Who We Are

Peterborough County was one of the last districts to be organized within RTO/ERO.  On January 20, 1974,  District 19 (Hastings, Prince Edward County and Peterborough) was created. Cora Bailey was instrumental in working towards this formation. In 1975, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held with 120 members in attendance.  At the AGM in 1976, Peterborough was re-assigned to District 18 with Victoria and Haliburton and remained there until May 1986.  During these years, these counties were units with no authority or participation at the Senate.  When the Provincial Service to Others (PSTO) grants were initiated in 1980-81, decisions were still at the District level.  Peterborough became a district on its own after a motion was passed unanimously on May 25, 1986.  District 36 became a reality with Hugh Dyke serving as the first President.

District 36 serves the city of Peterborough and the surrounding rural areas of Peterborough County.  There are 3 boards of education (Kawartha Pine Ridge; Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic; Conseil Scolaire Catholique Mon Avenir) and 2 higher education institutions (Trent University and Fleming  College) in the catchment area for District 36.  At this time, membership is around 1170 with ages ranging from around 54 to over 100 years of age.  The age group 65-80 years is the largest group at around 725 members.

District 36 is an active group and the executive strives to provide events and information to meet the needs and interests of all our members with a focus on healthy, active living and mental health.  The issue of social isolation for our senior members is a concern and our Goodwill committee consistently reaches out to these folks.

Maintaining connections between younger people and our members has also been a focus and is reflected in our annual donation to Breakfast programs in Peterborough, the past student led workshops at Fleming College, the ten High School Merit awards given out every year and the majority of the PSTO grants.

District 36 provides a variety of ongoing activities both monthly and annually.  Monthly breakfast meetings are a favourite and occur throughout the year.  The 80+ birthday party celebrates our senior retirees and the “Hell with the Bell” luncheon and information workshop is our welcome to new retirees.  Both of these are in the fall and are a lead up to a wonderful Christmas party with food, entertainment and camaraderie.  In the spring, the Annual General Meeting takes place at one of the scenic resorts in the county.  After the business of the meeting, a guest speaker, plus an excellent meal rounds out the day.  New events are always being added to the social calendar after receiving feedback from our members.  Golf, cards and gardening workshops have been introduced in the recent years.  The dedicated social committee members work hard to plan and present these activities.

District 36 has activities to recruit new members.  The Retirement Planning workshops are always well attended and the executive works hard to answer questions of the attendees who are considering RTO.  In the last couple of years, executive members have attend the June retirement celebrations for staff of the local boards.  They provide information about RTO/ERO, plus a prize basket and make those important human connections to education workers who are retiring or will retire in the future.

Through the PSTO grants, District 36 is proud to support to a variety of groups and causes in our district and beyond.  Grants have been given to the Peterborough Public Library to purchase children’s books, Hutchinson House, a local historic museum for their education programs, a curling education program at the Ennismore Curling Club, a program connecting students across Canada called “Kids for Canada” using technology, a teen education and mothering (TEAM) program at a local high school, Pard Therapeutic riding group, a school in Honduras and a lovely garden at the Millennium Park in Peterborough, just to name a few.

District 36 is also very proud to have a large number of members who have served with distinction at the local and provincial level.  At the 2009 Senate, Ray Johnson was awarded one of  three  RTO Distinguished Member Award for his outstanding work at the District level.  More recently, Ceris Higgs, Bill Bird, Dave Cummings and Georgina Eldridge have served on provincial committees.  Our most noteworthy member would be Martin Higgs.  Martin served on the provincial Communications Committee as a member and chair from 2009-12.  He was elected Provincial President in 2015 and continues, at this time, to be Past-President.  In 2017, Martin was selected to be Ontario’s representative on ACER-CART which is the national voice for retired teachers.  Martin is still very active at the local level providing leadership and completing the district newsletters and website.

As time moves forward, District 36 will proudly and enthusiastically continue to meet the needs of our members and seniors in the Peterborough area.