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Peterborough County GenSearch
Historic Plaques and Sites
of Peterborough County

"In an effort to alleviate poverty and unemployment in Ireland, the British government in 1825 sponsored a settlement of Irish emigration in the Newcastle District of Upper Canada. Peter Robinson, later the province's Commissioner of Crown Lands, was appointed superintendent and in May 2024 persons sailed from Cork. A few settled elsewhere and disease thinned their numbers but by September the remained were gathered in temporary shelters on the the site of Peterborough. Under Robinson's supervision, free rations were distributed until Novermber 1826, cabins were erected and 1878 settlers successfully established in the Peterborough region."

Located in Victoria Park on the east side of Water Street between Brock and Murray Streets, Peterborough. Plaque unveiled September 27,1958.

"In 1838 the District of Colborne was established and Peterborough selected as the "district town". In June of that same year, the district magistrates, with the Hon. Thomas Stewart presiding, authorized the construction of a court house and jail. Joseph Scobell's plans for the buildings were accepted and the foundation stone was laid by Sir George Arthur, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, on August 25,1838. At a cost of over L7000, the court house was completed in 1840 and the jail in 1842 with stone quarried from Jackson's Park, adding to the community structures of notable size and design."

"An Anglican conregation was formed in Peterborough by the Rev. Samuel Armour in 1826. Services were held in a schoolhouse until the building of St. John's which was begun in 1834 and opened in the summer of 1836. Designed by Joseph Scobell and assisted by financial contributions from Engalnd and Ireland, it is a fine example of Early English Gothic Revival architecture. In 1882 it was extensively renovated. The first rector was the Rev. R. H. D'Olier, a native of Dublin, Ireland who served until 1835. St. John's is the oldest remaining church in Peterborough County and has been in continuous use since its opening."

"On this site stood in 1825 Government House. Log dwelling and office of Peter Robinson. In that 2204 Irish immigrants were assisted in settling here by the British Government. From that time the settlement was known as Peterborough. - Peterborough Hisorical Sociiety, September 1956."

Located on the south-east corner of Water and Simcoe Streets, Peterborough.

"This plaque erected in honour of nearly 2000 Irish settlers who sailed from Cork Harbour, under the leadership of the Honourable Peter Robinson, and arrived in this area in the Autun of 1825, settling in the Town of Peterborough and the surronding townships."

"Near this site, in 1820, the community's first resident Adam Scott (1796-1838) built a sawmill adn grist-mill. The small settlement which grew around them wsa known as Scott's Plains until 1826 when it was renamed in honour of Peter Robinson. Although of primitive construction, the mills were of great benefit to the early settlers including the Irish emigrants brought out by Robinson in 1827, and 1835, they were destroyed by fire."

Located on the east side of Water Street, north of King Street, Peterborough.

"Irish-born, Isabella Crawford came to Canada as a young girl and eventually settled in Peterborough. Following her father's death in 1875 she supported her family through writing and published articles, ficiton and poetry in Toronto and New York journals. She later moved to Toronto to further her career and there gained modest success. Althouhg largley unknown in the short lifetime, her reputation has steadely grown so theat she is considered to be one of the finest Canadian poets of her generation. She is best remembered for her long poems "Malconlin's Katie" and "Old Spookses' Pass."

Locatted in Scott Plains Park, Peterborough

"This stone house, completer by February, 1837, was first occupied by Dr. John Hutchinson, Peterborough's first permanetly established physician. A native of Kircaldy, Scotland, Hutchinson had come to Upper Canada by 1818 and practised in the Rice Lake area and at Port Hope before moving to Peterborough in 1830. Already a magistrate, he became one of the settlement's leading citizens. The house is believed to have been built by volunteer labour and public subscription to induce him to stay in Peterborough. During an epidemic in 1847, Dr. Hutchinson contracted typhus while attending sick immigrants and was one of thiry-three victims in Peterborough. In 1969 the house was bequeathed to the Peterborough Historical Society.

Located on Brock Street, Peterborough.

"Inventor of standard time and pioneer in world communications, Fleming was born in Kircaldy, Scotland and trained in engineering and surveying before emigrating to Canada and settling in Peterborough in 1845. He soon moved to Toronto where in 1849 he assisted in the founding of the Canadian Institute and two years later designed the first Canadian postage stamp. He was the builder of the Intercolnial Railway and as chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1871-1887) conducted surveys of a transcontinental route. His proposal, presented to the Canadian Institute in 1879, outlining a world-wide uniform system for reckoning time and his advocacy of a cable route linking Canada and Australia earned Fleming universal recognition. He was knighted in 1897."

Located in Fleming Park, west side of Alymer Street between Brock and Hunter Streets, Peterborough.

"The parish of St. Peter-in-Chains was established in 1826 to serve the large Irish Catholic population of the surrounding Robinson Settlement. This building, erected in 1837-1838 of stone from nearby Jackson's Creek, is one of the oldest remaining Catholic churches in Ontario. Reportedly designed by the Toronto architect James Chevette, it follows the modified Gothic Revival style popular in Upper Canada during the period. In 1882 when the Diocese of Peterborough was erected St. Peter's became a cathedral. Two years later it was extensively renovated and enlarged under its first Bishop, Jean Francois Jamot. Although altered on various occasions most notably by the addition of a fifth bay to the nave in 1967, St. Peter-in-Chains has retained its original elegance and imposing form.

