Cobourg (2006 population 18,210) is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario, located 110km east of Toronto. It is the largest town in Northumberland County. Its nearest neighbour is Port Hope, to the west. It is located along Highway 401 (exits 472 and 474) and the former Highway 2 (now Northumberland County Road 2). To the south Cobourg borders Lake Ontario, while to the north, east and west, it is surrounded by Hamilton Township. Denizens of Cobourg are known as Cobourgers.
The settlements that make up today's Cobourg were founded by United Empire Loyalists
in 1798. Some of the founding fathers and early settlers were Eluid Nickerson, Joseph Ash, Zacheus Burnham
and Asa Burnham. The Town was originally a group of smaller villages such as Amherst and Hardscrabble, which were later named Hamilton. In 1808 it became the district town for the Newcastle District
. It was renamed Cobourg in 1818, in recognition of the marriage of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales
to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg
(who would later become King of Belgium
By the 1830s Cobourg had become a regional centre, much due to its fine harbour on Lake Ontario. In 1835 the Upper Canada Academy was established in Cobourg by Egerton Ryerson and the Wesleyan Conference of Bishops. On July 1, 1837, Cobourg was officially incorporated as a town. In 1841 the Upper Canada Academy's name was changed to Victoria College. In 1842 Victoria College was granted powers to confer degrees. Victoria College remained in Cobourg until 1892, when it was moved to Toronto and federated with the University of Toronto. In 1842, John Strachan founded the Diocesan Theological Institute in Cobourg, an Anglican seminary that became integrated into the University of Trinity College in Toronto in 1852.
Standing at the heart of the downtown is Victoria Hall, a building that now serves as the town hall, as well as home of the Art Gallery of Northumberland, the Cobourg Concert Hall, and an Old Bailey-style courtroom. Victoria Hall was designed by architect Kivas Tully. The landmark is known for its impressive stone work. Charles T. Thomas, a master stone carver from Wales, executed the fine stone carvings. Victoria Hall was officially opened in 1860 by the Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VII of the United Kingdom, King Edward VII. At that time, Cobourg was a significant town in the Province of Canada, and some townspeople felt that Cobourg would be a suitable capital for the newly united provinces; this privilege went to Ottawa, Ontario, however.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, wealthy Americans built enormous summer homes there, many of which still stand today. A major ferry service connected Cobourg and Rochester, New York from 1907 to 1952, transporting passengers and cargo across Lake Ontario, allowing Americans to reach the town more readily. After World War II and the advent of improved transportation technology, this economic link decreased in importance.
On December 20, 1951 Cobourg experienced media attention as a C-46 Curtis Commando crash landed in local farmer Charles Wilson's field. 1 2
Cobourg was the site of No. 26 Ordnance Depot, later Canadian Forces Station Cobourg, from 1953 to 1971.
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, the town invested heavily in purchasing property along the waterfront and beautifying the area. The harbour and large sandy beach are now connected by a boardwalk and pathways that stretch through Victoria Park and into the downtown. Many community activities developed in conjunction with the revitalization of the waterfront lands. One of the major events that grew out of Cobourg's focus on the lake front was the Waterfront Festival.
Cobourg retains its small-town atmosphere, in part due to the downtown and surrounding residential area's status as a Heritage Conservation District. The downtown is a well-preserved example of a traditional small-town main street. The Cobourg Waterfront Festival is an annual arts and crafts event occurring on Canada Day. It began in 1987 as a part of the town's sesquicentennial celebrations, and was conceived by the Art Gallery of Northumberland's former Director/Curator Peter Tulumello and former Concert Hall Manager Mark Finnan. In addition to three high schools (Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East (CDCI EAST), CDCI West and St. Mary's Secondary School), Cobourg is home to a satellite campus of Fleming College
. Food processing
is the largest industry in Cobourg, and it is home to operations of companies like Kraft
, SABIC Innovative Plastics
. The Cobourg Cougars
play in the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League
and Northumberland County Road 2 (formerly Highway 2
) pass through town. County Road 45 (formerly Highway 45
) begins in Cobourg and heads north-east to Norwood
The Canadian Pacific and Canadian National main railway lines (Toronto – Ottawa/Montreal) traverse the town. VIA Rail offers passenger service to Cobourg railway station with multiple daily departures on the Toronto – Ottawa/Montreal route.
Cobourg Transit is a fully accessible community transit system that provides daily bus service to the town.
Three radio stations are licensed to Cobourg, although two of them primarily target the larger nearby markets of Peterborough
rather than Cobourg itself:
Cobourg has no local television stations.
- Sir Sandford Fleming who helped create and define the idea of time zones
- Marie Dressler, silent film actress
- Paul Kane, frontier artist
- James Cockburn, lawyer and Father of Confederation
- The Honourable John Douglas Armour, Puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Canada
- Charles Arkoll Boulton, militia leader in the Red River Rebellion
- Francis P. Duffy, highly decorated Military Chaplain of the Fighting 69th New York Regiment during WWI
- Rev. John Weir Foote, politician, chaplain, and Victoria Cross recipient
- The Honourable William Renwick Riddell, Justice of the High Court of Ontario from 1906, and of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1917. Writer and advocate of early Canadian History
- Justin Williams, NHL hockey player
- Ed Greenwood, author of the Forgotten Realms setting for Dungeons & Dragons
- Dr. Paavo Airola, artist, nutritionist and author
- Gerald S. Hayward, famous painter Port Hope Miniaturist Painter?
- Alice Wilson, first female geologist in Canada and first woman to become a member of the Royal Society of Canada
- Arthur Magill, Mr. Magill was presented with the Coronation Medal in 1953, the Canada Centennial Medal in 1967, and the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Book of Fame Award in 1973. In 1976, CNIB established the Arthur Napier Magill Distinguished Service Award as a tribute to him.
- David A. Lloyd, filmmaker and author of Green Eyed Burn
- Age 0-14: 18.1%
- Age 15-24: 11.9%
- Age 25-44: 24.7%
- Age 45-64: 24.2%
- Age 65-74: 10.8%
- Age 75+: 10.3%
Religious Make Up
- 56.1% Protestant
- 23.9% Catholic
- 2.2% other Christian
- 0.7% other religions
- 17.1% non-professing
- Median Household Income: $470,046
- Average Residential Housing Cost: $924,900
- Average Gross Rent: $1687.14