Search

  • General information
  • Community information
  • BECOME A VOLUNTEER

May 06, 2017

1867 - A day in the life

Imagine what life was like 150 years ago! Streetscapes, businesses, parks, schools and churches clustered mainly in today's downtown Peterborough. The western edge of the city was Park Street, and mills still used the water power of the mighty Otonabee River as it ran unchecked through town. The Town of Peterborough was incorporated in 1850 with just over 2,000 residents. By Confederation, it had more than doubled.

Peterborough's stories, traditions and activities express its heritage daily. And that heritage continues to grow and flourish. Since its inception in 2002, Doors Open Peterborough has proudly showcased the creative ways in which its citizens preserve the past while still looking forward to a diverse, inclusive and exciting future.

Doors Open is a free day of fun for people of all ages. Come and visit an exciting mix of sites, or take part in tours that celebrate and explore our past. Be an active participant by walking, biking or taking the bus. Our partners, Shifting Gears and Peterborough Transit, make it easy to keep your carbon footprint smaller.

Take the bus!

Doors Open Peterborough, in partnership with Peterborough Transit, is pleased to offer FREE day passes for all Doors Open visitors. Passes will be available at each participating site on the day of the event. Up to two adults and four children can ride all day. Perfect for families!

Ride your bike!

The Shifting Gears Challenge takes place during the month of May. Participate in Shifting Gears to win prizes, get fit, save money on gas and have more fun getting around. Doors Open Peterborough is partnering with Shifting Gears to encourage people to cycle to and from participating sites as a part of the 2017 challenge. See this map for suggested cycling routes.

Welcome volunteers!

If you would like to help us this year, or in the future, email doorsopen@peterborough.ca and leave your name and telephone number.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available

Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
99 Brock Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: 1834-36
Building type: Place of worship, Historic landmark
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The oldest church in Peterborough County, set on a prominent hill overlooking the Otonabee River, the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist is also the oldest example of a stone English Gothic building in North America. Self-guided tours and guided tours will both be available. A free publication, The Pilgrim’s Guide, describes the church’s history and features.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Art Gallery of Peterborough

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
250 Crescent Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: c. 1880
Building type: Attraction, Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During Doors Open, the Gallery’s vault will showcase works of historical importance from the permanent collection. Regular exhibits and the Gift Shop will also be open. Don’t miss costume enthusiast Heather Aiton Landry as she displays original and replica Victorian men’s and women’s clothing of the Confederation era, with a slideshow to accompany the actual items.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Self-guided tours available

Canadian Canoe Museum

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
910 Monaghan Road
Peterborough, Ontario
Telephone: 705-748-9153
Building type: Commercial, Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; guided tours at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Established in 1997, the Canadian Canoe Museum is home to the largest collection of canoes and kayaks in the world. Try your hand at paddle carving, view artisan demonstrations, or go on a guided tour of the museum and learn something new about Canada’s “seventh wonder” – the canoe!

Parking
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Self-guided tours available

Harvey Cottage

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
544 George Street North
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: 1855-60
Style: Ontario cottage
Building type: Commercial
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The house of Dr. A Harvey retains the original regency character of the 1860s. Once covered in roughcast plaster, the building is now clad in wood siding. Originally a single-family home, it was renovated into a double dwelling in 1912 and then back to its original configuration in 2001. Portions of the stacked plank construction are visible inside.

Parking
Kid-friendly

Horse-drawn Wagon Rides

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Meet at the corner of Brock and Aylmer streets
Peterborough, Ontario
Building type: Attraction
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Experience the slower pace of life from the 19th century on a short wagon ride past some of oldest homes in Peterborough. Horses Queen and Lacey, along with driver Earl Cochrane, will take you back in time. Limit of 12 adults per ride. Children must be accompanied by adults.

Parking
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available
Site has blue and gold provincial plaque

Hutchison House

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
270 Brock Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Telephone: 705-743-9710
Year built: 1836
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join local authors and distinguished academics to hear selected readings from some of the area’s most distinguished female writers of the mid-19th century. Works by Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie, Isabella Valancy Crawford and others will be examined in a lovely period setting on the terrace (weather permitting).

