The Insider Blog
Every destination has it’s iconic and time-honoured “must see and do” experiences that exemplify what a place is all about…this blog isn’t about those things.
The Peterborough & the Kawarthas Insider blog is written by locals and folks with connections to the area who have a genuine love for this place and are eager to spill the beans about the fresh, natural and inspiring experiences you probably didn’t know about.
Meet the Insiders
Kevin Wagar is an award-winning travel writer and photographer with a passion for exploring the world with his family. Kevin was born and raised in Peterborough before setting out on a life of adventure that has taken him through 45 countries across five continents. Throughout his travels, he has always been drawn back home to the Kawarthas. On his journeys around the world, he has chronicled his experiences on his website, Wandering Wagars – Adventure Family Travel and is also one of the founders of Ultimate Ontario, a digital publication focused on showcasing the very best of his home province.
Always in search of a new adventure, Canadian travel writer Tim Johnson has visited 145 countries on all seven continents, contributing articles to some of North America’s most influential publications, including The Globe and Mail, CNN Travel, National Geographic, Bloomberg, the Toronto Star, AFAR, The New Yorker and many others. While he’s wont to roam, he was born and raised in Peterborough, and always loves to return home and explore familiar, but much-loved territory in the Kawarthas.
His formative years found him with a guitar on his lap and a darkroom in the basement. Michael Hurcomb, named in Canada’s Top 20 music photographers – (NXNE Festival), has forged his way into the industry by fusing his passion and first hand knowledge of the underbelly of rock ‘n roll with his life long love of the still photograph. Only this marriage of influences could teach the artistry of taking the multi-sensory experience of a stadium concert and capturing it’s very essence in only two dimensions. Whether shooting concerts, celebrity portraits, fashion or commercial work Michael keeps his lens focused not only on framing moments but stealthily edging between these moments, flexing his impeccable sense of timing and his eye for a most unusual beauty. Michael has successfully incorporated film into his portfolio, shooting, directing and producing segments for Gibson Guitars, Corbis Motion & Trent University, music videos and documentaries for Martin Sexton and Ladies of The Canyon, and four seasons of the web based music series “Bandwagon”. He’s currently directing and producing “The Radius Project”, a documentary about the wealth of musical talent that came from the Peterborough area.
Kieran has been a leader in the Peterborough business community for over 25 years. With a passionate belief that business should build community he and his partner have used Wild Rock Outfitters as a conduit to enrich Peterborough’s outdoor community, clubs and culture. A passionate cyclist, Kieran has explored and mapped every corner of Peterborough County. Pavement, gravel backroads and the tiniest road allowances all get the thumbs up when Kieran is leading a ride. Often a resource for visiting riders as well as local policy-makers Kieran spearheaded the creation of both a local cycling map and the Peterborough and the Kawartha Classics.
Although the proud founder of the now 500 member Peterborough Cycling Club Kieran also finds calls for his expertise and experience from farther afield. Since 2017 Kieran has been a member of the Shimano Gravel Alliance helping to bring his years of gravel cycling experience to both the creation of better gravel cycling equipment as well as encouraging riders to explore more than ever before. Working part of each year as a cycling guide in Europe Kieran has a special appreciation for coming home. “Watching the seasons unfold as I ride the quiet, rolling roads of Peterborough and the Kawarthas never gets old”, says Kieran.
Briagh & Bretton
Since our return from Chile to the Kawarthas in 2012 we have cofounded The Land Canadian Adventures, won the Bears’ Lair Entrepreneurial competition, been married and had our first child- the incomparably adorable Lily Maeve. We do love an adventure! Our small business specializes in all-inclusive, four-seasons, day excursions, overnight trips and outdoor team building in the Kawarthas’ most beautiful locations. Canoeing when the water is open and trekking by snow shoe during the winter months. Working with international students teaching English as a Second language both abroad and in Canada has allowed us to learn so much about the cultures, languages and philosophies from all over our planet, and Bretton continues to learn and work as a teacher in Trent University’s International Program. We are committed to sharing what we love most about living in Peterborough & the Kawarthas as a young family with people from around the world or around the corner.
