family arrive in Peterborough.
- Samuel Dickson arrives in Peterborough.
- The first post office in Peterborough is established.
- Charles Rubidge is appointed Immigrant Agent for Peterborough.
- Botanist and author, Catharine Parr Traill and family, settle in area.
- Early pioneer Adam Scott dies in winter storm.
- Peter Robinson dies.
- First militia in Peterborough is founded (7th Provincial Battalion).
- Construction of St Peter’s In Chains Roman Catholic Church is completed.
- Cornerstone for Peterborough County Courthouse and Gaol is laid.
- Construction of St. John’s Anglican Church is completed.
- Samuel Dickson begins logging operations north of Peterborough and builds mill.
- “Peterborough Chronicle” newspaper begins publishing.
- Robert Nicholls opens local Bank of Montreal branch – first bank in Peterborough.
- Sandford Fleming arrives in Peterborough; lives at home of Dr John Hutchison.
- Surveyor John Huston dies.
- Port Hope, Lindsay & Beaverton Railroad started.
- Sandford Fleming publishes lithographic map of Peterborough.
- R.D. Rogers builds sawmill along banks of Otonabee River in Ashburnham.
- Typhus outbreak kills many – including local doctor John Hutchison and Thomas A. Stewart.
- Peter Hamilton Company established in Peterborough.
- First brick house in Peterborough is constructed for Sheriff James Hall (Hunter and Brock Streets).
- Peterborough incorporates as a town.
- Cemetery in modern day Confederation Park is closed with establishment of Little Lake Cemetery.
- Thomas Benson was 1st mayor of the town of Peterborough.
- Population 2,191.
- Town forms Peterborough Fire Brigade.
From 1851 to 1875
- Cornerstone laid for Peterborough’s first Town Hall, design by architect, William Thomas.
- Grand Junction Railroad is launched.
- Cobourg and Peterborough Railroad is launched.
- Route of Port Hope-Peterboro Railway surveyed.
- Henry Calcutt opens his first brewery in the Village of Ashburnham.
- Thomas Benson killed with 57 others, in railway disaster near Hamilton.
- Decimal or ‘dollar’ currency adopted in Peterborough – replacing English pound.
- First Bank of Montreal branch built (s-e corner of Simcoe and Water Streets) later “Peterborough Club” and more recently “The Trash” (a bar/nightclub).1858
- Port Hope, Lindsay & Beaverton Railroad reaches Peterborough.
- Ashburnham is proclaimed a village.
- Sir Joseph Flavelle, future president of Simpsons and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, is born in Peterborough.
- First traveling circus arrives in Peterborough.
- George A. Cox moves to Peterborough.
- Union School (later known as Central School) is opened on Murray Street.
- “Scotch Village” officially incorporates as the Village of Ashburnham.
- John Stephenson designs molded strip canoe, later known as the “Peterborough Canoe”.
- Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) visits Peterborough.
- Local militia is formed (57th Regiment).
- Central School is opened.
- Future painter and sculptor, Katharine E. Wallis is born in Peterborough.
- Dr. George Burnham is first Peterborough doctor to use chloroform.
- Population 3,841 in Peterborough; 993 in Ashburnham.
- Peterborough Horticultural Society is formed.
- Large downtown area destroyed by fire.
- By-law passes restricting use of wood for construction; brick preferred material.
- Calcutt Brewery opens in Ashburnham.
- Thomas Darcy McGee delivers lecture entitled, “The Future of Canada”.
- Peterborough Petroleum Co is formed to start drilling for oil in Town. Oil derrick is erected at Blythe Mill. No oil is discovered.
- Large wooden drill shed is constructed on present site of Armoury.
- YMCA starts in Peterborough.
- First Gas Works is established in Peterborough – used for lighting.
- “Inverlea” was built for Judge Robert Dennistoun on site of modern Inverlea Park.
- First ‘floating bridge’ over Chemong Lake is built.
- 20 gas lights erected on George, Hunter and Simcoe Streets.
- Town hires its first ‘Lamp Lighter’ to light downtown gas streetlights.
- Lumber baron Samuel Dickson is killed.
- Local “Strong Man” Daniel Macdonald dies after lifting 1600-pound anchor.
- Sir John A. Macdonald visits Peterborough for rally.
