Cobourg Ontario Visited

The Gem of Lake Ontario


by Gary McWilliams (Festival Nomad)

The following is an excerpt from the Cobourg Tourism website – The beauty of Cobourg is location, location, location.

Within a short walk of the beach and Victoria Park, you can visit Cobourg’s heritage downtown, shops and restaurants, all without a car, making this an eco-friendly destination.

It’s like a resort-style setting right here in friendly, small-town Ontario.

“The following description of Cobourg is base on our many visits to the town.”

Fortunately Cobourg was Judi’s and my hometown.

It is located on Lake Ontario between Toronto and Kingston.

We have lived worked here for 20 years and love the area. Cobourg’s closest neighbour is Port Hope.

While there is much rivalry between the two towns, they really compliment one another. Both are tourist oriented, but in different ways. Port Hope is a town of antique shops, historic buildings and Bed and Breakfasts. They cater to an “older crowd”.

Cobourg on the other hand seems to be more upbeat and caters to a “younger crowd”. Its beautiful sandy beach is one of the best on Lake Ontario.

Its harbour attracts boaters from both Canada and the USA and its unique downtown waterfront RV Park offers both long term and short term campers first class camping facilities! Cobourg attracts all those who love the water and want to enjoy its many pleasures!

Judi and I enjoy walking along Cobourg’s waterfront trail most mornings. There is always something different to see and hear! At one time Cobourg hoped to become the capital of Canada.

They even built a magnificent edifice, Victoria Hall, for that purpose, but it was not to be. Cobourg prospered, however and today it is the hub of Northumberland County. The county has its newly built offices here. There is a new first class regional hospital close by.

A regional shopping mall just celebrated its 20th anniversary and the local Wal-Mart just expanded. Cobourg also offers its residents and visitors plenty of activities.

It is the home of several well attended festivals, such as the Cobourg Waterfront Festival (ten’s of thousands visit this event each year),

the Cobourg Highland Games,

the Cobourg Winter Festival,

the Northumberland Ribfest

and the fun and sun filled Cobourg Sandcastle Festival.

It is also the home of many sporting events. On most summer weekends you will find some sort of tournament, softball, soccer and beach volleyball to name a few!

There is even a new community centre, completed in 2011. Cobourg is an great place to live and to visit! Visit the Town of Cobourg website at

Cobourg Community Centre Grand Opening

Kevin Stuart

by Kevin Stuart (Senior Festival Correspondent)

The Cobourg Community Centre began as a massive project with funding from all three levels of government, heralding a brand new era for Cobourg and area. It’s a multi-use building boasting two ice pads, including one of NHL-size, 4 multi-purpose rooms, and concert seating for up to 3,500. Naturally, with all this build up, one might risk having too high expectations not to be let down somewhat. After having C’n it firsthand (their visual marketing incorporates C’s wherever opportune), I can say with complete sincerity that it is most impressive, particularly for a community of this size.

The Centre’s appearance from the outside may not appear overly imposing but, form the moment you cross the main entranceway, there is an ambience of “larger than life”. That is not to say it is overwhelming but rather an unspoken welcome – “Come in, there’s room for everyone”. The Grand Hall provides a view to the first of the two ice rinks, this one called “The Pond”. There is also a lounge area in which to watch the action on the ice , waiting to meet someone or to just people-watch for a while.

Walk just a bit further and you’re at the ticket and information desk. Where you go next depends on where you’re headed. To one side you can walk the hall lined with meeting rooms and Bea’s Place child minding room. Nearby is the big gym, capable of holding major sporting or entertainment events.

Back down the hall and to the other side of the main area, we found “The Bowl”, the home of the Cobourg Cougars Junior A hockey team. The six-sided digital scoreboard grabbed my attention almost immediately and I began to envision what possible shows of all kinds may now include Cobourg on their tour itineraries. One need not dress for arctic conditions either as the floor is heated by a system that continually recycles heat and cool year round, making it a very “green” building.

I next walked and looked at the giant fish mobile suspended from the ceiling. Creator Alice Vander Vennen enlisted others in the community to help with the design which is intended to evoke some energy in the atmosphere, according to her.

Energetic would certainly describe the amount of activity in the building, not just from visitors, but from those already using the facility for many pre-booked events. The planners and builders are rightfully proud of the fact that the Centre was completed on time and within budget. What do you know, it can be done!

Back down the stairs and into the big hall once more there is access to the kids’ activity room as well as the seniors’ centre. By the way, accessibility was given key consideration in the design of the Cobourg Community Centre. Elevators and interconnecting walkways were all designed to easily move from one area to another for people of all levels of physical capability.

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