Cleantech Commons

Tenants are selected based on their alignment with Trent’s environmental research expertise and Cleantech Commons’ sustainability principles and will be approved by the Cleantech Commons Management Committee comprising representatives from Trent University and the City of Peterborough. The Committee will thoroughly assess all applications, ensuring they meet all admission criteria, including the requirement to engage in research and development activities at Trent. Since tenancy will depend on each individual tenant’s needs (e.g., some might need a larger facility for their work, while other spaces will house multiple sub-tenants that are smaller start-up companies), an exact number of tenant spaces is not possible. Those interested in tenancy can contact Cleantech Commons

All Cleantech Commons tenants will be required to meet the Cleantech Commons design and development guidelines, which are underpinned by sustainable, low-impact site design, and green building and transportation principles. Throughout the development process, we have been diligent in maintaining existing natural features and creating as little of a human footprint as possible. The overall design of the Commons incorporates several features to promote environmental sustainability, including narrow paved streets with bioretention facilities, retaining existing trees, opportunities for energy cogeneration, and managing surface runoff at the source. All required regulatory approvals have been obtained. The City of Peterborough and Trent have hired independent environmental services firms to also monitor the site on a regular basis to ensure compliance with these approvals. 

Cleantech Commons will connect students with hands-on career-boosting and employment opportunities with both established and growing companies. This commitment is included in the Cleantech Commons tenant criteria, and applications from companies committed to fostering connections with Trent University will be prioritized. 


  Student-led start-up ventures will also have access to technology demonstration space to fast track the adoption of their ideas through the planned Trent Enterprise Centre. The Trent Enterprise Centre will be the only clean technology accelerator in Canada with both shared laboratories and technology piloting and assessment facilities. Aspiring student entrepreneurs will have access to value-added entrepreneurial training and programming, business, financial and professional support services, coaching, mentorship, and incubation and co-working spaces. The Centre will also offer commercialization training for researchers to help them get their inventions to market. 

Cleantech Commons is a partnership between Trent University and the City of Peterborough aimed at diversifying the local economy and create myriad opportunities for researchers, students, and job seekers as Canada’s premier green technology research and innovation site. The research park will host a cluster of companies and start-up enterprises in environmentally focused fields, including water, clean technology, environmental services, advanced material sciences, biotechnology, agri-food, and agri-business.  

Universities and university research parks, such as Cleantech Commons, play a significant role in shaping the local economy. With an annual economic impact in Peterborough that represents approximately 9% of the local GDP, Trent University is a catalyst for regional prosperity, and social and cultural vitality. The cluster of innovators, start-up and spin-out ventures housed at the Commons will bring much needed job opportunities to Peterborough, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, according to Statistics Canada. 


 Not only will Cleantech Commons contribute to retaining top talent in our region – it will attract innovators to the world-class expertise housed at Trent University. It is also important to note that the job opportunities created through Cleantech Commons will not be limited to the clean technology and science fields. 


  A recent member survey by the Association of University Research Parks (with members located across the globe) found that for every job created within a research park in Canada and the United States, 1.34 additional jobs were created through indirect impacts (i.e., related professional services, such as marketing, accounting, public relations, environmental consulting, and human resource management). It is important to note that tenants are independent businesses, each with their own talent acquisition requirements. 

The Cleantech Commons site is previously unused farmland and is free of significant natural features (it is adjacent to a wetland but does not extend into it). Importantly, it is adjacent to Trent’s science faculties and facilities to allow seamless engagement between tenants and the University. Our research showed that this is key to the innovation ecosystem we are aiming to create. 

Campus Development

As the University continues to evolve and expand, a strengthened mobility framework will secure a “10-minute Campus Core” – a pedestrian-focused, easily navigable environment that promotes safe, easy, and multi-modal access to amenities. The vision is to establish a well-connected network of pathways, supported by a wayfinding system, exterior lighting, and pathway design consistent with AODA standards. 