- Ontario Canoe Company establishes in Peterborough.
- Early settler, Charles Rubidge dies.
- Architect John Belcher designs Morrow Building in classic Second Empire style.
From 1876 to 1900
- Bradburn Opera House and Town Hall is opened; designed by John Belcher.
- Head offices of Midland Railway of Canada established in Peterborough.
- Post Office is opened in the Morrow Building.
- The “Telephone” is exhibited and demonstrated at Bradburn Opera House.
- Peterborough gets its first telephones.
- Ontario Canoe Company is formed under James Z. Rogers.
- Bell Telephone Company arrives in Peterborough.
- First train of Grand Junction Railway arrives in Peterborough
- Peterborough gets its first water works and pump house on site of Auburn Dam.
- “Hazelbrae” donated by G.A. Cox to shelter Bernard children.
- First bicycle club is established in Peterborough.
- Robert Nichols dies.
- First Bernard children arrive in Peterborough.
- Peterborough’s first Park Commission is started.
- Peterborough becomes first town in Canada to have electric (arc) lights along its streets.
- Salvation Army establishes in Peterborough.
- Electric street lighting is introduced on George, Hunter and Simcoe Streets.
- George A. Cox owns 10 percent of Peterborough real estate.
- Riel Rebellion. Peterborough sends militia to Red River.
- Charlotte Nichols donates Moira Hall for local hospital.
- Peterborough Lock Manufacturing Company is established.
- Lt. Gov. Sir John Beverley Robinson opens Exhibition in Peterborough.
- General Booth, founder of Salvation Army visits Peterborough.
- Sir John A. Macdonald visits Peterborough for event in Bradbury Opera House.
- Adam Scott cottage burns to ground.
- Ned Hanlon, World Champion rower, visits Peterborough (guest of Rowing Club).
- Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Station is opens (now Chamber of Commerce).
- New post office opened on northeast corner of Hunter and Water Street.
- Bishop Dowling lays cornerstone for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
- Salvation Army temple is dedicated on Simcoe Street.
- Cornerstone for Market Hall and Clock Tower is laid.
- Cornerstone for new Town Hall/Police Station (Simcoe and Water Streets) is laid.
- Peterborough Board of Trade is established.
- Ontario Telephone Company starts.
- Market Hall (designed by John Belcher) officially opens.
- St Josephs Hospital is established.
- Peterborough’s first Town Hall (designed by William Thomas in 1851) is demolished.
- Charlotte Nichols dies, leaving entire estate to Town of Peterborough.
- Sisters of St Josephs are established in Peterborough.
- Edison Electric builds a major plant in Peterborough later becomes Canadian General Electric (CGE).
- Peterborough & Ashburnham Street Railway is launched.
- Ontario Canoe Company becomes Peterborough Canoe Company.
- Peterborough Customs House is built on Charlotte and George Streets.
- Waterworks Pumping Station is completed.
- Peterborough Street Railway system is created.
- Peterborough Canoe Company opens factory on Water Street.
- Jackson Park is established.
- Nichols Oval Park is established.
- Peterborough Radial Railway Company barns are built on King Street.
- Construction begins on Lift Lock, designed by R.B. Rogers.
- Peterborough Historical Society opens Victoria Museum at “Inverlea” house.
- Queen Victoria knights former Peterborough resident Sandford Fleming.
- Peterborough gets its first cement sidewalks.
- Archaeologists and other scientists study Serpent Mounds, located near Rice Lake.
- Buffalo Bill Cody and his “Wild West Show” perform in Peterborough.
- John Phillips Sousa (composer of “Stars and Stripes Forever”) performs at Bradburn Opera House.
- Catharine Parr Traill dies.
From 1901 to 1925
- Winston S. Churchill, future Prime Minister of Britain, visits Peterborough to make speech about Boer War.
- American Cereal Company establishes a plant on the shore of the Otonabee River. The plant is renamed Quaker Oats Company.
- First radio is demonstrated at George Street Methodist Church.
- Work accident on Lift Lock results in death of William Craig (Craig falls 35 feet).
- First gasoline powered motor car is driven in Peterborough by F.R.J. MacPherson.
- Ashburnham citizens vote to join Town of Peterborough.
- Peterborough and Ashburnham amalgamate.
