children playing on splashpad

Peterborough is home to many historic buildings and landscapes which are an important part of the city's history and identity. The City's Heritage Preservation Office (HPO) develops and administers programs relating to the preservation of historic places within the city including structures, landscapes, and archaeological sites. The HPO also provide advice to committees and Council on heritage matters and works with other City departments on a range of issues relating to matters of built heritage.

The HPO administers the following programs:

Heritage Conservation District study for the City’s historic downtown

The City of Peterborough is considering creating a Heritage Conservation District to preserve the heritage features of the City’s historic downtown. Full information and community consultation is on the City's Connect Peterborough website.

As the first step in the process, the City is doing a Heritage Conservation District Study for the downtown. Following the Study, a plan with guidelines for preserving the heritage features of the downtown would be created and go to City Council for its consideration for approval.

The Study will research and document the historic commercial core’s heritage character and assess its heritage resources. The information from the Study would be used to determine the suitability of a Heritage Conservation District designation for the area and other appropriate tools to preserve its heritage.

Historic areas or neighbourhoods form part of the city's evolution and identity. Their careful management and protection contribute to the quality of life for everyone in the community.


Heritage register

Yellow Arts and Crafts house on Antrim StreetThe City maintains a register of heritage properties within the municipality which includes buildings designated individually under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, heritage conservation districts designated under Part V of the Act, and listed buildings, which are not designated but have been identified as having cultural heritage value. A list of properties on Peterborough's Heritage Register is available online and includes designated and listed properties. The list is searchable by clicking "Ctrl F". Official copies of the Heritage Register is located at City Hall in the Clerk's Office or at the Heritage Preservation Office. You can also obtain information about the Heritage Register by calling the Heritage Preservation Office.

Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee

The Heritage Preservation Office provides staff support to the City's Municipal Heritage Committee – the Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (PACAC). The PACAC is mandated by the Ontario Heritage Act to provide recommendations to Council on matters relating to heritage, including the designation of properties. The Committee also hosts a variety of events each year to bring awareness to heritage in the city and to provide resources to owners of heritage buildings.

Heritage resources

There are many available resources for heritage property owners and anyone interested in built heritage.

City resources

We have developed a number of resources for property owners interested in heritage designation or who own historic buildings. These include:

The City also provides a number of web-based mapping applications that explore Peterborough's heritage. These include a Heritage Resources map that shows the location of important historic places.

The Little Lake Cemetery mapping project tells the story of Little Lake Cemetery and some of Peterborough's early residents. It provides a genealogical tool for residents interested in researching individuals buried in Little Lake Cemetery and a StoryMap that narrates the history of the cemetery.

We are also developing an interactive heritage walking tour that explores Peterborough's history and heritage sites. Users will be able to create custom walking tours on a variety of themes. The application will be available in both desktop and mobile versions.

Local research resources

There are a number of local research resources where interested property owners can research their properties. These are primarily archives, which hold secondary sources like books and articles, and primary documents such as letters, plans, photos and maps. It is always advisable to phone or email archives ahead of your planned visit.

Peterborough Museum and Archives

The Peterborough Museum and Archives holds over 2,000 different collections related to all aspects of Peterborough history including thousands of photographs of the City in the Balsillie Collection of Roy Studio Photographs. The City has also digitized its collection of city and county directories which date from 1858 to 2009.

Trent Valley Archives

Trent Valley Archives holds collections relating to the history of the Trent Valley, including the City of Peterborough. These include photographs, documents, books, and historic newspapers. The Trent Valley Archives also publishes The Heritage Gazette of the Trent Valley a quarterly publication, which focuses on local history.

Trent University Archives

Trent University Archives is open to the public and has holdings relating to both the university and the history and culture of the Peterborough region. It also holds a number of special collections, including rare books, relating to topics of interest such as Canadian history, settlement, and exploration.

Peterborough Historical Society

The Peterborough Historical Society is a local history organization that publishes books and papers on the history of Peterborough and area and hosts monthly public meetings with presentations on local history. Their archival collection, which includes a large reference library, is held at Hutchison House.

Ontario Heritage Trust

The Ontario Heritage Trust is the provincial body that protects and promotes heritage in Ontario. The Trust looks after a number of historic sites in Ontario and provides resources relating to the building conservation. The Trust also organizes events and workshops to help promote and provide education about the province's heritage.

National Trust for Canada

The National Trust for Canada is an organization dedicated to the preservation of heritage sites across Canada. They provide educational programming, resources, advocacy and support for historic sites across the country.

Ontario Heritage Tool Kit

The Ontario Heritage Tool Kit is a series of guides designed to help people understand heritage conservation in Ontario. The different guides include information on heritage designation, property research and evaluation, and the conservation of places of faith.

Doors Open Ontario

Doors Open Ontario began in 2002. It is a province-wide initiative that invites visitors to experience unique and exciting heritage sites that are not normally open to the public. Events take place in communities across Ontario annually from April to October.

Canadian Register of Historic Places

The Canadian Register of Historic Places is a searchable database of historic sites across Canada.

Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada is a federal set of guidelines developed by Parks Canada to assist with the conservation of historic places across Canada. This document provides practical advice on approaching conservation and restoration of historic sites and properties.