Your Thoughts: Peterborough as the Land of the Retiree

This Globe and Mail/Census video portrays Peterborough as a welcoming, wonderful place for retirees, but a tough place for “the younger people.”

Senior citizens make their way down the a main street in Peterborough, Ontario on Monday May 7, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

“We have been called ‘Geriatric City,'” says Alan Wilson, 82.

“There are so many seniors in Peterborough,” adds Iabell Graham, 88.  “Pretty soon there won’t be any young ones.  They all leave!”

According to Trent Professor, Jim Struthers, Peterborough is slightly ahead of many urban centres when it comes to experiencing the impact of an aging population.  “We are where the rest of Canada is soon going to be,” he explains.

According to Struthers, the area’s high unemployment rates make it difficult to recruit and retain young workers.

What are your thoughts on the article/video?  Are we “Geriatric City?”  Is Peterborough a tough draw for young people?  What does this say about sustainable/diverse economic development in the area?  Does any of this affect you?  And, if we are “Geriatric City,” how do we make Peterborough a more welcoming place for young people?

I’d love to hear your take on it all.

EDIT: You can follow the Twitter discussion on this story (as I update it) on this Storify page.

Also, you can find Facebook comments on the story by clicking here.

10 thoughts on “Your Thoughts: Peterborough as the Land of the Retiree

  1. chantal says:

    OMG. I wish I hadn’t seen that this morning, though it’s ironic considering my own blog post, Letter to Mr. Flaherty… (ha!)

    I think it’s indicative of the trend, as one said — we’re seeing it in all of Canada but Peterborough is on the leading edge… And in terms of business, it is a self fullfilling prophecy because more seniors will attract senior related businesses (health care etc) but not much else.

    I need to think about this some more but I know there is a blog post in here somewhere…

  2. I love Peterborough. Moved here from Toronto in 2002. Look at the stats.. We peek at 17 and 42. our average age is 42.. not 199. 🙂
    People start coming back with young families, it’s the place to hatch your little ones, stay if you can, & then come back to. I moved here at 40.. people, place, food, culture, nature, trails, business, music, community .. did I say people.
    Here is a video on what Peterborough has to offer and why business people move here.
    I’m certainly not retiring any time soon!
    Thanks for listening.

  3. Donald Fraser says:

    Could you supply a link, Chantal?

  4. Donald Fraser says:

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    I think i’ll edit the post to ask what we can do to make Peterborough a more welcoming place for young people.

  5. Helping the youth stay here.. or getting new youth to stay here.. one thought, we have both a wonderful University and College.. statistics show that students decide within the FIRST WEEK OF CLASSES (or orientation) if they’d ever like to stay here where they are going to school.. as it’s often the first place they live away from home. So, in their first week, we need to help them fall in love with Peterborough, have them routed for jobs and help them make a difference here. Just one thought.
    Why I fell in love with Peterborough was the spirit and support to starting and running your own company, vs working for someone else. Being your own boss. Living close enough to the GTA, York,Durham to have clients here and there, it’s wonderful freeing..
    I lived in the York, Etobicoke, Downtown Toronto, and Beaches, houses which you could by here in Peterborough for just $150k are at least $750k. I couldn’t afford to start up my company and live anywhere but in Peterborough.
    About being a senior, I don’t have that experience yet, our average age here is just two years older then Ontario’s average, we’re at 42 of average age. It’s great to hear that we have great senior support.
    Saying that, I do wish we had more jobs here, our problem is we are kind of by our selves, in comparison to an Oshawa where you have all of Durham around you, or in Oakville you have… Our blessing is we aren’t over populated, or curse for local jobs is that we aren’t over populated.. we are on our own for local jobs, coming up with a service you can offer to locally and to the GTA from PTBO is heaven.

  6. I have lived in Peterborough for almost 10 years now. I am 30 years old, have a job, and do a few things on the side. My response to this video is one of disappointment towards the Globe and Mail for only interviewing those who are older. Yes, we do have a high unemployment rate, but we also have a young creative class that is forging its way forward despite the statistics. From owning our own businesses, working with NGO’s, maintaining contact on Twitter throughout the day, and enjoying our bicycles and great restaurants, Peterborough has a lot to offer young people. The catch statement is that it is tough to find work, but once you do, Peterborough can be a great place to live. Consider the fact that I can buy a home here on my salary but would never be able to do that in Toronto.

  7. Ann Jaeger says:

    Since we’re living longer a senior today is more akin to middle-aged; the word “senior” has a lot of negative connotations. I object to the characterization that they only consume health care! Quality of life is important to many baby-boomers who are often travelled and well-educated – they enjoy eating out, continuing education, eco-tourism, staying in shape via biking and walking and cultural experiences. Is this really different than what the younger generation wants?

    However, to see a better mix of old and young in this town, here’s what I would like to see:
    1. Many people I know stay here after attending Trent – encourage Trent to be a more active presence in the community
    2. Better public transportation in town and to Toronto
    3. Destroy seniors centres! Cross-generational housing and activity centres are the way to go.
    4. Keep building an exciting, liveable, dynamic downtown
    5. Develop cutting edge primary and secondary education
    6. Extensive support for small, innovative and sustainable business and the arts community are the key to creating the kind of jobs that will attract and keep young people here.

  8. Sue McGregor-Hunter says:

    (I will put up an edited comment from your Facebook status) It is not surprising to me that retirees are moving here – it is cheaper than the city and, if one had a cottage in the Kawarthas, familiar. Perhaps proof of the trend is that developers are building condos that are less expensive than the house sold in the city but a little rich for local retirees ($400,000+). However, I think the article must be put in context, because I have read articles about retirees also “flocking” to Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Prince Edward County, Port Hope/Cobourg etc. All locations are outside the large urban area and have desirable amenities such as lakes, trails, nature, slower pace of life, cheaper living, theaters/galleries/studio tours, and medical facilities. Yet they are all close enough to get back to the city within a 1+ hr drive (bonus for Ptbo – it is located on 4+ lane hwys) I think the article is bit of the flavour of the day type of thing re “the first of the baby boom is retiring and fanning out across the province, let’s highlight one area”.

  9. Jack Braithwaite says:

    This is why we can’t have cross-generational housing Ann. In what world would it be safe for seniors who may have health problems be living in the same spaces with younger and oftentimes stronger people who can easily inflict serious physical harm on more vulnerable persons?

  10. Jake says:

    I’ve lived here my entire life and I do agree with the article that Peterborough is more of a retirement community. The stats don’t lie. But having said that, it’s not like there aren’t young people here.

    I think because of the fact that we have Trent/Sir Sandford we’ll always have at least a decent amount of college age students around the city, even though the ratio of young to old might be a bit lower than most cities.

    I think the only thing that would really draw younger people to this city is employment opportunities, which are still few and far between and why we are seeing a lot of younger people moving out west or to the GTA.

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