Not to be mistaken for jolly old London, England, although it does have a Thames River, a Covent Garden Market and a Piccadilly Street. London is a smaller city in Southwestern Ontario that is surrounded by woodlands and farmlands. Known as ‘The Forest City’ because when it was first formed, it was done so by clearing land in the middle of a forest. Today, this city has numerous landmarks and attractions especially for the entire family.
Don’t overlook this city, here is how you can enjoy a weekend in London with the fam!
1. Head to the Park
Victoria Park is one of London’s major gathering places with 18 acres of space for you and the family to spread out. The park was designed in 1874 as a British military base and cricket ground, but today it is a recreational centre. It is host to numerous annual events as well as having a bandstand, skate park and skating rink. There are numerous monuments to view like the cenotaph, veteran’s plaque and Boer War Monument.
One of the most interesting activities the family can enjoy is squirrel fishing, which is due to the large population of Eastern Grey squirrels that live in the park. If you’ve never tried it before, then this is a must!
2. Learn about the birth of insulin
Banting House is the former house of Dr. Frederick Banting, the inventor of insulin. Today, the house is a museum dedicated to his life and his discovery of insulin. In 1997, Banting House became a National Historic Site of Canada. Inside you will find his original desk, medicine cabinet and personal artwork. Look at artifacts and apothecary that was used to create this fantastic medicine. While in the neighbourhood, wander around the adjacent Banting Square, which is home to a garden, a life-sized sculpture of the doctor, the Flame of Hope and a massive globe sculpture.
3. Explore Covent Garden Market
Dating back to 1845, this market is a London treasure, not unlike the famous market in the UK city of the same name. The market is a landmark filled with stalls that sell fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. In addition to its raw food items, it is also home to restaurants, bakeries, bars and delis. You can buy flowers, local handicrafts and chocolate or end the day off with a massage. From may to December, the market takes it outdoors with their outdoor farmers’ market. Sample fresh produce and chat with the producers.
4. Head to the races
Calling all race fans. Just a few minutes west of London is the Delaware Speedway, which happens to be one of Canada’s oldest continuously operating tracks. The speedway opened in 1952 and since then has hosted numerous races. It has a race every Friday night between April and September. It is also home to a museum that displaces original posters, programs and photos of races that have been held there. The track now hosts seven different divisions of races as well as Bone Stock Chaos Cars. It also hosted major races including the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the ARCA Series, the CASCAR Super Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
5. Jump into a storybook
Storybook Gardens is a family-friendly amusement park that will make you and your kids feel as if you’ve jumped right into a storybook. Open year-round, this park is home to plenty of attractions. Rides, games, recreational activities and even animals can all be enjoyed at Storybook Gardens. You can even watch a play, explore vegetable gardens and ride a wagon. Many of the attractions at the park are based on fairy tales, including Humpty Dumpty, the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Three Men in a Tub. In the winter you can go ice skating, while in the summer the splash park opens! This is the perfect place to release your inner kid.
6. Wander around a museum
There are a few great museums in London that any history or art lover should visit. London Museum being the most popular, it is home to over 5, 000 works of art and 45, 000 artifacts. Most of the collection was created by regional artists, and numerous pieces by the famous Group of Seven on display. The Museum of Ontario Archaeology, the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame are also great places to wander around. Be sure to also check out the London Regional Children’s Museum for the kids.
For more exciting things to do in London, Ontario, visit our guide page.