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Little Lake Cemetery and Chapel

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
915 Haggart Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: Cemetery 1850; chapel 1878
Architect: Chapel, Alfred Belcher
Landscape type: Landscape
Building type: Cemetery, Historic landmark
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Land was set aside for this landmark English lancet-style structure in 1852. The plan for the cemetery, drawn up by Sandford Fleming, situated the chapel on top of the central ridge. The architect, Alfred Belcher, his brother John E. Belcher (also an architect and engineer) and chapel contractors Thomas and Christopher Rutherford are all buried in this cemetery.

Parking
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Masjid Al-Salaam (Kawartha Muslim Religious Association)

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
784 Parkhill Road West
Peterborough, Ontario
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Masjid Al-Salaam welcomes you to explore the mosque with a day full of interesting activities for the whole family. Interactive guided tours will take place every 15 minutes. Enjoy tasty refreshments and view a presentation about the history of Islam and Muslims in Canada, an Islamic movie, poster exhibition and much more!

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available

Peterborough County Courthouse

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
470 Water Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: 1838
Building type: Courthouse, Historic landmark
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Built of local Dixon Quarry limestone, this magnificent structure commands one of the highest points in the city and overlooks Victoria Park. Sit in the judge’s chair in Court Room No. 1, or take in the newly landscaped gardens of the former county jail.

Parking
Washrooms
National Historic Site (Canada)
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Peterborough Drill Hall and Armoury

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
220 Murray Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: 1907-09
Building type: Historic landmark, Military
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This distinctive Romanesque revival structure is one of fewer than 20 surviving armouries built by the Canadian Government between the Boer War and the First World War. Originally the home of Peterborough’s three militia units, it is now the headquarters for the Moro Company of the Hastings-Prince Edward Regiment. Don’t miss the mess on the second floor.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Peterborough Museum and Archives

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
300 Hunter Street East (Museum Drive)
Peterborough, Ontario
Telephone: 705-743-5180
Year built: 1967
Architect: Eberhard Zeidler
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Peterborough Museum and Archives – opened in 1967 as a centennial project – preserves the community’s heritage through its safekeeping of artifacts, photographs and archival material. The latest exhibit focuses on Peterborough’s architecture and was designed by the students in the Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming College. Learn how to research local history at the archives.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available
Site has blue and gold provincial plaque
Ontario 150

Peterborough Pollinators

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Meet at the corner of Brock and Aylmer streets (Fleming Park)
Peterborough, Ontario
Landscape type: Garden
Building type: Attraction
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Members of the Peterborough Pollinators – dedicated to restoring native plant habitats and encouraging native insects and birds – will provide an interactive exhibit that explores the link between what was available 150 years ago and the impact of introduced species to our natural environment. In addition, an Art Nature Dialogue will bring environmentalists, artists and activists together to explore ecological issues.

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Kid-friendly
Self-guided tours available
Site has blue and gold provincial plaque

Victoria Park and Murray Street Walking Tour

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Meet at 120 Murray Street
Peterborough, Ontario
Year built: c. 1850
Landscape type: Landscape
Building type: Historic landmark
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join local historian Gord Young from Lakefield Heritage Research as he describes the vicinity of Victoria Park and points out notable buildings associated with the mid-19th-century town. This was a prosperous area of Peterborough, with the Dickson Mill nearby and St. John’s Anglican Church and two schools facing the park, all presided over by the County Court House.

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available

Walking Tour of Downtown Peterborough

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Meet at 129 Hunter Street West (in the courtyard behind St. Veronus Café and Tap Room)
Peterborough, Ontario
Saturday: one-hour guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. only

Trent Valley Archives is famous for its guided walks! Explore the downtown as it would have looked in 1867. The great fire of 1861, when 31 businesses were lost, resulted in brick buildings being constructed to replace the lost wooden ones, and other fire suppression measures were put in place.