London is a medium-sized city in Southwestern Ontario. It is west of Toronto, between Lake Huron and Lake Erie at the fork of the Thames River, which was named after the River Thames in London, England).
London, population 378,000, is a major manufacturing centre for southwestern Ontario, founded in 1793. Nicknamed the "Forest City," London has an abundance of urban parks and woodlands. Early in its history it was considered as a potential site for the capital city of Upper Canada, but that title eventually went to York (later Toronto). The city is roughly rectangular in shape, approximately 16 km (10 miles) from east to west, and 13 km (8 miles) from north to south.
Many cities, towns, counties, and rivers in this area of Southwestern Ontario take their names from their counterparts in England, and London is no exception. London features landmarks such as Picadilly Street, the Covent Garden Market and the Thames.
In the 1920s, London-born Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians hit the U.S. music scene and went on to achieve legendary fame. London's Wonderland Gardens later became a big-band hot-spot in 1935 - being situated on the Thames river where Guy Lombardo developed his love for speedboat racing by racing his father's small motorized boat on the Thames River behind the Labatt Brewing Company.
With two major hospitals, London is a regional medical centre, treating patients from up to 200 km away. London also has the region's only university (University of Western Ontario) which has all the typical professional schools (business, law, medicine, engineering, education) as well as sciences and the arts. Since the city is also home to Fanshawe College, students comprise a significant percentage of London's population during the school year.
Visitor information centers are located at:
- 1 London International Airport (YXU IATA). This airport is served by a small handful of airlines. Air Canada and Westjet offer service from most major cities in Canada, with regular daily service connecting to Toronto Pearson (YYZ), from which most connections into/out of London are serviced. Several low-cost airlines also operate seasonal flights between London and southern vacation destinations (including Orlando, FL, and Las Vegas, NV). City bus route 36 (Airport Industrial) connects to the airport. Aboutown AirbusExpress and RobertQ Airbus have regular routes to London from Detroit and Toronto airports and some other Southwestern Ontario cities.
Via Rail operates train service to and from London. London is near the western end of Via's busiest route, the Windsor-Montreal corridor, and there's at least five services per day in each direction, beginning as early as 5AM.
- 2 London railway station, 205 York St. Ticket open counter M-F 5:30AM-9:45PM, Sa-Su 6:30AM-9:45PM; station opens with the ticket counter and remains open until 10:45PM.
London is most readily accessed from Highway 401 which runs along the southern edge of the city and connects London with Toronto (200 km to the north east) and Windsor (200 km to the Southwest). Highway 402 runs due west from its connection to the 401 in south-west London and ends about 100 km to the west at the Ontario-Michigan border in Sarnia. The speed limit on the 401 in most parts is 100 km/h, but expect most people to be travelling at ~120 km/h in good conditions. The easiest exit off the 401 to London is #186, Wellington Road North. This will put you right into a busy shopping district and pointed in the right direction to get to the downtown core.
London is fairly easy to navigate, as its streets are based on a grid system. Except for a short section of Highbury Avenue, the city lacks internal freeways. Roads have a speed limit of 50 km/h unless signed otherwise. Traffic can cause delays, especially around Downtown and the University.
Oxford Street, Dundas Street and Commissioners Road are major east-west arteries. Fanshawe Park Road runs east-west across the northern part of the city while Southdale and Exeter Roads go east-west through the southern portions.
The main north-south arterial roads are, going east to west: Wonderland Road, Wharncliffe Road, Richmond Street, Wellington Road, Adelaide Street, Highbury Avenue, Clarke Road, and Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Parking is usually easy to find and free or reasonably priced, however be aware that a city bylaw doesn't let you park on any public streets overnight in the fall and winter.
The London Transit Commission (LTC) operates within the city at a $3.00 cash fare (2020) for 90 minutes of travel. Ticket strips are available at a reduced price at most convenience stores. If you are staying longer and anticipate using transit often, a contactless smart card offers reduced fares and passes. Children 12 years and under ride for free. Buses vary from every 5 minutes downtown, to every 15 to 60 minutes in various other areas. The LTC doesn't operate past midnight on major routes, so expect to travel by taxi after that time.
- U-Need-A-Cab, ☏ .
- London Taxi, ☏ .
By bike or on footEdit
The city has an extensive bicycle path network, and many (but not ubiquitous) bike lanes on the roads. A biking and walking map can be found at the city's website.