"An outstnding example of Greek Revival architecture modified in the Palladian manner, it was begun about 1847 by P. M. Grover, a well-to-do local merchant. A type of building rare in Ontario, it was probably inspired by a "design for a villa" appearing in Minard Lafever's "Modern Builders Guide", 1833. The square pillars of this house are a classical Greek feature popular in North America principally because they were less costly to build than round columns. Robert Nicholls acquired the property in 1851, and it remained in his family, distinguished in Peterborough for public service and philanthropy, until 1906. Here the local Masonic Lodge held its meetings in 1849-53 and in 1950 the Masons purchased this imposing house."

"Here on December 6, 1960, the skeletal remains of a man who lived in this area about 2000 years ago were discovered by Douglas Yaxley of Peterborough. Buried with the man were twenty-nine artifacts attributed to the Point Penninsula culture whih occupied the Trent River system before the Christian era."

Located on the north side of Brock Street, west of George Srteet, Peterborough.
Note: The skeletal remain are now in a case, arranged as found, in a simulated grave at the Peterborough Centenial Museum.

"In 1822 the Stewart family emigrated from County Antrim, Ireland, to Upper Canada and ther following year they began to farm this land on the Otonabee River. Thomas A. Stewart (1786-1847) served as justice of the peace and member of the Legislative Council and through his public service he played a significant role the in Peterborough's early development. His wife Frances (1794-1872) wrote a series of detailed and highly descriptive letters concerning the life and early growth of the Peterborough region. These were published in 1889 under the title "Our Forest Home". Invaluable as an historical record, they provide a vivid account of a pioneer community in the early 1800's."

Located at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School, Armour Road. N., Peterborough.

"Batoche - 1885 - Fishcreek: A tribute to the Canadian volunteers and to the memory of Capt. Edward T. Brown, of Boulton's Scouts, a native of this county who fell at Batoche on May 12th, 1885.

Located in Confederation Park, George Street, Peterborough.

"Opened in 1904, with a lift of 19.8 meters, this is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world and the first of two built in North America, both on the Trent-Severn Waterway. It operates on a balance principle. A constant water pressure supports each ram through connecting pipes below ground. When extra water is let into the upper chamber, a connecting valve is opened and the heavier chamber automatically descends forcing up the lower chamber to sart a new cycle. Among innovations on this lift were the use of concrete, air-filled seals, drop gates and cast steel presses for the rams."

Located at the Peterborough Lift Lock, Hunter Street East, Peterborough.

"In 1957 public-spirited residents of Peterborough formed a Citizens' Committee to examine the possibility of creating a University to serve the Trent Valley. By letters patent of August 9, 1960, this committee became Trent College Limited and in the following year, a group of academic advisers under the chairmanship of President-designate T. H. B. Symons, organized the university's Academic Planning Committee. A provincial charter of 1963 established Trent as a degree granting university which admitted its first students in September, 1964. That year the renovation of Rubige Hall and the creation of Robinson and Traill Colleges gave Trent a downtown campus. The opening of Champlain College (1967) and Lady Eaton College (1968) marked the beginning of the main campus."

Located at Trent University, Water Street N., Peterborough.

"Citizens, remember that in another time, young men became Airmen to fly in foreign and hostile skies. Many returned, some did not. Those who died are rembered by those who live. Erected in memory of All Airmen of Peterborough and District by 428 Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force Association, June 5, 1971."

Located the the Peterborough Riverview Park and Zoo, Water Street N., Peterborough.

"A member of the literarry Strickland family, the talented author married Liet. Thomas Traill and emigrated to Upper Canada in 1832. For seven years they struggled unsuccessfully to establish a profitable farm on bushland in Douro Township. Subsequently, they lived at Ashburnham and Rice Lake. In 1862, following her husband's death, Mrs. Traill's daughters purchased "Westove" and she lived here the rest of her life. Her best known book, "The Backwoods of Canada" is based on her pioneering experiences. In her "Studies of Plant Life in Canada" and other works she proved herself a gifted botanist."

Located at 16 Smith Street, Lakefield.

"Born in London, Catherine Strickland married Lieutenant Thomas Traill in 1832 and emigrated to Upper Canada, settling in Douro Township and subsequently Lakefield. A writer of children's stories and a frequent contributor to the "Literary Garland", her most famous work was "The Backwoods of Canada" (1836) consisting of letters to her mother portraying the hardships of the pioneer life she loved so much. Her work as a naturalist bore fruit in "Canada Wild Flowers" (1868) and "Studies of Plant Life in Canada" (1885)."

Located at Young's Point.

"To commemorate the founding of Young's Point by Frances Young and family who located here August 1825 from Tipperary Ireland. The Young family - William, John, Sammuel, Frank, Robert, Patrick, Mathew, Nora, Elizabeth."