- Fire destroys Roy Photography Studio, many early images lost!
- World’s highest hydraulic Lift Lock is completed for Trent Canal.
- First ‘jail break’ recorded at Peterborough County Jail occurs.
- Prime Minister Laurier visits City during election campaign.
- Fred Tuggey builds Peterborough’s first concrete block house at 633 Aylmer Street.
- On July 1st, Peterborough officially proclaimed a City.
- T.A.S. Hay, designs Seal for the City.
- The new YWCA building is officially opened on Aylmer Street.
- Grand Opera House opens.
- Brinton Carpets opens in Peterborough.
- Rev. Edwin Pearson becomes minister at George Street Methodist Church. His son, future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, begins attending Central Public School.
- Cornerstone of Peterborough Collegiate is laid my James Stevenson.
- Conservative Party leader Robert Borden delivers speech at Grand Opera House.
- The “Bessie Butler” is launched.
- Tom Longboat participates in an indoor harrier competition at Brock Street rink.
- Peterborough Fire Department is formed; replacing old volunteer brigade.
- Peterborough Normal School is opened as one of Ontario’s new teacher’s colleges.
- Classes begin at Peterborough Collegiate (later Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School or “PCVS”).
- Peterborough Armoury is officially opened
- Band of Gypsies visit City.
- New Filtration Plant replaces 1893 waterworks pumping station.
- Construction of Auburn Power Generating Plant begins.
- American statesman, William Jennings Bryan visits Peterborough.
- City establishes Titanic Relief Committee in wake of terrible maritime disaster.
- Turnbull Building (north-east corner of Simcoe and George streets) collapses, killing 6 people.
- Peterborough’s Frank O’Connor opens Laura Secord Chocolate Company in Toronto, after borrowing $500 from Louis Yeotes.
- Peterborough Utilities Commission is formed.
- Peterborough financier George A. Cox dies as wealthiest man in Canada!
- Empress Hotel is opened under management of George N. Graham.
- Peterborough architect John E. Belcher dies.
- Quaker Oats is swept by fire. 23 people killed. The fire also damages the County Court House. $2,000,000 in damage.
- Peterborough becomes second Canadian city (after Ottawa) to install chlorine purification system to water supply.
- City engineer and architect T.A.S. Hay dies.
- First bona fide real estate business in City is established by Timothy Hurley.
- Pioneering female aviator, Katherine Stinson, performs in flying show at Peterborough Ex.
- Western Clock Company moves to Peterborough and starts production of clocks on George Street.
- Former US President William Howard Taft visits Peterborough.
- Construction of Peterborough Clinic (Reid and Charlotte Streets) is completed.
- Study shows that Peterborough has one doctor for every 761 citizens.
- Peterborough’s population is 19,890.
- Future Hollywood star, Tyrone Power performs at Grand Opera House in “Servant on the House”.
- Michael Bahri and Tom Konek (members of “Russian Gang”) hanged at County Jail.
- New Hunter Street bridge is completed. Known as the longest “single pour” concrete bridge in the world.
- Local marathon runner Albert Smoke, joins Canadian Olympic Team for games in Antwerp, Belgium.
- Western Clock Co. becomes Westclox and moves to new plant in Ashburnham.
- Board of Trade re-named Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
- Peterborough Humane Society is formed.
- Birmingham Motors unveils the first “Made-in-Peterboro” automobile at local car show.
- Highway #28 linking Peterborough to Port Hope is officially opened by Premier Nixon.
- Hazel Brae, the local Barnardo Home, closes.
- Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Tris Speaker and his “All Stars” play exhibition game in Peterborough.
- Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King officially opens Peterborough Ex.
From 1926 to 1950
- Bus service begins in Peterborough.
- Some 600 homes now connected to City sewage system.
- Terrible fire destroys Canadian Canoe Company factory on Rink Street.
- Electric Street Railway ceases operation.
- R.B. Rogers, designer of Lift Lock, dies.
- Major expansion of Peterborough Collegiate with a new Vocational School opening.
- City population stands at 21,768 people.
- Johnson Motors (later Outboard Marine) opens plant in Peterborough.
- Traffic lights installed for the first time at intersection of George and Charlotte Streets.