 With a strengthened mobility framework, Trent can offer a safe, affordable, and low-carbon mobility system. The mobility framework and network, however, require further planning in collaboration with the City of Peterborough, the County and neighbouring Townships to better understand regional circulation routes, active transportation plans, and sources of funding for any or all of the three levels of government. 

The MTO Corridor is land reserved by the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) for future extension of Hwy 115, along 9th Line. While there are no concrete plans by the MTO to move forward with this extension in the near term, and it would require multiple studies before proceeding, it has been included in the Campus Vision Framework as a future constraint to campus planning. Since this corridor is reserved by the MTO, Trent or the City/ County cannot locate any permanent infrastructure on the land. As a result, Trent has identified alternative routes to 9th Line that can connect Cleantech Commons and the East Bank campus (see page 102 of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan). 

Trent is committed to being an active caretaker and steward of the Symon Campus Lands, while delivering on its mission of offering state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces. The University is committed to maintaining 60% of the Symons Campus lands, as green spaces and Nature Areas.   


Of the remaining 40%, much of it is simply reserved for the future needs of the University and community. Current projects are the new residence in the core campus, the Cleantech Commons research and innovation park on the East Bank on 85 acres of land, and the University-Integrated Seniors Village on the West Bank on 20 acres of land. 

Our lands are a precious asset, rich in natural and cultural heritage, vital to the resilience of Trent and our communities, and the conservation of these lands are central to campus planning processes. Through the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan, the University will preserve 60% of the Symons Campus as Nature Areas and green spaces. This will be achieved through the University Green Network Stewardship Plan and its resulting Systems Level Plan.  


The Lands and Nature Areas Plan also incorporates an update to the 2002 Nature Areas Stewardship Plan to ensure an ecosystem approach to campus planning and development. Individual management plans will be created for each Nature Area to ensure site-specific features, habitats and uses are appropriate. 

There is no timeline for the proposed complete community on the East Bank. There is currently no servicing (i.e., water, storm water and wastewater) to these lands, and no plan to extend such servicing in the mid-term. The Lands and Nature Areas Plan simply identifies this area as a pocket that can potentially address future campus and community needs. Having these lands identified can help guide the City of Peterborough in planning future transportation and servicing infrastructure requirements. 

The Lands Plan includes a vision to reclaim the riverfront and convert Nassau Mills Road into a multi-use trail. This vision is consistent with the City of Peterborough’s goal to provide public access to the Otonabee River and Trent Severn Waterway shorelines. If this plan moved forward (and it would require studies and external fundings, along with partnerships with the City before it could) a new road would be needed to replace Nassau Mills Road. This idea/ vision would allow for the creation of a safe space for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy and use the east bank water edge while also redirecting traffic from the Campus Core.  Such a trail would better protect the Otonabee River and nearby wetlands from the impact of traffic, address safety concerns for cyclists, and recognize the Michi Saagiig and their connection to the river (Odoonabii-ziibi).  

Trent is leasing University land to Residence Development Corporation (RDC) that will see RDC build and operate a new building with approximately 215 beds for upper-year students on Trent lands near the Symons Campus in Peterborough, contributing much-needed housing within the City of Peterborough.  

In addition to the upper-year beds associated with the RDC development, plans are underway to build a new residence on the Symons Campus which will be followed by a full replacement and expansion of Otonabee College, adding more than 700 new beds to the University’s current complement of residence spaces.

Further, the planned University-Integrated Seniors Village will include multi-generational housing as well as a 224-bed on-campus long-term care home in collaboration with peopleCare Communities Inc. 

University Green Network

Each project will be informed by detailed environmental studies and site plans that include natural heritage feature buffers, infrastructure location, building heights, etc. Detailed systems level and area-specific management plans for the Nature Areas, as well as site-specific studies for any future developments will ensure protection and enhancement of natural features, habitats, and ecosystems on the Symons Campus. Advance and ongoing monitoring will be a feature of plans, involving students and First Nations. 