Located in Young's Point.

SUSANNA MOODIE 1083 - 1885
"This talented writer, the wife of a retired British army officer, emigrated with her husband and daughter to Upper Canada in 1832. In 1834 they moved to a nearby farm lot to be near her brother, Sameul Strickland, and her sister Catherine Parr Traill. The following six years of unsuccessful effort to develop a wilderness property provided the theme for her best-known work "Roughing it in the Bush". In 1840 they moved to Belleville. There the Moodies edited and were principal contributors to the short lived "Victorian Magazine" and Susanna wrote many novles and poems. Her contributions were for years the mainstay of "The Literary Garland", a Montreal publication."

Located at Lakefield Memorial Park, Lakefield.

"This church was built in 1853 principally through the efforts of Samuel Strickland. A member of an English family which included several successful authors, he emigrated to Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1825. After farming in Otonabee Township he served with the Canada Company 1823-31 as a superintendant of settlement. In 1831 he became one of Douro's earliest settlers, and later established a school there for the training of persons interested in pioneer farming. His book "Twenty-seven Years in Canada West" is of unique value, since it is an educated person's record of a lifetime spent on the agricultural frontier. Col. Strickland is buried in this church yard."

Located at Christ Church, Church Street, Lakefield.

"Red Fife Wheat, an early maturing, high quality variety was discovered in 1842 by David Fife in one experimental plot on his farm here. For over 60 years it was "Spring Wheat" in Canada. It opened up the grain potential of the West and is a parent of the famous Marquis Wheat."

Located at Lang Pioneer Village, Lang.

"In 1846, Thomas Short, later member of the Parliment of Canada for Peterborough County, erected this stone flour mill here on the Indian River. Withing five years he had built a saw mill across the river and had laid out a village plot named Allandale. By 1858 the Allandale Flour Mill, which now also housed an outmeal mill, had become one of the largest in the region and was exporting large quantities of its products. Short encountered financial difficulties, however, and lost possession of the mill in 1862. The village and mill were renamed Lang after William Lang about 1872. The mill whose interior was rebuilt by W. J. Humphries after a fire in 1896, continued in operation until 1965 when it was purchased by the Oton.abee Region Conservation Authority."

Located at Lang Pioneer Village, Lang.

"David Fife, desiring to improve the quality of Canadian wheat, requested and recieved from a friend some new wheat samples from a Baltic ship docked in Glasgow, Scotland. In the spring of 1841 the samples obtained by Mr. Fife were sown by he and his wife, Jane on the forth concession of Otonabee. The sample had contained both a spring and fall variety, only the spring sample survived and proved superior to any other kind grown. The rust resistant Red Fife Wheat was grown in the west and for 50 years remained the undisputed strain until it was crossed with another strain of wheat to produce the early maturing Marquis whish became the basic wheat to be grown in North America."

Located on Highway 7 east of Peterborough.

"The principal mound of this group is the only known example in Canada of a mound of serpentine shape. The earliest archeological excavation on the site was carried out by David Boyle in 1896. Artifacats and skelatal remains were discovered but the first comprehensive investigation was not started until 1955. Teh mounds, somewhat similar to those of the Ohio Valley, appear to have been built while the region was occupied by Indians of the Point Penesula culture, and are thought to have been religious or ceremonial in nature. Numerous burails have been found in the mounds which are estimated to have been constructed about the second century A.D."

Located at Serpent Mounds Provincial Park.

"Born in County Limerick, Ireland, Commissioned Ensign 1815 in 27th Inniskilling Regement of Foot, during the Napoleonic War. With wife and 3 children sailed from Limerick in May 1831. Became a pioneer settler in Township Dummer. In 1841, appointed Warden of the Distric of Colborne by the government. Subsequently elected warden for four successive years."
"1834 - Author of "A Guide for Emigrants from the British Shores to the Woods of Canada". He was an author of numerous tracts, poems and prose for the Coborg Star."
"1851-61 Was clerk of the Townships of Dummer and Burleigh. For seven years was superintendent of schools in Summer."

Located at the Warsaw Public School, Warsaw.

"Situated on an outcrop of white marble on the Canadian Shield, the Peterborough Pertoglyph site is one of the largest know concentrations of prehistoric rock carvings in Canada. Several hundred images comprising a wide variety of realistic animal and human forms, as wells as abstrat and sybolic representations give evidence of the spiritual and intellectual life of the Algonquin Indians who carved them between 900 - 1400 AD. This site is a sacred place and a monument to the artistic ability and senstitivity.

Located at thePeterborough Petroglyphs Provincial Park.

"Born and educated in Ireland, Scriven was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He emigrated to Canada in 1847 and during the 1850's became tutor to the family of Capt. Robert L. Pengelley, R.N, a retired British Naval Officer who had settled in this vicinty. A deeply religiuos man, he published a book entitled "Hyms and Other Verses", 1869. However the poem entitled "Pray Without Ceasing", for which he was to become famous, was frist published in a local newspaper. Set to music by Dr. Charles C. Canvers, it gained international recognition under the title "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"."

Located in Baileboro.

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