Cobourg History

The settlements that make up today's Cobourg were founded by United Empire Loyalists in 1798.  Some of the founding fathers and early settlers were Eluid Nickerson, Joseph Ash, Zacheus Burnham and Asa Burnham.  The Town was originally a group of smaller villages such as Amherst and Hardscrabble, which were later named Hamilton.  In 1808 it became the district town for the Newcastle District.  It was renamed Cobourg in 1818.

By 1830's Cobourg became a regional centre, due much to the fine harbour on Lake Ontario.  In 1835 the Upper Canada Academy was established in Cobourg.  On July 1, 1837 Cobourg was offically incorporated as a Town.  In 1841 the Upper Canada Accademy's name was change to "Victoria College".  Victoria College remained in Cobourg until 1892 when it was move to Toronto and connected with the University of Toronto.

You will find at the heart of downtown Cobourg is beautiful Victoria Hall. (picture below) It now serves as the Town Hall, as well as the home of the Art Gallery of Northumberland, and the Cobourg Concert Hall, as well as an Old Bailey-style Courtroom , now used as the Town Council Chambers.   It is a proud piece of our heritage.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, many wealthy Americans had built in Cobourg , enormous summer homes , many of which still stand today.  One notable one is on  King Street East, and  became the Brookside School.  This has since  become a youth detention centre. 

Throughout the late 1980's and early 1900's the Town invested in purchasing property along the waterfront  and beautifying the harbour and lake front.   The harbour and lovely sandy beach are now connected with a Boardwalk and pathways that stretch through Victoria Park and into the downtown area. 

Cobourg is noted as " Ontario's Feel Good Town"  and it retains its small-town atmosphere due to the downtown and surrounding residential area's status as a Heritage Conservation District.   It really is a Town you will want to call your home. It must be seen to be appreciated.


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