Pros and cons of living in Peterborough, Ontario

Are you thinking of moving to Peterborough, Ontario or have you recently arrived? If yes, then you must be curious about what it has to offer.

Peterborough is a small city which is located in Southeastern Ontario in Canada. It is one of the only communities in the province that offers the best of urban, rural, and lakeside livelihood. The incredibly blue and magnificent Otonabee River runs through the city and ultimately provides the best kind of water sports. Known as the ‘Getaway to the Kawarthas’ and the ‘Cottage Country’, it is considered a major recreational region of Ontario. It is also called the ‘Electric City’ because it is known to be the first town in the entire country to start using electric streetlights.

Peterborough offers an exceptional quality of life to all its citizens which is a mix between peace and comfort with clean air and farm-fresh commodities. However, if you are curious about what the city can offer you, then this article is especially for you. We have enlisted everything that you need to know before settling into this small cottage city.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Living in Peterborough, Ontario?

If you’re considering whether to live in Peterborough, Ontario then here is a list of all the things that you can expect when you settle in the city.

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1. Lower Cost of Living

One of the best things about this place is that everything is so affordable. You can conveniently buy everything you want without worrying about your budget. Whether it’s accommodation, food, or luxuries, you can get them all at reasonable prices. Likewise, if we compare the cost of living in Toronto versus Peterborough, living in the former city is 44% more expensive than the latter.

2. Beautiful, Serene and Scenic

The entire city is picturesque. It has hills, a river which runs its course throughout the city, a lake, old homes, and a lake. Whether you love mountains or water, this is the place that is perfect for everyone.  Furthermore, Peterborough as well as Kawarthas have become a haven for all cyclists. There are many cycle shops all around the city. he 300-kilometers of biking trails are perfect if you just want to wind through the city and appreciate its magnificence.

3. Lively Downtown

One of the reasons why most people love Peterborough so much is because the local food is worth getting your hands dirty over. It is scrumptious, to say the least. The food scene is eclectic, and you can find multiple cafes and eateries around the city that offer pastries, lattes, steaks, beverages, and anything that you can think of! Additionally, the best thing is, these cafes usually host open mic or poetry sessions which gives you the perfect chance to interact with the locals as well as travelers. This can serve as a great opportunity for new settlers to get to know the city and make friends!

Moreover, you can find museums, art galleries, parks, a canal (called the Lift Lock), a zoo, and so many more amusing places that would keep you happy if you decide to move here.

4. So close to Kawarthas!

Another reason for living in Peterborough is its closeness to Kawarthas. For those who do not know, let’s have a quick history lesson! The city of Kawartha Lakes was inaugurated in the year 2001 as a unitary municipality in Ontario. It is located on the north and west of Peterborough.

If you love water and just want to go on an adventure every other weekend, then you would love Kawarthas. The ‘city’ contains almost 250 lakes and rivers which provide countless opportunities for you to explore the vicinity and enjoy. Apart from this, there are trails, a theatre, and locally-grown food to divulge in.

5. High-Quality, Free Education

In Peterborough, three school boards run approximately 30 elementary and secondary schools in the city. Since, it is a law by the government of Ontario that all children between the ages of six till 18-year-old receive education, all of these schools are free. They are open to people with any financial difficulties and diverse backgrounds. Thus, no matter what you can be certain that your child will get a quality education in this city.

There are four notable post-secondary institutions as well; Fleming College, Trillium College, Seneca College, and Trent University.

6. Readily Available Healthcare

Peterborough is also pretty efficient when it comes to caring for the health of its citizens. It has a regional hospital, walk-in clinics, and Ontario health Care Connect that aids people to find a family doctor. Peterborough Public Health gives its citizens many programs and services that help to understand health, poverty, and water safety among many other things.

7. Short Commute

One of the best things about this city is that you do not have to travel long miles to reach places. You most probably won’t even have to ask people for directions or how to avoid the traffic because it is easy to navigate. There are no traffic jams, except for in the summers when the cottagers move to the area. However, no matter what, you won’t have the road rage you would normally have if you were living in Toronto or Vancouver.


1. Crime Rates

Although the overall crime rate is moderate in the city, it is a concern that the crime rate has drastically increased in the past three years. Another major concern is the increased rate of people using or dealing with drugs.  So, you would have to be a bit cautious while going about your day in the city. Apart from these two problems, the city is pretty safe. Whether it is day or night, you can safely walk through the streets along. Theft, robbery, and vandalism are also rare in the city.

2. Different Laws than Metropolitan Cities

Peterborough is considered a cottage city with a slow and peaceful daily routine. It is a small-knit community with its own unique way of life. So, the people who come from other cities might have a hard time getting accustomed to the normal practices here. For example, you cannot just leave garbage bags on the road overnight because there are different rules regarding waste removal. Another example is that you cannot just demand to get your gravel roads paved.

Too Peaceful

While this might be perfect for some people, others might not like how quiet and relaxing everything is. Most people have commented that they do not have road rage. Like, they used to when they used to live in other bustling cities. However, despite the peaceful neighborhood, most high school graduates tend to move out of the city to elsewhere, mostly to progress in their careers. One of the major reasons for this is that the lifestyle isn’t the same as you would have in Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Is It Worth Living or Moving to Peterborough, Ontario?

Whether to live in the city or not should entirely depend on why you thought of it in the first place. Whether it is because of a job, education, or even just a new start, you need to keep all the things that you will be looking forward to if you decide to move here.

As you can see from the list above, it is evident that the pros definitely overshadow the negatives. So, we personally think that the city is perfect for everyone. Especially, if you are nearing retirement and just want to live in a peaceful community with friendly neighbors and many recreational activities.

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