What to See and Do
The week in London won’t be all business! Start planning your free time with our guide to some of London’s top attractions.
A short history
London, Ontario, had been selected in 1793 by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe as the future site of the capital of Upper Canada. But by the time London was incorporated as a city in 1855, Toronto, then called York, had already become the seat of government and continued as the capital of Ontario upon the province’s founding in 1867.
The Forest City
The Thames River winds through the city and alongside it is the 109-kilometre Thames Valley Trail, which people can walk, jog, bike, skateboard or use to visit one of many parks, such as Gibbons, Harris and Springbank. Victoria Park, named in honour of the Queen and created in 1874, is one of the most active in the downtown core; only four blocks north of the Convention Centre, it flourishes with activities throughout the year, from music festivals in the summer to skating in the winter. Once the British Garrison military reserve, the park displays its past through historical plaques, cannons and other memorials.
For those interested in architecture, take a stroll through St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica or St. Paul’s Cathedral, both just a few-minutes walk from Victoria Park. Or visit the grounds of the Old Court House; modelled after the Malahide Castle in Dublin, Ireland, this nearly 200-year-old edifice majestically overlooks the Forks of the Thames.
Throughout the city are many heritage buildings, such as Eldon House, home to the Harris family for four generations. Built in 1834, it is the oldest residence in London, and its Georgian and Regency architecture as well as furnishings and heirlooms have been beautifully preserved.
Just two blocks north of the Convention Centre is the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, which celebrates the achievements of our past and present medical heroes, including Sir Frederick G. Banting (whose London house can also be visited). A block west is the Forest City London Music Hall of Fame, honouring local outstanding musicians, such as Tommy Hunter, Guy Lombardo and The Band’s Garth Hudson. Culture of course plays a vital role in the city’s community. From live theatre to art exhibitions to the written word, London is host to numerous events in which local and regional talents shine.
We hope you enjoy your visit to the Forest City!
For more information, visit TourismLondon.ca.