Peterborough Modern: A Guide to the Architecture of the 1950s, ’60s and 70s in Peterborough, Ontario

This introductory guide for residents and visitors identifies about thirty buildings, and includes both well-known and lesser known examples. The guide is designed to bring further awareness and appreciation of the architecture of the modern era in Peterborough.

Peterborough is a place of pilgrimage for enthusiasts of modern architecture, with Trent University as the primary destination. In fact, in 2005 a group of ninety architects, historians, planners, and academics from across the country met in Peterborough for Canada’s first national conference on the conservation of buildings and sites of the modern era. “Conserving the Modern in Canada” focused on buildings constructed between 1945 and 1975. This guide arose from that initiative.

The Modern Movement in Architecture

The ‘Modern Movement’ originated in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.  It promoted a complete break from the past and an optimistic belief that technology was the key to a better future. In Canada, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that architects found opportunities to embrace the Modern Movement. It was a period of economic prosperity, immigration, and urban expansion. There were new homes, schools, places of worship, shopping centres, and recreation facilities built. Peterborough, like many communities in Canada, was radically transformed…


Trent University