Kevin Callan is the author of fifteen books, including the best selling “The Happy Camper”, and the incredibly popular series of paddling guides. On a regular basis, he presents across North America and the U.K. and has been a key speaker at all the major outdoor events for over 25 years.Callan is also a frequent guest on radio and television and a regular contributor and columnist for Explore and CanoeRoots Magazine. He is a winner of several National Magazine Awards and film awards and was just listed one of the top 100 modern day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.
Jay & Jennifer
Jay Nutt is the former owner and long-time Chef of Nuttshell Next Door Café in Lakefield, Ontario. A graduate of NAIT’s Culinary Arts program, he has worked and traveled across the country with stops at Jasper Park Lodge, Toronto’s King Edward Hotel, and the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown. Professional Home Economist Jennifer MacKenzie is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, tester and editor, and media spokesperson. Jennifer is the author of six cookbooks, and writes regularly for websites and publications such as the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine. Jennifer has tested and recipe-edited over one hundred cookbooks on every subject from soup to coconut. Jennifer and Jay live on a little piece of Kawartha waterfront in Buckhorn, Ontario with their dogs, Diva and Benny.
“The best way to connect with locals and tap into the ‘real flavour’ of a destination is to ask where you can get a hair cut, buy shoe laces, get a good coffee outside city centre or what’s the shortest route to the bus depot. If none of those work, simply ask where you can buy an adaptor for your mobile phone. Trust me, you’ll be sent in every direction under the sun – and isn’t that the best way of discovering a place?” O’Neill, originally from a small Ontario hamlet called Phelpston (“it boasted a population of 139 when I left town after high school”) but now based in Toronto, also appreciates the benefit of having local connections. “If I catch wind that the second cousin of my neighbour’s daughter’s mechanic lives in a place, I’m on the phone the minute I arrive,” says O’Neill, who discovered (much to his surprise) that he had various connections to Peterborough & Kawarthas which he’s been using to get the inside scoop on our region. “My cousin ended up working in Peterborough for a while, my best friend went to Fleming College in Peterborough and ended up buying a house there, and one of my hiking pals is close friends with the owner of a local Peterborough cafe… Trust me, those connections are better than any guide book!”
Ann Douglas moved to Peterborough when she was five months pregnant with her first child. That was 27 years ago. Since that time, Ann has raised four children with her husband and high school sweetheart and established herself as Canada’s most trusted pregnancy and parenting book author. Expect Ann’s trademark mix of humour and no-nonsense advice in her must-read contributions to our blog.
Before relocating to Peterborough & the Kawarthas Andrew was an investment banker working in the heart of Canada’s financial district. These days instead of navigating the concrete jungle of Toronto, Andrew can now be found navigating the 134+ lakes that are found in the Kawartha region; plying these waters for bass, walleye and the occasional muskie. He can also be found competing in numerous fishing tournaments in Ontario and the United States. He is a writer, photographer, blogger and host of CHEX TV’s Casting With Kids. Professional memberships include OFAH, BASS, FMZ 17 Advisory Council, and president of the CBAF Lindsay Club. You can follow his fishing successes and failures on facebook and twitter.
Most Recent Insider Article
A Weekend Of Family Fun in Peterborough
Insider Kevin Wagar experiences an excitement filled weekend away with his family with this Peterborough & the Kawarthas itinerary
Browse all Insider’s articles
48 hours in Peterborough and the Kawarthas – Weekend Feature
A diverse city packed with green spaces and good eats, surrounded by hundreds of lakes and rivers and creeks and canals (and villages and marinas and parks), taking a single…
A Day in the Life of a Farmers’ Market Farmer
6:25AM There’s a glimpse of pink through the gray clouds hovering over the dimly lit cornfield. Heavy dew and mist blankets the farm as I drive into the lane of…
A Weekend Of Family Fun in Peterborough
Insider Kevin Wagar experiences an excitement filled weekend away with his family with this Peterborough & the Kawarthas itinerary
Amandalas: Fine dining with the freshest ingredients
Fine dining cuisine in a relaxed environment in a small, tucked-away restaurant in the heart of downtown.