Part III of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan includes the Nature Areas Stewardship Plan for the Symons Campus. Next steps include the development of a Systems-Level Plan that identifies targets, opportunities, gaps, and actions for the UGN. Nature Area Management Plans will then be created for each Nature Area. Together, these plans will identify tangible actions to support and enhance the natural heritage features that are part of the Symons Campus.  

The Nature Areas are a Trent-specific land management approach and can contain a variety of significant natural features or habitat. It is intended that these areas remain where they are and will not be developed. Other green spaces included in the UGN are ecologically supportive features or areas, such as wildlife corridors, agricultural land, quads, or sports fields. These green spaces may move in the landscape over time. 

The Systems-Level Plan will translate the objectives for the UGN into a document that identifies actions and opportunities to support the form and function of natural heritage features on campus. It will also identify priorities for restoration and enhancement of the natural environment, as well as innovative and actionable opportunities to bring ecologically regenerative elements into campus planning. 


 Thanks to a TD Bank Group grant, Trent will be hiring a Land Stewardship Coordinator to lead the creation of the Systems-Level Plan, with input from students, Michi Saagiig First Nations, and other community partners such as Camp Kawartha and Peterborough GreenUp. 

The recently approved Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan includes a commitment to maintain 60% of Trent’s Symons Campus as Nature Areas and green spaces. Collectively, these Nature Areas and green spaces form the University Green Network (UGN) – a robust and connected network (868 acres) of rich and biodiverse natural features. The UGN includes diverse habitats, wildlife corridors, productive landscapes and green spaces that support ecological function and biodiversity and will therefore provide invaluable opportunities for land-based teaching and discovery.  


While some components of the UGN are protected by policy or legislation (e.g., the City’s Natural Heritage System, Species at Risk habitat), protecting these natural features will extend beyond policy. The UGN Stewardship Plan, generously funded through a TD Bank Group Ready Commitment Vibrant Planet–Green Space Grant, will identify specific objectives and projects that will advance Trent’s commitment in a tangible way. 

Involvement of Indigenous Communities

 Trent University staff, faculty and students are encouraged to include engagement of First Nations communities when planning substantial projects, initiatives, and research programs. To submit a proposal for consideration to present at either the Trent Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keeper Council or First Nations’ Land Consultation Officer meetings, please submit outlines to the Manager of Community Relations at trentlandsplan@trentu.ca.  

The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan had a significant commitment to developing and demonstrating best practice engagement with the local Michi Saagiig First Nations. The Trent Elders & Traditional Knowledge Keepers Council was formed and provided oversight for the engagement and progression of the Plan, and provided Indigenous Traditional Knowledge. The Michi Saagiig Consultation Liaisons also guided engagement with their communities and provided valuable insight and Traditional Knowledge. Williams Treaty communities were kept informed by regular updates to their Chiefs, including annual visits to community. 

The Michi Saagiig Consultation Liaisons and Trent Elders & Traditional Knowledge Keepers Council are ongoing forums for collaboration and ensuring open lines of communication. There is currently active collaboration on the implementation of the Plan in many ways. 

Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan

The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan is a critical first step in Trent’s Symons Campus planning process. Studies done on the land were high level and helped identify areas that are inappropriate for buildings due to natural heritage features. As projects come forward, site-specific studies, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and community engagement will shape the implementation of the Plan.  

The Plan commits the Board of Governors to maintaining 60% of the Symons Campus as Nature Areas and green spaces, encapsulated in the University Green Network. Significant natural features within the Nature Areas are protected by provincial legislation and are included as part of the new Natural Heritage System in the City of Peterborough’s Official Plan. Moreover, the Board’s Special Resolution on land use protects the Nature Areas from development. 

