Home > Why Peterborough > Recreation


people standing on edge of Otonabee River with ducks nearby and a dock with kayaks for rent in the background

The Peterborough area is known around the world for great outdoor recreation, with hundreds of lakes, rivers, and parks – 134 lakes in the Peterborough region alone!

The historic Trent-Severn Waterway passes through the city, making it a great spot for boaters. Peterborough also boasts an extensive trail network, which is a part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

The city offers a large number of restaurants, theatres, and festivals. It is also a convenient base from which to visit Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, and other Ontario destinations.

If you have gone through the immigration process and are new to Peterborough, you are eligible to receive the Peterborough Welcome Pass. This pass provides free or discounted admission to a large variety of cultural, arts and recreational organizations and programs. For more information or to get your pass, please contact the New Canadians Centre.

Outdoor Activities

about 20 people hiking along grassy trail with trees in various fall colours

Peterborough is known as “the gateway to cottage country”. The city sits on the edge of thousands of kilometres of wilderness broken only by small villages and hamlets.

Many families rent or buy cottages (simple houses) along the lakes during the summer months. Cottage season starts on Victoria Day, a long weekend in May and ends on Thanksgiving weekend in October.

Other outdoor recreation venues include parks, conservation areas, trails, and activities such as hiking, biking and canoeing.

Municipal Parks

Pagoda Bridge in Jackson Park

There are many municipal parks in the city. Many have facilities for soccer, rugby, baseball, basketball, volleyball, or tennis.

Some parks have picnic grounds or playgrounds for children. Others include special features like works of art, swimming areas, and barbecues.

The more popular parks include Millennium ParkDel Crary ParkJackson Park and Beavermead Park and Campground.

Public Beaches, Wading Pools and Splash Pads

There are two city beaches open to the public for supervised swimming from mid-June to mid-August. There are also five supervised wading pools and four splash pads.

Provincial Parks, Conservation Areas

People enjoying a summer stroll along the Millennium Trail along the Otonabee River

Ontario’s Provincial Parks are large areas of forest, lakes and rivers managed by the provincial government. Many include campgrounds, picnic areas, and outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, caving, canoeing, rock climbing, and skiing.

Many provincial parks, including the 43-hectare Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park, are within a short distance of the city. It is also only a 2.5-hour drive from Ontario’s famous Algonquin Park.

Conservation Areas are areas of wilderness that are established and managed by local Conservation Authorities. Conservation areas often have a historical significance and may include a museum. There are many Conservation Areas near Peterborough, including the Warsaw Caves.

Other Outdoor Activities

Man walking 2 dogs in a snowy field surrounded by trees

The Peterborough area is known for its trails and waterways. Boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are all common recreational activities in the region.

The main trail system that travels through Peterborough is called the Trans-Canada Trail. The City of Peterborough has created a map of city trails for walking and bicycling.

The Peterborough Marina is located in the heart of downtown Peterborough on Little Lake and offers daily, weekly or seasonal mooring.

The Trent Severn Waterway brings thousands of boaters to Peterborough each year and is one of the area’s main tourist attractions. Each boat that travels through Peterborough will pass over the historic Peterborough Lift Locks.

The city also includes nature areas — wilderness areas established and maintained by private companies or individuals. The Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area is located in the city’s north end.

Peterborough’s Ecology Park is a place where people of all ages to can make lasting friendships with the natural world.

The Riverview Park and Zoo host a large number of animals, along with entertaining and informative exhibits and displays. The zoo also has many walking trails and a large play area for children, including a splash pad. It is the only zoo in Ontario that you can visit for free!


Great Blue Heron stalking prey at the edge of a water body

For birdwatchers and nature lovers, there is the Peterborough Field Naturalists (PFN) club.

The many local forests, lakes and rivers also make the Peterborough area a popular destination for observing wildlife in its natural habitat. The Ministry of Natural Resources website has information on fish and wildlife in Ontario, including personal safety information and information on endangered species.

Winter Sports

youth snowboarding

In winter, residents skate and play hockey on the canal in front of the Lift Locks. Many neighbourhoods also build makeshift outdoor rinks for skating and shinny hockey. For a listing, call 705-745-1386.

Cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are among the popular winter activities. Downhill skiing (or Alpine skiing) is also available at the nearby Devil’s Elbow Ski Area.

Tobogganing is another fun outdoor activity for families. Here is a map showing the location of Armour Hill – a popular toboggan hill in Peterborough.


Peteroborough Petes mascot, Roger, a smiling dog wearing a hockey helmet and Petes jersey

There are a wide variety of competitive and recreational sports to choose from, with activities to suit every age, skill level and area of interest.

The City has a long tradition of hockey and lacrosse. The Peterborough Petes are part of the Ontario Hockey League, and the Peterborough Lakers belong to the Ontario Lacrosse Association.

Sports Facilities

smiling trio in front of the exercise room at the Peterborough Wellness Centre

Sports facilities provide places for the public to exercise and socialize. These centres are excellent places to meet people and make connections in the community.

The largest athletic centres are the Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre and the Peterborough YMCA. There are also facilities at Trent University. You must pay a fee or become a member to use these facilities. You can find smaller fitness centres here or in the phone book.

Other activities one can practice in Peterborough include yoga and dance.

Teams and Sports Clubs

people playing ice hockey on the Trent Canal with the Peterborough Liftlock in the background

Sports teams and clubs are a great way to meet people, learn about local customs and become a part of the community.

Curling is a low-key Canadian sport that can be enjoyed by everyone. Free socials for first-time curlers are often held by the Peterborough Curling Club. Other local clubs include the Peterborough Rowing Club and the Peterborough Minor Lacrosse Association.

The City of Peterborough Recreation Division provides a variety of instructional sports programs. For a list of programs offered, please view the Fun Guide.

A list of recreational sports programs.