An Insider’s Guide to Motel Living
Ever wonder what it would be like to spend a couple of weeks living in a motel? My family and I had the opportunity to find out for ourselves last summer. We…
Back to the land: Kawarthas is for Nature Lovers
“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before dawn.” I wonder if George Washington Carver, the botanist who’s credited with that quote, would mind if I tweaked…
BBQ & Brews
With warm weather, our thoughts tend to drift to cold beer and barbecued food. Instead of travelling south, head to the Kawarthas where our established and growing craft breweries are…
Black Honey: Barn, bakery, café and secret garden, right downtown
Black Honey 217 Hunter St. West There’s a lot of life sprouting in the heart of the Hunter Street Café District. Right in the middle of downtown Peterborough, you’ll find…
Brothers, can you play me a tune?
“The easiest way to find good live music in Peterborough?” said Ryan. “Just stick your head out your front door and you’ll find it!”
Burleigh Falls Inn: Cascades and local cuisine, on the land between
The beauty of Burleigh Falls is the kind that sneaks up on you.
Cosmic Charlie’s: Dining Around the World in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
You learn a lot, cooking for an international crew in the galley of a cargo ship, riding high on the seven seas for fourteen years—that’s where Mariano Salalila gained his…
Eating Wally – A Guide to Fish Fry in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Fishing for me is about a peaceful time on the water trying to figure out the species of the day. I’d say 95% of the time I practice catch and…
Fantastic Fall Fishing
People often ask me, “When is the best time to go fishing?” and my usual reply is, “Anytime you can!” And I mean it. I can’t remember a time I…
Five Reasons Fall Paddling in the Kawarthas is the Best
As Champagne is to France, Darjeeling is to the Indian Himalaya and Islay single malt is to Scotland, so is canoeing to Peterborough & the Kawarthas. Peterborough is the birthplace…
Four free (or nearly free) family getaways
Looking for ways to stretch your family vacation dollar just a little further? Here’s the scoop on four area day trips that are big on fun, easy on the budget,…
Four Ways to Experience Peterborough & the Kawarthas
From dining at sophisticated sidewalk cafes in the heart of town, to finding the sky after skimming along the surface of a big lake, Peterborough and the Kawarthas offers a…
Hot Tips for Kawartha Ice Fishing
Are you looking for a new outdoor adventure to try this winter? If you like to exercise, sun and fresh air then ice fishing might be right for you. There…
Island Cream Caribbean Cuisine: Dining around the world in Peterborough and the Kawarthas
227 Hunter St. West, Peterborough It’s a place packed with flavour. Located in the extreme southern reaches of the Caribbean, just off the coast of South America, Trinidad is green…
It’s Cold Outside (But that’s not a bad thing)
A few great winter activities for you to try in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
Jasmine Thai: Dining Around the World in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
195 Simcoe St., Peterborough https://www.jasminethai.ca/ The beating heart of any Thai town or city, night markets are the place where people gather—and feast. Under bright lights on poles and strung…
Kawartha Bass Tournaments
There is a bass tournament on a Kawarthan lake every weekend throughout the summer. Some are friendly 6-12 boat local bass club get-togethers, others are high-stakes Pro/Am events with over…
Kawartha Cycling (Two) Daycation
A Kawartha Cycling “daycation” is something special that riders can fit into one day… or two.