- Citizens’ War Memorial opens in Confederation Park; designed by Walter S. Allward.
- Thousands see giant airship, R-100 fly over City.
- “Give a Man a Job” campaign is launched by Mayor Roland Denne.
- Hazel Brae, the old Barnardo home, slated for demolition.
- Ontario Premier, George Henry, officially opens local section of Highway #7.
- Edward “Stonewall” Jackson is last person hanged in Peterborough County.
- John Smith’s famous attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a 16 foot Peterborough Canoe (“Pride of Peterborough”) begins and ends in his death in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
- Iva Fallis is named to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister R.B. Bennett- only the second woman in Canada to be appointed to the Senate.
- Nucleus of City Zoo is established at Water Pumping Station with acquisition of two baby alligators.
- Senator Rupert Davies purchases Peterborough Examiner newspaper and becomes its publisher.
- Prime Minister R.B. Bennett makes ‘whistle-stop’ in Peterborough during federal election.
- Violent labour riots break out at Bonner-Worth and Auburn Mills.
- Harold Morrow deeds 30 acres of property on Lansdowne Street to Peterborough Agricultural Society – used as exhibition grounds.
- Ralph Sharpe Staples a Farm cooperative leader from Cavan, marries Belva Woodsworth, daughter of J.S. Woodsworth, founder of CCF Party – later renamed, NDP.
- W.G. Morrow dies leaving his estate (worth over 1 million dollars) to City of Peterborough.
- Auburn Mill is demolished.
- Morrow Park converted from exhibition grounds to War Training Centre.
- London Street footbridge is constructed after much debate at City Hall.
- CHEX Radio goes on the air.
- 16 ton-armoured tank demolishes old Band Shell in Victoria Park as Victory Bonds stunt.
- Robertson Davies arrives in Peterborough and becomes Editor of Examiner newspaper.
- Fisher-Gauge is opened with introduction of metal eggbeater and other die cast products.
- Pansy Forbes establishes Peterborough Ornamental Swimmers.
- Dr. Eugene Faludi releases major urban planning study for Peterborough.
- Construction of Civic Hospital begins.
- Parkway bypass first proposed in Peterborough to relieve traffic congestion.
- Population 35,165.
- Cornerstone for new City Hall laid by Premier Leslie Frost.
- Civic Hospital opens.
- Professional photographer Fred L. Roy dies.
From 1951 to 1975
- New City Hall opens on George Street. Built in the “City Beautiful” style.
- “Zaks Store Fire” kills four Peterborough Fire Fighters as roof falls in.
- Steamship, “Bessie Butler” makes last trip on Trent system.
- Peterborough adopts landfill disposal method to deal with garbage.
- Hockey great Bob Gainey is born in Peterborough.
- City civil defense plan is drafted in the event of nuclear war.
- Paul Sweetman and Lester Bissell, survey Peterborough Petroglyphs site.
- Peterborough Ornamental Swimmers are Canadian champs at British Empire Games in Vancouver.
- Fire Department run civil defense drills in preparation for possible atomic war.
- Post office on Water and Hunter Streets is demolished as new one opens on Charlotte Street.
- Robertson Davies becomes publisher of Peterborough Examiner.
- Peterborough Lock Manufacturing Company closes.
- Residents begin moving into homes in Valleyview Cooperative Sub Division.
- City children get inoculated with polio vaccine.
- CHEX Television begins broadcasting.
- City Engineers draw up plans to convert George and Water Streets to “one way” traffic.
- Examiner reports only 50 horses remain in the City of Peterborough.
- Robertson Davies awarded Leacock Medal for Humour.
- Former Peterborough resident, Lester Pearson wins Nobel Peace Prize (Suez Crisis).
- Artist Katharine E. Wallis dies in California; family donates large art collection to City.
- Otonabee Regional Conservation Authority (ORCA) is established.
- City workers find 2000 year old native burial on Brock Street while installing parking meters.
- Peter Demos, a Peterborough native, receives PhD in nuclear physics at MIT and is appointed advisor on nuclear science to US President John F. Kennedy.
- CGE Peterborough engineer, Hubert Sills, wins Engineering Institute of Canada’s highest award for design work.
- IBM automated billing system launched at Peterborough Utilities Commission.
- Aileen Holt is appointed Peterborough’s first female Mayor.
