In 1826, Peterborough was named after Peter Robinson. Robinson directed a large number of immigrants from Ireland to the area. The site was at the end of a long portage to Lake Chemung and was therefore well-traveled by the Mississauga First Nations. In 1615, Samuel de Champlain visited the area. Under European settlement, Peterborough quickly became the administrative centre for the area north of Rice Lake, particularly with the Robinson settlement and the creation in 1842 of the Colbourne District.
In 1850 Peterborough achieved town status. Timber was the main industry for more than 50 years although the development of Red Fife Wheat was a great contribution. By 1870 Peterborough was Ontario's principal producer of timber. Before Niagara Falls, the development of hydroelectricity along the Trent system attracted large manufacturers such as Edison Electric (later called Canadian General Electric) and Quaker Oats.
The area, which includes the Trent Canal System, is part of the Kawartha chain of lakes that connects Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. The hydraulic lift locks of the Trent Canal are located in the city. Peterborough is one of the few larger municipalities in which residents enjoy metropolitan living in an open country atmosphere.
The economy of Peterborough is based largely on retail and small industries. The city is the regional centre for education and health services.
The City of Peterborough is situated in south central Ontario, in the heart of Kawartha Lakes tourist area. Located on the Otonabee River, Peterborough is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Peterborough is approximately 110 km northeast of Toronto, on Highways #7 and #28.
The population of Peterborough numbers approximately 74,898.