La Hacienda: Dining around the world in Peterborough and the Kawarthas
190 Hunter St. West, Peterborough https://www.lahaciendaptbo.com/ Sandra Acriniega never intended to move to Canada, or open a Mexican food restaurant—but that’s exactly what happened. Growing up in Guadalajara, capital…
Margaret Laurence: Exploring her “Divine” Lakefield neighbourhood
The sun blazed down late on a Saturday afternoon in July as a friend and I ambled along Queen Street in Lakefield, Ontario (population: 2,758), in the heart of the…
Only in Peterborough and the Kawarthas
Five completely unique, bucket-list experiences you’ll only find here. Just a short drive from Toronto, when you get to Peterborough and the Kawarthas, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world.…
Paddling Home – An Epic Canoe Trip in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Five days of twenty-two portages, close to fifty kilometres of paddling, and four evenings camped out under the stars.
Paddling Routes in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
Have you ever noticed what happens to the landscape about a half-hour’s drive north of Peterborough, as you pass Buckhorn or Burleigh? The stratified limestone that supports the Saint Lawrence…
Pastry Peddler: Sweet and savoury freshness, on two wheels
Pastry Peddler 17 King St., Millbrook Sitting next to the four corners in charming village of Millbrook, it’s an easy drive to find this café, housed in a graceful historic…
Persian Empire: Dining Around the World in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
636 Queensway Ct., Peterborough https://www.persianempire1.com/ Set in a nondescript, low-slung building in a semi-industrial area, just a couple blocks off the hustle and bustle of Lansdowne Street’s commercial strip, sits…
Publican House: Legendary beer and super-local cuisine
The Publican House 294 Charlotte St. Mention Publican House to most locals, and they’ll think of one thing—beer. Long a legendary pub location, the place now makes some of the…
Red Fife Wheat: a Peterborough discovery in bread baskets across the country
A man named David, a ship in Glasgow, a dropped hat and an ox – what can they all possibly have to do with this sign and Peterborough County? Drive…
Rolling Grape: Big hills and robust flavours, on the family farm
“We always talk about farm to table,” says Jon Drew. “But there’s not many farms where you can actually sit at the table.” But that’s the routine at Rolling Grape…
Shafiq’s Taste of India: Dining Around the World in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
301 George St. South, Peterborough https://shafiqstasteofindia.com/ It’s long been a staple on the steaming streets of Mumbai and Delhi and Dhaka, where a steady and seemingly unending flow of traffic…
Spring into Fishing – Early Season Tips
No bugs, no water-skiers, no pleasure-boats and a pristine lake all to yourself; it is no surprise that fishing insiders know spring is a great time to get out fishing.…
St. Veronus Cafe and Tap Room: Dining Around the World in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
129 Hunter St. West, Peterborough https://www.stveronus.com/ They’re an institution across Belgium—and in particular, the city of Antwerp. Flemish to the core, “brown cafes” (sometimes known as “brown bars”) are a…
The Favourite Greek: Dining Around the World in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
360 George St. North, Peterborough http://www.favouritegreek.com/ Chios is everything you imagine when you picture the Greek Islands. Located in the North Aegean Sea, the colours are profound, the bright blue…
The Happy Camper’s Top 5 Canoe Trips in Kawartha Highlands – for the beginner
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park has an incredible selection of paddle routes available for the beginner – or just someone who just doesn’t like portages.
The Villages of Peterborough County
Get in your car and trace two-lane country roads, winding through a series of the province’s most charming—and surprising—small communities. Road trips provide some of travel’s greatest pleasures, even if…
Twelve minutes yet a million miles away
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is the largest provincial park south of Algonquin. If you enjoy canoe trekking or back country camping you may have already visited to take in the…
Winter Camping in the Kawarthas
In ice we trust, in snow we must, go camp in frozen country. With axe and saw for timber is law, to make our homes more comfy. -Traditional It’s still early…
Winter Road Trip
Google Search has no word for people like me – someone who is the opposite of a ‘Snow Bird.’ I don’t flee winter in search of sun, sand and swim-up…