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Peterborough County is located in Southern Ontario, Canada. The county seat is Peterborough, which is independent of the county.
The southern section of the county is mix of agriculture, urban and lakefront properties. The northern section of the county is mostly sparsely populated wilderness with numerous rivers and lakes, mostly within the recently expanded Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park.
The County contains the Lang Pioneer Village, and the Kawarthas are a major tourist region.
The county consists of eight townships:
Within the Peterborough census division but independent of county administration are two First Nations reserves:
The City of Peterborough is within the Peterborough County census division, but is separated from the county's administration.
The county was founded as the District of Colborne in 1838, centred on Peterborough, which became the County of Peterborough in 1850. In 1862, the County was redivided into Haliburton County, Peterborough County, and Victoria County (now the City of Kawartha Lakes). The centre of the County was originally the courthouse, which is still considered an important historical site.
The county was named in honor of Col. Peter Robinson, who in 1825 brought 2,000 settlers from Ireland. The route taken was by way of Port Hope, Rice Lake and the Otonabee River, the same route used by the first settlers that entered this region in 1818.
The county was originally divided in these townships:
- Asphodel Township, Area, 37,871 acres (59.2 sq mi; 153.3 km2) Opened in 1821 and named after the Greek word for lily.
- Belmont and Methuen Townships, Area 81,088 acres (127 sq mi; 328 km2), Opened in 1823 but by 1842 had only 33 householders, in 1866 only 185. Townships were mainly rock, lake and stream.
- Burleigh and Anstruther Townships, Taxable area, 32,160 acres (50 sq mi; 130 km2). First settled in 1861. First Post Office was called Burleigh. Separated from Dummer Township in 1865.
- Chandos Township, area 56,225 acres (88 sq mi; 228 km2). Opened n 1862 and named from one of the title of the Duke of Buckingham (Grenville Family)
- Douro Township, area 34,446 acres (54 sq mi; 139 km2). Opened in 1821 and named in honor of one of the battles in the Peninsula.
- Dummer Township. Area 68,812 acres (108 sq mi; 278 km2). Opened in 1821 and named in honor of William Dummer Powell, Chief Justice of Upper Canada. A Colony of immigrants came in 1831, of whom 150 were sent out by the Marquis of Bath.
- Ennismore Township. Area 17,245 acres (27 sq mi; 70 km2). Opened in 1829 and named in honor of William Hare, Viscount Ennismore, M.P. For Cork who died in 1827. Originally it was called Emily Gore.
- Galway and Cavendish Townships, Assessed Area 57,218 acres (89 sq mi; 232 km2). Opened in 1857 and 1862 respectively.
- Harvey Township. Area 68,755 acres (107 sq mi; 278 km2). Opened in 1821 and named after Sir John Harvey, Deputy Adjutant General in Canada during the War of 1812. Was part of Smith township until 1866. First settler were retired officers who come in 1832, but did not succeed.
- North Monaghan. Area 14,096 acres (22 sq mi; 57 km2). Opened 1820.
- Otonabee Township Area 64,024 acres (100 sq mi; 259 km2). Opened in 1820 and named from the River. The word in Indian signifies a delta.
- Smith Township Area 58,043 acres (90.7 sq mi; 234.9 km2). Settled in October 1819 by Allen Otty.
The figures below are for the Peterborough census division, which combines Peterborough County, the City of Peterborough and the two First Nations reserves.
The county is projected to reach a population of 159,840 by 2031, according to the Ontario Ministry of Finance's Ontario Population Projections Update
- Population in 2001: 125,856
- Population in 1996: 123,448
The City of Peterborough makes up the majority of the population of the census division. Statistics for Peterborough County—without Peterborough and the First Nations reserves—are:
- Land area: 3,769.29 square kilometres (1,455.33 sq mi)
- Population (2011): 54,870
- Density: 14.6 per square kilometre (38/sq mi)