- 1 Museum London, 421 Ridout Street North, ☏ . Tu-Su noon-5PM, Th until 9PM. It purports to have one of Canada's most important art collections, and one of the most significant historical artifact collections in Ontario. More than 5,000 regional and Canadian works of art and 45,000 artifacts reflecting the history of the City of London. By donation.
- 2 Eldon House, 481 Ridout Street North (a 4-minute walk north of Museum London), ☏ . London's oldest surviving residence, containing heirlooms and furniture reflecting life in early 19th-century London.
- 3 Banting House National Historic Site, 442 Adelaide St. North (at the corner of Queens Avenue and Adelaide Street), ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-4PM. Chronicles the life and achievements of Canadian Sir Frederick Grant Banting, the discoverer of insulin. Adults $5, students and seniors $4, children under 5 free.
- 4 Blackfriars Street Bridge (across the Thames River connecting the north end of Ridout Street with Blackfriars Street.). A rare example of a bowstring truss bridge. Built in 1875 and spanning 65.8 m, it is the longest working span of its kind in North America.
- 5 [formerly dead link] Wortley Village. Wortley Road between Askin Street and Tecumseh Ave, was voted one of Canada's coolest neighbourhoods in 2002 by enRoute magazine. Filled with eclectic, locally-owned merchants and cafes.
- 6 The Arts Project, 203 Dundas St, ☏ . Tu-Sa noon-5PM, later for theatre show nights. A downtown art gallery devoted to rising artists with an adjoined blackbox theatre devoted primarily to alternative fare.
- 7 Jet Aircraft Museum, 2465 Aviation Lane, unit 2 (at the airport), ☏ . Th-Sa 10AM-4PM.
There are lots of parks in downtown London. They include:
- 8 Springbank Park. A charming destination west of downtown complete with green space, picnic areas & facilities, formal gardens, wading pool, playgrounds, small family train track, merry-go-round and Storybook Gardens. Its paved trails are part of a 30-km system for walkers, cyclists, runners and roller-bladers.
- 9 Victoria Park (one block west of City Hall). According to the City's website this 15 acres (6.1 hectares) park is one of the most important designed landscapes of the 19th century and has been a hub of social and recreational activities since 1874. Many festivals and events take place here throughout the year. Bring nuts to feed the squirrels.
- 1 Fanshawe Pioneer Village, 1424 Clarke Road (in Fanshawe Conservation Area), ☏ . Tu-Su 10AM-4:30PM, Victoria Day-Thanksgiving. Open-air museum tells the story of rural communities from 1820 to 1920. Pioneer Village Café on-site, campground at conservation area. $9.
- 2 Storybook Gardens. Hours vary throughout the year. Springbank Park. A family attraction open all year round - animals, rides, games, play areas, a splash area in the summer, skating in the winter, and beautiful gardens. Check website for admission prices..
- 3 Labatt Brewery Tours, 150 Simcoe St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Simcoe Street Brewery. Guided tours of the brewery where Labatt founder John Kinder Labatt started brewing beer over 160 years ago. The brewery now produces more than 1 billion bottles of beer annually.
- 4 Thames Valley Trail. Walk or hike part of the 109-km hiking trail which follows the Thames and North Thames Rivers along most of the route. Group hikes for the weekend and following week are listed each Thursday in the London Free Press Thursday Ticket section. The trail is paved for an easy walk in Gibbons, Harris, and Springbank parks.
- 5 East Park Golf Gardens and Wally World, 1275 Hamilton Rd (between Highbury Avenue and Clarke Sideroad on Hamilton Road East), ☏ . 18-hole golf course, driving range, mini golf, waterslides.
- 6 Forest City Velodrome, 4380 Wellington Road South, ☏ . Check out the race calendar or find out more about riding on the track. Bike rentals available.
- 7 The Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond St. Live plays and performances. The mainstage season runs from September to May. There is also a secondary venue downstairs called The McManus Studio which is primarily used for the theatre's UnderGrand alternative theatre series, running roughly from November to March and local theatre group rentals for shows of their own.
- 8 Budweiser Gardens, 99 Dundas St (across the street from the Covent Garden Market). Check out what attractions are coming to town. You can catch the London Knights - the local OHL hockey team - in action from late August to March. The London Lightning is a professional basketball team in the NBLC playing Nov-Apr.
- 9 Labatt Memorial Park, 25 Wilson Ave. The Guinness-recognized oldest baseball park in the world, having been continuously used since 1877. The semi-pro London Majors play from April through August.