The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan is a framework for the long-term future and evolution of the Symons campus, underpinned by the University's core mission to advance teaching, research and learning. The Plan seeks to enhance, develop and preserve the Symons Campus lands in a way that supports the long-term sustainability of Trent, our local, national and international communities, and the environment around us. 

The Plan outlines four guiding principals to guide and inform future decision making: 

  • Learning and Discovery, 
  • Environmental Resilience and Integrity,
  • Economic Resilience, Leadership, and Innovation, and 
  • Social Resilience, Community, and Inclusivity. 

The Plan also provides guidelines to ensure a welcoming and accessible campus; the natural environment is protected and enhanced; and clear expectations are set for engagement and sustainable development. 

The Trent Lands and Natures Area Plan is a framework for the long-term land management and continued evolution of Trent’s Symons Campus. The framework is underpinned by the University’s core mission to advance teaching, research, and learning. 

Parcels of the Symons Campus lands fall into four different land use categories, with the largest percent of the campus incorporated into the University Green Network for the preservation and restoration of green spaces and Nature Areas. 

The four land uses categories are: 

  • 60% University Green Network: Nature Areas and green spaces  (868 ac/351 ha) 
  • 20% Future University Lands: lands identified for future initiatives that create spaces where people and nature thrive (283 ac/115ha) 
  • 12% Campus Core: the area associated with primary function of the University (173 ac/70ha) 
  • 8% Planned University Initiatives: inclusive of Cleantech Commons and University-Integrated Seniors Village (116 ac/47 ha) 

The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan is a high level framework for the use of and care for the Symons Campus lands. The vision of the plan is to create an inspiring, sustainable, and complete community to learn, live, innovate, and be active. In our care for and use of the land, Trent continues to demonstrate leadership in environmental education and stewardship, respect for Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, and thoughtful integration of the natural and built environment.

The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan provides an ambitious vision for Trent’s future, and how the Board will fulfill its responsibilities to balance a variety of needs and growth pressures on and around campus with preserving the health of our ecosystems, economies, and communities for generation to come. These responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring sufficient land for learning and future academic and student priorities,
  • Our responsibility to preserve and enhance the natural environment in which Trent is located,
  • To ensure the financial sustainability of the University, and
  • To maintain and magnify our positive benefits to the community.

The plan was approved by the Trent Board of Governors in February 2021.

University-Integrated Seniors Village

As an outcome of early engagement with the Michi Saagiig Land Resource Consultation Officers, a four-season field study was conducted to characterize natural heritage features and associated functions on and adjacent to (within 120m) the site. Completed items include:  

  • Ontario Wetland Evaluation 
  • Ecological Land Classification (ELC) Headwater Drainage Feature Assessment  
  • Three-season Botanical Inventory 
  • Breeding Bird Surveys  
  • Amphibian Call Count Surveys, with specific consideration for Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) 
  • Bat Habitat Assessment and Acoustic Monitoring 
  • Owl Callback Surveys 
  • Salamander Habitat Assessment 
  • Turtle Basking and Nesting Surveys 
  • Snake Transect Surveys 
  • Insect Surveys 
  • Winter Mammal Tracking 
  • Incidental Wildlife Sightings 
  • General Wildlife Habitat Assessment. 

Yes, Trent has an engagement process in place with local Michi Saagiig communities. Formal notice of our interest in developing a Seniors Village in this location was given to Michi Saagiig First Nations before detailed planning began. Per the request of the Michi Saagiig, four-season environmental study (vs the typical three-season study) has been included in the development process. The findings and recommendations coming from four-season studies were shared with the Lands and Resource Consultation Liaisons prior to any applications being made to the City. Curve Lake First Nation also engaged 4Directions Consulting to do an independent review of the study findings and recommendations. The Michi Saagiig Consultation Liaisons expressed appreciation for the process and have no objections to the proposed plan. 

The University meets regularly with the Michi Saagiig Consultation Liaisons and the Elders & Knowledge Keepers Council.

