By 1817-18 more settlers began to arrive, many of them half-pay officers and retired North West Co traders. By the 1830s Cobourg emerged as an important regional centre possessing a fine harbour and a populated hinterland. It received a further boost (1842) when Victoria College, established in 1835 by the Wesleyan Conference, was granted powers to confer degrees; the college remained in Cobourg until 1892. Meanwhile, civic leaders hired a prominent architect, Kivas TULLY, to design an ornate town hall. Victoria Hall, completed 1860, survives as one of the most magnificent mid-Victorian structures in Ontario; a courtroom is a replica of London's Old Bailey.
In the 1850s, Cobourg citizens also financed construction of the Cobourg and Peterborough Ry, an ambitious enterprise designed to "capture" the hinterland. But the railway proved a failure, partly because of a tenuous bridge across Rice Lk, almost bankrupting the town in the 1860s. By the 1870s, however, wealthy Pittsburgh steel barons became interested in the railway and Marmora iron mines, which they later bought. Up to the stock market crash wealthy Americans built palatial summer homes in the area, making Cobourg one of the most fashionable summer colonies in the continent. After 1870, population showed little growth until after WWII. Today, it contains over 60 industrial firms (particularly plastics and food processing manufacturers) and is also a tourist centre.
Author J. PETRYSHYN
Links to Other Sites
Cobourg Public Library
Online access to local library and community resources.
Information about the history of Cobourg, Ontario. Features photos, stories about noteworthy personalities, and articles about local architecture.
Harwood Station Museum
The Harwood Station Museum website offers historical details about the operation of Cobourg and Peterborough Railway in Ontario. Features several archival images of old railway structures and equipment, and more.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.