Northumberland County Archives Celebrates First Year

On Saturday, April 6 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., the Northumberland County Archives will host an Open House to celebrate its first anniversary and the Province-wide Archives Awareness Week.  The event will be held in the Archives rooms of the C. Gordon King Centre at 200 Ontario Street in Cobourg. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the Archives’ storage facilities, learn about what the Archives does and view many of the historic treasures in the collection.

One of the first major projects undertaken by the County Archives since inheriting operations of the former Cobourg and District Historical Society Archives last April, was to increase storage capacity at the 200 Ontario Street location.  When the County assumed operations, the facility, which is generously provided by the Town of Cobourg through a grant to the Cobourg Public Library, was nearly at maximum capacity.  By reorganizing materials and installing new compact shelving units, the capacity of the main storage room was increased by nearly 300%.

The increased capacity allowed the County to accept multiple donations in 2012, including a very large donation of original historic newspapers from the Cobourg, Port Hope, Campbellford, and Colborne areas that range in date from 1849-1990.

The increased capacity also created the opportunity for member municipalities to preserve their materials at the County Archives.  Under provincial legislation, municipalities must retain and preserve their records in a secure and accessible manner.  This can be extremely costly and time consuming for municipalities with limited resources.  Working closely with representatives from local municipalities, the County Archives was designed to meet their needs to preserve and provide access to their records in a cost efficient manner.  For a nominal fee, municipalities can store their historic records at the County Archives where they will be arranged and described, stored in an environmentally controlled facility, and made accessible to the public.  The records remain the property of each municipality.  To date, the Town of Cobourg and Township of Alnwick-Haldimand have appointed the County Archives as their official archival provider and several other local municipalities are exploring the opportunity as well.

“Northumberland County is pleased with the progress of its Archival Program. By working with member municipalities, the Archives has and will continue to fulfill an important initiative of the County’s Strategic Plan – developing opportunities to share administrative and service delivery while keeping costs to the taxpayer at a minimum,” stated Northumberland County Warden, Hector MacMillan.

“The Town of Cobourg is very pleased with the recent transfer of the Cobourg Archives to the County of Northumberland’s care and preservation,” said Town of Cobourg Municipal Clerk, Lorraine Brace. “The professionalism, expertise, and cost savings realized through the partnership have enhanced the archives operations and have substantially built on the years of work and dedication of the Cobourg and District Historical Society’s Volunteer efforts.”

In its first year, the Archives served over 530 people and received nearly 110 research requests between April and December 2012.  With the help of volunteers, the Archives successfully renumbered and organized the majority of the materials within the collection to facilitate easier retrieval.  The dedicated group of volunteers  produced a number of inventories to assist with research, preserved countless historic records by transferring them into acid-free storage containers,  cleaned and completed basic repairs, and transcribed over 4,500 Land Registry documents, all of which can be found in a fully searchable database available at the Archives.

During the developmental stage of 2012, the Archives was open to the public Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.  However, with the recent passing of the 2013 Budget by County Council and the approval for a summer student, the Archives will extend its hours.  During the months of June, July and August, the Archives will be open to the public Monday through Thursday and every other Friday from 1:00 -4:30 p.m. There is no fee to access materials at the Archives.

To learn more about the Northumberland County Archives and its recent and future projects, visit the Archives Open House on Saturday April 6th from 1:00-4:00pm at the C. Gordon King Centre.  For more information about the Northumberland County Archives, please visit or email:

Quick Facts

Located an hour east of Toronto, Northumberland County  is a thriving, south-eastern Ontario community strategically positioned along Highway 401 with access to both Toronto and eastern Ontario.  Northumberland County has a rich history of agricultural production, manufacturing and tourism that continues to provide a viable economic future. Northumberland also offers a range of living experiences from historic towns to scenic rolling rural areas to spectacular water settings on Rice Lake, the Trent River and Lake Ontario.

As the upper tier of municipal government, the County weaves together seven diverse yet complementary municipalities. Northumberland County Council is comprised of the Mayors of each of the seven member municipalities within the County’s boundaries.  Northumberland County works closely with its seven diverse, yet complementary partners:

  • Township of Alnwick/Haldimand
  • Municipality of Brighton
  • Town of Cobourg
  • Township of Cramahe
  • Township of Hamilton
  • Municipality of Port Hope
  • Municipality of Trent Hills


Contact:        Hector MacMillan                                                                                                    Warden, Northumberland County                                                                                                 905-372-3329 ext. 2259                                                                                                                  705-653-9562


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DRAAG is the professional group for archives and repositories of the local history of Durham Region and surrounding areas.
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