- World heavy weight boxing champion, Rocky Marciano attends sportsmen dinner at Club Aragon.
- Jazz vocalist, Ada Lee arrives in Peterborough.
- Trent University is opened.
- Capitol Movie Theatre on George Street is demolished.
- Peterborough Ornamental Swimmers represent Canada at Pan American Games in Mexico City.
- Peterborough hosts Canadian Figure Skating Championships at Memorial Centre.
- Petra Burka wins ladies title at Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Peterborough.
- Peterborough Centennial Museum and Archives opens.
- Peterborough Centennial Committee purchases a jet water fountain for Little Lake.
- Lang Pioneer Village opens.
- Sir Sandford Fleming College opens in former Bonner-Worth Mill on McDonnel Street.
- Champlain College at Trent University Nassau Campus opens.
- Lester B. Pearson visits Peterborough; one of his last stops before Trudeau becomes PM.
- Old Ashburnham Town Hall is sold by City, demolished and replaced by Becker’s convenience store.
- City Council officially abandons Parkway proposal.
- Archives at PCMA formally acquires “Peter Robinson Papers” – original records documenting Robinson Irish settlements of 1823 (Lanark County) and 1825 (Peterborough County).
- Peterborough hosts North American Figure Skating Championships. Karen Magnussen wins ladies singles crown over Janet Lynn of the United States. Toller Cranston wins men’s title. Winners go on to Worlds.
- Cluxton Block (downtown landmark) is demolished. A modern bank replaces it.
- Bradburn Opera House and other heritage buildings demolished on Market Block, for Peterborough Square development.
- Rene Levesque visits Peterborough to deliver lecture on the Quebec separatist movement at Fleming College.
- Peterborough Square is constructed.
- The Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (PACAC) is created by City, to help protect heritage buildings.
- 150th anniversary of Robinson settlement is celebrated.
From 1976 to Present
- The Peterborough Petes hockey team wins the Memorial Cup.
- Old Fire Hall on Aylmer Street (built in 1908) is demolished for a new public library.
- New Peterborough Public Library on Aylmer Street is opened.
- Half of a downtown Charlotte Street block is destroyed by fire.
- Festival of Lights is launched.
- Peterborough Sustainable Development Program plants 10,000 trees in City.
- Four-lane expansion of Highway 115 is completed.>
- Del Crary Park redevelopment is completed.
- Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame is opened in Memorial Centre.
- YWCA building gutted by fire on February 15th.
- Sun Life Building (130 year old commercial block on Hunter & Water Streets) gutted by fire.
- Old Methodist Meeting House, built in 1843 is demolished for funeral home parking lot. Timbers salvaged and transported to PCMA for a “heritage pavilion”.
- Rotary Greenway Traill officially opens.
- Showplace Peterborough opens on George Street.
- Ministry of Natural Resources Building opens on Water Street
- Peterborough hosts Memorial Cup for first time.
- Canadian Canoe Museum opens on Monaghan Road.
- Morrow Building at northeast corner of Brock and George Streets is restored.
- Peterborough hosts Ontario Winter Games.
- Peterborough hosts Nokia Cup.
- Peterborough and Lakefield police forces merge (Peterborough Lakefield Community Police).
- Waterfront Development is launched.
- City celebrates a new year, a new century, and a new millennium!
- City acquires the Roy Studio photograph collection.
- Millennium Walkway is officially opened at the foot of King Street at the Otonabee River.
- First Mayor’s Levy ever held in Peterborough occurs on New Years Day.
- Peterborough celebrates 150th anniversary.
- Citywide smoking bylaw comes into force.
- Market Hall Restoration fundraising campaign wraps up.
- Trent University sells Peter Robinson College campus into private hands.
- Big band leader Bobby Kinsman dies.
- Westclox closes up all remaining operations in Peterborough.
- Peterborough Paper Converters (formerly Nashua Paper) closes.
- City cleans up after heavy rains trigger major flood damage.
- Noted Canadian artist, David Bierk of Peterborough dies.
- City considers Parkway option again – proposed route may fall on edge of Jackson Park.
- Main Charlotte Street Post Office closes.
Credit and special thanks goes to Shawn Hughes
(Teacher at Crestwood Secondary School)