- 10 Delaware Speedway, 1640 Gideon Drive, Delaware (Just west of London), ☏ . Check the schedule for details.. Delaware Speedway is Canada's oldest paved automobile racetrack, open since 1952. It is one of only two tracks in Canada running NASCAR late models. Racing runs on the 1/2-mile egg-shaped oval every Friday night from April through September, weather permitting, with occasional bigger races on weekends.
- 11 Centennial Hall, 550 Wellington Street, ☏ . Concerts and events - check the event schedule to see what's on.
- 12 Palace Theatre, 710 Dundas Street East, ☏ . A theatre devoted to primarily classic mainstream revival fare by the amateur London Community Players and musical theatre productions companies with a theatrical season running from October to June. There is also an adjoining smaller secondary venue, The Procunier Hall, for primarily alternative theatre in a more intimate setting. Parking available behind the facility.
- 13 The Spriet Family Theatre, 130 King Street (Upper floor of the Covent Garden Market). 90-seat theatre primarily used by the Original Kids Theatre Company, a youth theatrical educational institution, with occasional independent theatre company rental runs.
- 14 Western Fair. The fair takes place the first two weeks of September. The site is also home to the Western Raceway, for harness racing and 750 slot machines.
- 15 Sunfest (In Victoria Park.). Takes place in July and features top professional world music & dance and jazz ensembles from Canada and abroad. Free admission.
- 16 Donnelly Museum (The Lucan Area Heritage & Donnelly Museum), 171 Main Street, Lucan (in Lucan 25 km north of London), ☏ . May-Oct: Tu-Su 11AM-4PM, also open Mondays on public holidays. Museum about the Black Donnellys and local history. $5.
According to London Tourism, London has "more shopping per capita than anywhere else in North America."
- 1 CityLights bookstore, 356 Richmond Street (between King and York streets), ☏ . One of the best used bookstores to be found anywhere, and a city landmark. A huge selection with a particularly good science fiction section.
- 2 Covent Garden Market, 353 Clarence St, ☏ . London's downtown food and crafts market centre. Retail items include fresh produce, baked goods, bulk foods and small crafts along with eating establishments. There is an upper walkway that includes space for special events, retail outlets and services and arts facilities, including the Spriet Family Original Kids Theatre.
- 3 Grooves Records, 236 Dundas Street, ☏ . London's last downtown independent record store, specializes in new and used vinyl and hard-to-find CDs.
- 4 Heroes Cards and Comics, 186 Dundas St, ☏ . A large downtown collectable store devoted to pop culture genre print media and collectables. There is a wide variety of comics and books to suit any age and taste, toys like action figures, trading sports cards and T-shirts with a knowledgeable sales staff to help with any questions. Easily accessible a few doors east of London Transit's primary downtown bus transfer point at Dundas and Richmond.
- 5 Masonville Shopping Centre, Fanshawe Park Road & Richmond St. one of London's two major malls and anchors the major retail development in the north end. Try also the Hyde Park big-box development, two miles west on Fanshawe Park Road.
- 6 PT Campbell BookDealer, 388 Richmond St (between King and Dundas on the east side), ☏ . M-Th 10AM-6:30PM; F 10AM-8PM; Sa 10AM-6PM. London's family friendly used book store with over 35,000 titles to choose from. Specializing in out-of-print and antique books.
- 7 Speed City Records, 294 Springbank Drive, ☏ . Specializes in punk and metal, with a gigantic, unorganized dollar vinyl section. Surly clerks are right out of Central Casting.
- 8 White Oaks Mall, 1105 Wellington Rd, ☏ . Over 175 stores and services, anchoring a larger big-box retail development stretching up and down Wellington Road between Southdale Road and just south of Highway 401.
Most of the Canadian and North American chain restaurants are represented in London, including The Keg, Kelsey's, Red Lobster, Tony Roma's, Milestones, Swiss Chalet and East Side Mario's. Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain, has about 30 locations within the city.
- 1 Barakat Restaurant, 551 Richmond St, ☏ . Middle Eastern food including fantastic shawarma and falafel. Meals $5-15.
- 2 Ben Thanh, 57 York St, ☏ . At Ridout. Very popular Vietnamese/Thai restaurant with many vegetarian options and reasonable prices. It has a second location at Wellington Road and Southdale in the south end of the city.
