Bicycling through Peterborough with Pedal and Paddle

After a fabulous long day with a visit to the Lang Pioneer Village, a tour through the Elmhirst’s Resort and a great evening of outdoor theatre at the 4th Line Theatre, my last day in Peterborough had arrived. Early in the morning I relocated from the Golden Pathways B&B south of the city to another B&B right in the heart of town, next to Little Lake. My home for the night was the Beacon by the Bay Bed and Breakfast, where I was going to enjoy one more night in Peterborough in my one-bedroom suite on the top level of a historic home. I had a packed schedule today, but I quickly checked out my suite: it had a nicely equipped kitchen, stocked with all sorts of goodies, a nice bathroom and a spacious bedroom with a king-size bed and a balcony that provided one of the best views of Peterborough, overlooking Little Lake and the Centennial Fountain.

The Beacon by the Bay B&B, my home for the night

I briefly said hello to the owners, Jeff and Sheila Roberts, before I embarked on today’s adventures. The last two days had exposed me to quite a bit of Peterborough’s culture and heritage, but today was my outdoor adventure day – it was time for some pedaling and some paddling, to take advantage of some of the excellent outddoor opportunities in this city.

What a phenomenal view from right outside my B&B!

What I personally really like about Peterborough is that it’s extremely close to Toronto, as the drive takes less than an hour and a half. But in addition to that, the city offers a great bicycle trail network and the opportunity to go canoeing and kayaking right in the city. And that’s what I wanted to try out today.

Great views over the Otonabee River from the terrace of the Silver Bean Café

To start my adventure I drove just a few minutes north to Millennium Park, a linear park right next to the Otonabee River that was opened in 2001. This park is easily accessible from the downtown core and holds community events such as the DBIA Ribfest and the Greek Festival. The Silver Bean Café anchors the park and provides visitors with a great spot to relax with a cup of java and a gorgeous view of the river.

Lloyd Graham and his friend Clare, from Pedal and Paddle

Downstairs in the boathouse I met Lloyd Graham and his friend Clare, who run a company called Pedal and Paddle, offering kayak, canoe and bicycle rentals for active travelers. Lloyd has even added a pedal boat to his fleet. Now equipped with comfortable Norco bikes, we started our journey by cycling across the Otonabee River on an old railway bridge that is still in active use today. From here Lloyd pointed out well-known sights such as the modern complex of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Quaker Oats factory, an important employer in Peterborough over the last century.

This old railroad bridge over the Otonabee River is still in use

After the bridge we turned south and Lloyd explained that the area east of the Otonabee River originally was a rather inexpensive neighbourhood because a major slaughterhouse was operating on the other side of the river, roughly where today’s Holiday Inn is located. The unpleasant smells from the abattoir definitely had a negative impact on the real estate prices downwind on the other side of the river. Today, many of these houses have been renovated and expanded, creating one of Peterborough’s most popular neighbourhoods.

Nice vistas over Little Lake open up during our bicycle ride

Further south we stopped to have a look at Little Lake, Peterborough’s wide body of water right in the heart of the city. The Peterborough Marina offers mooring to boaters as well as a restaurant with a nice open-air patio upstairs with a great view of the lake. Adjacent to the marina is Del Crary Park, location of the city’s Little Lake Musicfest which hosts free concerts every Wednesday and Saturday during the summer.

Looking at the Peterborough Marina in Del Crary Park

We also looked across the water at the Little Lake Cemetery, a historic cemetery that has been the last resting place for many prominent residents of Peterborough since 1850. The Centennial Fountain, located right in the middle of Little Lake, has become one of Peterborough’s most recognizable landmarks.

The Centennial Fountain, one of Peterborough’s landmarks

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