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Arthur conducts a survey on student life in Peterborough

co- authored by Reba Harrison

Survey Results: Students’ Life in Peterborough

This week, Arthur conducted an online survey entitled “Students’ Life in Peterborough.”

The focus of the survey revolved around getting a better understanding of how Trent students feel about Peterborough outside of the campus community.

We also tried to ask questions that would give us a little insight on whether or not students would be willing to stay in Peterborough after they graduate from Trent if the conditions were right for them.

In a three-day period, Arthur was able to collect responses from Trent students asking questions such as what part of town they live in, if they feel safe where they live, whether they would consider staying in Peterborough after graduation and whether or not they have made use of various food bank programs.

Some of the answers we received were alarming in the “why or why not” sections of these questions.

From students voicing their concern or late night drunken belligerence on their doorstep, to living next door to a known drug house, this survey really paints a picture of what different members of the student body have to deal with every day.

Please find the results of these questions below, along with a few selected written responses where applicable.

Question 1: Do you live in Peterborough?

Peterborough includes Douro (1) and Lakefield (2) – they are not included as ‘commute.’

Yes, all year 47 48.5%
Yes, but not in the summer 48 49.5%
No, I commute to Trent 1 1.1%
Other: Stay some summers 1 1.1%

Question 2: Why did you choose Peterborough?

For Trent University specifically (54)

For Trent University and the town of Peterborough (9)

For the town of Peterborough (7)

It is the participant’s hometown (6)

Others (3) – cheap, green, quaint

Question 3: Where do you currently reside in Peterborough?

I do not live in Peterborough 1 1%
On Trent U campus 6 6.2%
George North / Campus Heights 9 9.3%
London / McDonnel / Park St. area 13 13.4%
Downtown (incl. Parkhill and George) 49 50.5%
East City 6 6.2%
Lansdowne 1 1%
University Heights area 2 2.1%
West End 2 2.1%
Lakefield 2 2.1%
Other (1 each of 6 total)
1% each, 6.1% together
Fleming area, Chemong, Bonaccord, South West End, Armour, Douro

Question 4: Do you feel safe where you live in Peterborough?

Yes 49 50.5%
Somewhat 41 42.3%
No 6 6.2%
N/A 1 1.1%

Question 5: Why or why not?

No, because participants live in an area that they deem safe, often specify that is it away from low-income or downtown areas (21)

Three (3) participants said that there is nothing to be afraid of, however two (2) of the three specified that they are white, able-bodied, cis men.

Three (3) students mentioned that they are on campus; two feel safe on campus while the other does not feel safe within the town of Peterborough, as they are unfamiliar with the areas.

Nine (9) participants mentioned a nervousness to walk alone at night, mentioning dimly lit streets.

Incidents mentioned:

Robberies or break-ins (4)

Violence (6)

Verbal abuse (5)

Drug addicts and drug houses (6)
Crack mentioned specifically (2 of the 6)

Drunken disturbances (7)

Panhandlers (2)

Sex-offenders (1)

Personally attacked (1)

Sexual harassment or homophobia (4)

Racism (1)

Meth is a hell of a drug”

Several heroin needles found on front lawn, on separate occasions two of housemates have been chased by people attempting to mug them, people clearly on drugs roaming the sidewalk in front of house”

Question 6: Do you plan to live in Peterborough after you graduate?

Yes 13 13.4%
No 58 59.8%
Unsure 26 26.8%

Question 7: Why or why not?


Dislike the town of Peterborough

No jobs available

Continuing education elsewhere

Returning to family or home town/country





All of the participants that said that they do not feel safe in Peterborough, chose “No” to returning or remaining in Peterborough after graduation.



Have a job in Peterborough

Love the town of Peterborough

Remaining in hometown of Ptbo

Employment dependent





Rent is cheap here which is appealing”

Question 8: Have you accessed food banks or food programs in Peterborough?

No, I do not live in Peterborough 5 5.2%
No, but I live in Peterborough 76 78.4%
OPIRG Food Cupboard (before it closed) 8 8.2%
TCSA Grocery Program 8 8.2%
Food Not Bombs (Monday meals) 5 4.6%
Good Neighbors Care Centre 1 1.1%

Question 9: Is there anything else you would like to add?

I genuinely feel like being a student in Peterborough is more difficult than it needs to be. Sidewalks in student neighborhoods are rarely maintained well in the wintertime, the bus service is atrocious for students trying to work while also going to school, and rents are too high (or at least, utilities on top of rent). There have been times that I would not have been able to afford to work and study in Peterborough as a student, if I had not also been living with my partner who is not a student.”

I find that utilities are very high for a student to pay. Without using the baseboard heating in our apartment and minimal lights out utilities round out at $170-$190/month for a 2-bedroom apartment. I think there should be some type of student discount on utilities.”

The sidewalks are a mess and hazardous to walk on, which leaves me walking on the street. Particularly on Downie and McDonnel Streets, where bushes are grown over the sidewalk.”

Trent is such a great school, I feel like its a whole other town in itself, there’s some nice attractions for tourists and students, but I feel like it still needs to be worked on.”

I love Peterborough, the downtown has shaped my university experience more than the Trent campus has. It has a fantastic nightlife and many local shops and cafes that make it interesting. I love that I can walk to all my necessities and that there is a strong sense of community. The only downside I see to living where I do is that the neighborhood does not feel as safe as I would hope.”

We can gain a lot of knowledge from this study, even in such a short amount of time. A few key aspects we can take away from this are, if the city of Peterborough wants to retain Trent University students, it should focus on creating jobs, providing better street lighting, address the issue of drunken disturbances and address the obvious need of rehabilitation and create programs to help drug abusers.

Editor’s Note: Arthur would like to thank Rebecca Harrison and Jordan Porter for conducting this study via online module.

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