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Ashburnham Afoot

image of Hunter Street Bridge Mural. Colourful background with "Nogojiwanong" written in the middle
Hunter Street Bridge Mural Project Nogojiwanong Art

Peterborough is home to a number of interesting neighbourhoods and Ashburnham is certainly one of them! While many tend to stick to the downtown core during their visit, this walking tour is fantastic for those looking to see another side of the city – literally. Cross the Otonabee River and see what you’ll find in Ashburnham, fondly referred to as East City!

Walking Tour Written By:

Lindsay Davies – I’ve Been Bit Travel Blog

Similar to the Downtown Peterborough walking tour, this route begins by Millennium Park. There is some street parking in the area but as this is a bit of a longer route, you may want to park at Peterborough Square or in the King Street parkade. For more parking suggestions, take a look at the downtown parking map here. Once you’re all set, strap on your walking shoes and let’s get exploring!

Follow the trail through Millennium Park or take Water Street until you reach Hunter Street East. Cross the bridge and then take the stairs down to access beneath the bridge. * Here you’ll find some gorgeous murals, including the “Nogojiwanong” mural and the original name for this area. Meaning “the end of the rapids” in Ojibway, it’s one of the ways the city acknowledges the Indigenous history of these lands.

*In the winter months, the stairs are closed for safety reasons, but you can still access beneath the bridge by taking Burnham Street and Steve Terry Way

Once you’re done admiring the murals, pop back onto Hunter Street and keep heading east. There are a number of fantastic little spots in this area to indulge in. East City Coffee Shop has fantastic breakfasts to kickstart your day in the right way. Hard Winter Bakery produces some delicious sourdough bread and pastries that are all baked in-house daily. If you’re looking for something a little heartier, Ashburnham Ale House has a variety of eats including sandwiches, pizza and more. Plus, they always have a stellar craft beer list! You’ll also want to stop by Black’s Distillery. Just down the road from the ale house, stop in for a sampling and hear about their connection to Red Fife Wheat, Canada’s oldest and most cherished heritage grain!

Along Hunter Street East, you’ll see an access point for the Rotary Greenway Trail. Hop on it as you make your way back towards the shores of the Otonabee River. As you walk north, you’ll pass by the old Mattress Factory which is now a designated historical building. What began as a textile mill that was located at the eastern end of the Hunter Street Bridge became a factory for mattresses, springs and upholstery when purchased by Jim Ellis in 1914. Continue along the trail to Rotary Park where you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the Otonabee River. This is a great spot to take a break and soak up that natural beauty around you before continuing on your tour of Ashburnham.

Follow the trails of Rotary Park that turns into Nicholls Oval Park, to Parkhill Road and head east, turning right onto Armour Road. This will take you to Rube Brady Memorial Park and Ashburnham Memorial Park where you’ll find the Peterborough Museum and Archives. With over 45,000 artifacts in their permanent collection, this is the place to go to learn about how Peterborough became the city it is today! Continue south to reconnect with Hunter Street East and one of the most iconic sites in the city.

Trent-Severn Waterway’s Lock 21 is a marvel of engineering as you witness the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock. The structure itself is massive, but you’ll really be in awe if you catch a boat utilizing the lock. Watch as it’s raised 65 feet in less than five minutes and remember that gravity alone does all the work – it’s absolutely mind-boggling. No wonder it’s designated a National Historic Site in Canada!

Once you’re done admiring this stunning piece of architecture, follow the trail south along the waterway and turn right onto Maria Street. Following it will lead you to the Trans-Canada Trail as you cross the Rail Bridge to connect back to downtown Peterborough. Voila, you have now completed your adventure around Ashburnham! We hope you enjoyed seeing a new side to Peterborough and found some fantastic gems along the way.

Put Your Feet Up!

After a long day of walking, why not put your feet up and relax for the night at one of our hotels.