The specific location for the University-Integrated Seniors Village was selected to avoid disrputing habitat for species at risk (SAR). The Natural Heritage Compensation Plan includes actions for enhancing SAR habitats within the expanded adjacent natural area.   

The four-season environmental studies conducted for this site determined the appropriate location and ensures appropriate setbacks from the wetland and sensitive habitats. 

The not-for-profit long-term care home is still in the planning stages. Those interested in being waitlisted can contact peopleCare’s care coordinators at the Home and Community Care Supports - Central East. They are responsible for helping people with their home care and long-term care options. 

For general inquiries or to make a referral please call 310-2222 (no area code required) or toll free 1-800-263-3877.

Peterborough Office
700 Clonsilla Avenue, Suite 202  

To help inform the approach and components of the Seniors Village, a Trent researcher with extensive experience in geriatric care published a ‘Promising Practices Report' based on consultations with experts in the field, a review of academic research and sector literature, and profiles of existing university-integrated seniors villages around the world. This report is available on the Trent Centre for Aging & Society website and is a foundational document shared with potential builders of the Seniors Village. Oncea builder is selected, Trent will convene a group of experts and people with lived experince to review and provide ideas and insights on preliminary plans. 

Wetlands are an important hydrogeological feature, and the University has taken a number of proactive steps to protect them and the species who call wetlands home. 

While all wetlands on campus are presumed to be provincially significant, the University undertook an Ontario Wetland Evaluation System assessment to confirm the significance of the wetland adjacent to the Seniors Village site. Kiiktaanaa Mash’ing Wetland Complex, or Spring Keeper Marsh, was deemed provincially significant, and the name provided by the Elders & Traditional Knowledge Keepers Council was formally invested in a ceremony on April 25, 2023. The natural area on the site was expanded by nearly 50% to further protect the wetland.

Through the environmental work conducted as part of the Trent Lands & Nature Areas Plan, we confirmed that chorus frogs inhabit the wetland on Water Street, across from the Seniors Village location. To protect the frogs and their habitat, Trent expanded the Nature Area. 

Stage 2 site planning will also take into account (and will need to demonstrate through studies) the protection of the wetlands. Environmental protection and monitoring will guide the construction process to ensure the protection of the wetland and surrounding areas. Trent has already compelted baseline montering for the area.

The trails in this area have recently been realigned to avoid fragmenting hte provincially significant wetland, and to avoid intersecting the sites of future housing. 

We view these trails as an important component of the overall project and will connect these trails into the long-term care home and Seniors Village sites to enable residents and visitors to access nature. 

Through the various studies conducted on the site, Trent identified certain areas of cultural heritage significance. The Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and Consultation Liaisons from Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nation have worked with Trent to develop a plan to protect these sites, which includes discretion about specific locations and information shared. 

Site Plan Approval is a type of planning approval required by the City of Peterborough for certain developments. Site plans usually include the details of a development, including buildings, grading, roadways and parking lots, accompanied by an array of studies that include servicing (water, power, sewage), hydrology, environmental impact, etc. Trent is taking an environment-led approach, breaking the site plan approval process into two stages. Stage 1 established the location for the two housing sites, based on detailed environmental studies. The builders will submit the Stage 2 Site Plan, which will show detailed building plans, supported by an array of further studies.  

Trent has a vision to establish a University-Integrated Seniors Village (also known as ‘a campus of care’) on its Symons Campus. With a long-term care home and other housing options, the Seniors Village will be an integrated, community-based senior living community where older adults can stay engaged in life-long learning, multi-generational interaction, the arts, research opportunities, and the life of the University. To achieve a complete community, amenities, and services (such as public transportation and allied health services) to support the Village will also be located on the site, along with the potential for student housing to create a truly intergenerational community.    

