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Peterborough, Ontario

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Peterborough in Ontario.

 

Peterborough is a city on the Otonabee River in (Central-Eastern) southern Ontario, Canada, 125 kilometres (78 mi) northeast of Toronto.

Peterborough is known as the gateway to the Kawarthas, "cottage country", a large recreational region of the province. It is named in honour of Peter Robinson, an early Canadian politician who oversaw the first major immigration to the area. The city is the seat of Peterborough County and since 1983 has been sister city to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Arts and culture

Artspace is one of Canada's oldest artist-run art centres, founded in 1974. Its mandate is to support the growth and development of contemporary artists. Artspace maintains a public gallery. Noted artist David Bierk was one of the founding members.

The Art Gallery of Peterborough was also founded in 1974 and features rotating exhibitions by local, national, and international artists.

Peterborough is also home of the Kawartha Artists Gallery, a group of amateur artists. Formed in 1991, under the leadership of Monica Jackson, the KAGS meets in the basement of the De La Fosse Library in Peterborough's south end. A variety of artists meet there: Weavers, Monday mornings; Life Drawing, Tuesday mornings; Still Life, Wednesday mornings; Portrait, Wednesday afternoons (September–June); and Outdoor Artists, Thursday mornings (indoors October–April). There are a number of single artist and multi-member exhibits in paint (abstract and representational), various media and photography.

Peterborough New Dance and Public Energy was founded by Bill Kimball in 1994, and is a presenter and animator of contemporary dance and performance. It is the only full-time presenter of contemporary dance in Ontario outside of Toronto and Ottawa. The organization also supports the development of local dance and performance artists, produces the annual Emergency festival of new dance featuring area artists, and presents indigenous performing artists.

The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra was incorporated in 1967, with historical roots reaching back before the turn of the century. The PSO presents symphonic music. Music Director Michael Newnham has led the organization since 2001, which offers concerts and educational outreach programming to Peterborough and beyond.

The Peterborough Singers: the choir's membership originally formed within the scope of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra in 1990 and was known as the "Peterborough Symphony Singers." However, in 1993, the Peterborough Singers (PS) was incorporated as a stand-alone entity. Under the direction of Sydney Birrell and a dedicated group of volunteers, the choir has grown into a highly regarded ensemble of some ninety to one hundred members. In fact, its reputation is such that world-class, professional Canadian soloists have come back time and again to perform with the choir.

The Peterborough Folk Festival was founded in 1989 by a collective of artists; this three-day August festival has supported a number of local and Canadian artists. Its Emerging Artist Award, founded in 2001 by Reverend Ken Ramsden, has honoured Serena Ryder, James McKenty, and Benj Rowland amongst others.

The Starfire Band was originally formed in 1999 by Peter Ford. It was an offshoot of the Kawartha Wind Symphony, which was composed of the older generation of musicians. The Starfire Band was created for the younger generation of musicians and consists of students from Grade 7 to Grade 12 in the Peterborough area who are interested in music, not necessarily with any or much experience.

Peterborough has a resident professional theatre company; New Stages. Founded in 1997 by Randy Read, New Stages produces new Canadian and American plays, and runs a highly successful reading series of "edgier" work. New Stages is a fully equity company and uses both Showplace Peterborough and the Market Hall Performing Arts Centre.

Peterborough is also well known for its thriving music scene, and is home to musicians and bands such as Hawk Nelson, I Mother Earth, The Spades, Thousand Foot Krutch, Rick Fines, Jimmy Bowskill, The Burning Hell, The Silver Hearts, Birthday Boys, Rikers, Elyse Bruce and Washboard Hank, amongst many others.

Attractions

Peterborough and the Kawarthas offer a multitude of attractions and events for all demographics. Rich in heritage, the region is host to an array of museums, cultural exhibitions, indoor and outdoor galleries and theatres, Aboriginal heritage attractions and historical sites, as well as a vibrant arts community.

The Peterborough Museum & Archives is home to a diverse collection of artifacts. It was established in 1897 and moved to its present site on Armour Hill in 1967. The Archives collection includes items from Catharine Parr Traill, the original Peter Robinson papers, the Park Studio Fonds and the Balsillie collection of Roy Studio Images, over 300,000 film and glass plate negatives dating back to 1896.

The Trent-Severn Waterway passes through Peterborough and includes the Peterborough Lift Lock, the world's largest hydraulic lift lock, which opened in 1904. It is also the world's highest hydraulic lift lock with a rise of 65 feet (19.8 m).

Del Crary Park is a large urban greenspace on Little Lake, located in close proximity to downtown Peterborough that is also home of the Peterborough Yacht Club. Free outdoor events and concerts are held here during the summer months, including the international Festival of Lights music and fireworks displays, Wednesday and Saturday evenings from June through August. The Festival of Lights has recently been renamed the Little Lake Music Fest after the fireworks display was removed due to budget cuts for the 2010 season. The Art Gallery of Peterborough, opened in 1974, is situated on the shore of Little Lake beside Del Crary Park and features 1,300 pieces from around the world.

Showplace Performance Centre is a 647-seat, state of the art performance facility located downtown that opened in 1996. The Canadian Canoe Museum, located on Monaghan Road, is a unique national heritage centre that explores the canoe's enduring significance to the peoples of North America.

The Riverview Park & Zoo is a 55.5-acre (22.5 ha) zoo operated by the Peterborough Utilities Group at the North end of Water Street. In addition to its animal exhibits, the zoo features a miniature train ride and the park contains a disc golf course.

The Peterborough Skateboard park is one of the largest skateboard parks in Ontario. It includes several half-pipes as well as multiple ramps and rails. Its construction was sponsored by West 49.

The 'Wall Of Honour' monument was recently unveiled in Confederation Park across from City Hall on North George Street. It contains the names of the 11,300 servicemen and women from the Peterborough area who served in Canada's Armed Forces in WWI, WWII and the Korean War

Annual events

Artsweek - annual celebration of the arts in Peterborough, held in September
Downtown Countdown - alcohol/drug-free New Year's Eve celebration (website currently down)
Emergency: Festival of New Dance and Performance by Peterborough Area Artists - festival held in late March/early April, produced by Public Energy and Peterborough New Dance
Festival of Trees - fundraiser in support of local healthcare built around a show of decorated Christmas trees and other seasonally-themed displays, late November, Memorial Centre
Peterborough Folk Festival - three-day music, arts and community festival, featuring free all-day outdoor event with five stages, traditionally held last weekend in August
The Ontario municipal holiday (held on the first Monday in August) which is called Simcoe Day in Toronto and Colonel By Day in Ottawa is called Peter Robinson Day locally
Little Lake MusicFest was formerly known as the Peterborough Summer Festival of Lights and is a free concert series on Wednesdays and Saturdays from June to August in Del Crary Park on George Street South
Peterborough Pride Week and Parade - spanning the last week of September with nightly events. Parade occurs on Saturday afternoon followed by attractions in Del Crary Park and a dance in the evening.
Peterborough Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade [ - first Saturday of December at 5:00 pm.

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