Peter Rowe was born in Meadowville, Ontario, Canada. He attended local schools and went to Trinity College, Toronto. There he earned his Bachelor's degree in 1878, his Master's degree in 1880, and his doctorate of divinity in 1895.
Rowe traveled across his vast diocese for decades, by dogsled, boat and other frontier means. He gained many admirers, among whom was his colleague Hudson Stuck, Archdeacon of the Yukon. Stuck praised Rowe's dedication in his three books published to combat exploitation of the native peoples among whom they served.