Rates for LTC beds are set by the province and is the same for all homes. In its breif to potential developers of the Seniors Village, Trent has noted the City's affordable housing tragets and expects the developer to contribute to them. The developer will set the rates for housing in the Village. 

A start date for construction on the long-term care home is yet to be determined and depends on the release of provincial capital funding and approval of the detailed site planning and design work from the City of Peterborough and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The home should be ready for occupancy approximately 18-months from the construction start date. 

The University is in the process of inviting proponents to share their vision and capabilities to bring the Seniors Village to life. The process will be overseen by the Trent Lands Committee of the Board of Governors and will conclude in early 2025. 

peopleCare Communities is a leading Canadian, family-owned operator of senior living communities, with strong values and a more than 50-year history of service. They were selected after a competitive Request For Proposal process to build and operate a long-term care home on Trent University land.

peopleCare is committed to engagement and collaboration to create vibrant communities of care that deliver meaningful experiences, clinical best practices, engaging programs and integrated services that meet seniors’ changing needs. Their innovation and leadership have earned them Accreditation Canada Exemplary Status, Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum designation, and the single largest research grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, which funded their award-winning Clinical Pharmacy Model, a first-of-its-kind for long-term care in Canada.  

This site was selected for a variety of reasons:

  • Access to campus: there is an established accessible road for students and residents, allowing for a thriving multi-generational community for living and learning. 
  • Access to the community: The site is next to a major roadway and is serviced by City of Peterborough transit and the Link Bus route that connects the site to Selwyn Township and Curve Lake. 
  • Access to servicing: Municipal services, such as power, water, and sanitation, are already available at this site, allowing the long-term care home to move ahead and bring new beds to the community as quickly as possible. 
  • Access to nature: The site is surrounded by nature, with trails and spaces to gather outside.   

An on-campus Seniors Village will build on Trent’s reputation as a globally recognized age-friendly university with research expertise across the University, including  the Trent Centre for Aging & Society and the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing. Importantly, it will provide valuable learning opportunities for our students and advance research into aging, while meeting the needs of our community, the third oldest in Canada. The land will be leased to create an annual revenue stream for the University that will be invested in students and facilities.  

peopleCare Communities has been selected to build a 224-bed not-for-profit long-term care home on the site. Trent and peopleCare will collaborate through a research and teaching agreement to develop and implement promising practices in long-term care to enhance the quality of life and care for seniors, and influence care practices throughout the sector. Additionally, a minimum of 100 experiential learning placements for students will be created each year for student in programs such as nursing, kinesiology, social work, business, sustainable agriculture, and education.  

Trent Farmlands

The new location for the Trent Farm is on land that has been and continues to be actively farmed. The footprint does not extend into existing wetlands and in addition, though not prescribed by regulation, provides buffers to these wetlands. The Trent Farm focuses on regenerative farming practices, designed to restore soil health and biological diversity, and will ensure that the hydrological function of adjacent Provincially Significant Wetlands is not impacted. Through sustainable and regenerative practices, it will enhance biodiversity. The faculty intend that the farm become a model of how regenerative agriculture can be a positive interface with natural features. 

The Trent Farm is being relocated to existing active farmland in the Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area, south of Pioneer Road. The faculty and staff involved in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program supports this relocation as approximately half of the land on the existing farm is unsuitable for growing food due to seasonal saturation and steep slopes in some areas. Further, the existing farm is partly located within the MTO corridor, which constrains opportunities for infrastructure investment, and is far from potential servicing opportunities. 

Trent Vegetable Garden

No. The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan recognizes Trent Vegetable Garden (pages 74-79) and supports the continuation of smaller garden lots such as this across campus, in addition to Trent Farm. Although early engineering sketches suggested a future road would bisect the TVG, connecting Cleantech Commons and the East Bank, every effort will be made to avoid this road impacting the TVG. Over the next year, we’ll be working with the TVG team to explore further expansion of the garden in conjunction with renewal of the lease between Trent and the Seasoned Spoon.