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author: Tom Cruickshank    illustration: Marc Mireault

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Test your knowledge of local geography and other trivia related to our favourite corner of the countryside.

True or False: Port Hope wasn’t always part of Northumberland County.

Officially True – When Ontario was carved up into counties in the mid-1800s, Port Hope and adjacent Hope Township were actually part of Durham, which also included Bowmanville and surrounding rural areas. Officially, Durham never stood on its own but was united with Northumberland next door, with Cobourg as the County seat. When regional government was instituted in 1974, the new Durham Region included all of the old Durham County as well as Pickering, Oshawa and Whitby. Alarmed that they would lose their rural voice among the burgeoning suburbs, Port Hope and Hope chose to become part of Northumberland.

True or False: Rice Lake is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario.

False – Covering about 100 square kilometres, Rice Lake is definitely the largest lake in the Kawarthas, but it is much smaller than Lake Simcoe, which spreads over 744 square kilometres.

True or False: Of the three largest urban areas in Watershed country, Belleville has the highest percentage of people 65 and over.

False – The honour actually goes to Cobourg, whose seniors account for 26.4 percent of the current population (by the 2011 census). In Port Hope, the number is 20 percent; in Belleville, it’s 18 percent.

True or False: Prince Edward is the only island county in Ontario.

Technically False, on several fronts – For one, Prince Edward has a land boundary – albeit only a couple of kilometres long – with neighbouring Northumberland, so it is technically not an island. Nor is it a county any more, except in name. (In official bureaucratic-speak, it actually functions as a city). And then there’s Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, which is twice the size of Prince Edward. It might be considered the only county in the province except for the fact that it isn’t a county either, but a “district” (another legal definition). Moreover, its jurisdiction spreads onto the mainland. So much quibbling, you say? You decide.

First Words


The fall brings back memories of duck hunting with my brothers when i was a kid. I was a tag-along but as long as I didn’t complain and I could distinguish between a blue-winged teal whistling into our blind and the silhouette… read more


I’m writing on behalf of the entire Wellington Water Week team to thank Watershed magazine for the gorgeous piece in the current Summer issue, created by Micol Marotti and Tim Zeltner. We were literally…



19th yr



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hairline wide 865x8CONTRIBUTORS
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shelagh armstrong

sheilagh armstrongA graduate of the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design…

david newland

david newland

A writer, speaker, and musician based in Cobourg, David travels widely…

janet davies

janet daviesAfter a move from England to Toronto in 1993, Jan stayed there only until she discovered…