Kawartha Lakes, Ont, incorporated as a city in 2001, population 73 214 (2011c), 74 561 (2006c). The City of Kawartha Lakes is located almost immediately west and north of PETERBOROUGH. Kawartha Lakes was created in 2001 by the amalgamation of all the municipalities in the former county of Victoria, including LINDSAY, Bobcaygeon, Verulam, Fenelon Falls, Omemee, Sturgeon Point, Woodville and 10 townships. The name is taken from the name given to a group of lakes in the area, the KAWARTHA LAKES, and was applied to these lakes in 1895.
From the 1700s on the area was home to the Mississauga, and significant archaeological sites attest to its importance to several other native groups. In 1818 the government of Upper Canada purchased land from the Mississauga, and Scottish and Irish settlers arrived soon after. These settlers relied primarily on lumbering and agriculture, but the recreational potential of the area's lakes and rivers was also quickly recognized. Both Susanna MOODIE and Catherine Parr TRAILL described using different area lakes for picnics and excursions, and British army officers stationed at COBOURG and other nearby towns organized hunting and fishing parties to the Kawartha Lakes. Later in the 19th century, a large tourism industry based on railway excursions, steamboats, resort hotels and camping had grown up. More recently, this has become one of the main cottage areas in Ontario.
Today the economy in Kawartha Lakes reflects the mixture of urban and rural communities that amalgamated in 2001. Dairy, cattle and mixed farms are common, especially in the southern portion of the city. A number of manufacturing companies operate in Kawartha Lakes as well, many located in Lindsay. In the northern portion of the city, tourism and recreation dominate. The historic TRENT-SEVERN WATERWAY, parts of which date from the 1830s, also runs through the area.