- 3 Billy's Deli, 113 Dundas Street (just west of Richmond.), ☏ . Tu-F 7:30AM-2PM; Sa 7:30AM-3PM; Su 9AM-2PM. Great for breakfast, Mennonite-inspired food and good portion sizes. Seasonal desserts are not to be missed and sell out quickly, particularly during strawberry season.
- 4 Covent Garden Market, 130 King Street, ☏ . Great place to get food downtown - over 30 vendors offer food that caters to a wide variety of tastes.
- 5 Prince Albert's Diner, 565 Richmond St, ☏ . Locally famous greasy spoon popular with students and the after-bar crowd. The menu is standard (but good) diner fare, but the milkshakes are terrific.
- 6 Spageddy Eddy's, 428 Richmond St, ☏ . Inexpensive pasta bar popular with students. The pricing is enabled by bulk quantity with the typical servings in large individual bowls.
- 7 Stobie's Pizza, 484 Richmond St, ☏ . A local favourite with great tasting, gigantic slices of pizza. Usually open past 3AM.
- 8 [dead link] Western Meats and Deli, 241 Hamilton Rd (a block east of Adelaide), ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-5PM, Su 11:30AM-3PM. A butcher shop with a grill counter, Western Meats and Deli serves hamburgers, souvlaki, steak sandwickes (New York style or Philly style), chicken fingers, and similar lunches - but only lunches - in generous portions for low prices. Takeout only.
- 9 Black Walnut, 724 Richmond Street, ☏ . M-F 7:30AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 8:30AM-5PM. Great coffee and cakes, but also sandwiches, pies, etc.
- 10 Dragonfly Bistro, 715 Richmond St (South of Oxford, north of the tracks on Richmond), ☏ . Open M-Sa for lunch and dinner. Intimate bistro, good food, reasonable prices. Indonesian cuisine served on Monday evenings.
- 11 Joe Kool's, 595 Richmond St, ☏ . Their slogan, "Minutes from all major hospitals", belies the excellent bar and grill-style food. Great value for money. A local institution.
- 12 Manna Grill, 276 Wharncliffe Road North, ☏ . Authentic Korean dishes and Japanese fare.
- 13 Marienbad Restaurant, 122 Carling St, ☏ . Open since 1974, the Marienbad serves German and Eastern European food in a cozy, old-world atmosphere. Be sure to check out Chaucer's Pub next door as well for London's best selection of beer.
- 14 Raja Fine Dining, 428 Clarence St, ☏ . An excellent Indian restaurant.
- 15 The Church Key, 476 Richmond Street, ☏ . M Tu 11AM-11PM, W Th 11AM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-10PM. Gastro pub, excellent Sunday brunch.
- 16 519 Kitchen (Toboggan), 585 Richmond Street, ☏ . Su-Th noon-11PM, F Sa noon-2AM. In the Tobaggen brewery. They serve pizza, sandwiches, fonduata, etc. And they can pair you food with the right beer. $15 dishes.
- 17 Los Lobos, 580 Talbot Street, ☏ . Tu-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 5PM-11PM. Tex Mex, does not take reservations. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Tacos and tostadas $5 each, small plates $5-15, burritos $14, "Forty-Dollar Nachos" $40.
- 18 Gigis Spice Corner, 1761 Oxford St E, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Indian restaurant.
- 19 [dead link] Bertoldi's Trattoria, 650 Richmond St, ☏ . At Pall Mall. Traditional Italian family-run trattoria. Noted for wood-oven pizzas and one of the best Italian wine selections in London. Great service.
- 20 The Black Trumpet, 523 Richmond St, ☏ . M-Sa from 11:30AM, closed statutory holidays. If money is no object, the Black Trumpet is the place to go. Widely considered the top fine dining restaurant in London. $35 main.
- 21 Armouries Grille, 325 Dundas St, ☏ . Hotel restaurant well known for having an excellent Sunday brunch, including waffles, omelettes, and a sauteed shrimp station. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- 22 Michael's on the Thames, 1 York St, ☏ . Essentially unchanged since the day it opened in 1983, Michael's is a classical fine dining experience popular with an older crowd.
- 23 Shiki Japanese Restaurant, 715 Wellington Road South (near Southdale), ☏ . This popular place serves fresh and delicious authentic Japanese fare. A rare find and a perfect place for a friendly lunch meeting or romantic dinner date.
- 24 Craft Farmacy, 499 Wharncliffe Road South, ☏ . Tu-F 11:30-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su 11AM-10PM. Local imaginative craft food. A dozen craft beers on taps, interesting cocktails. $20 mains.
- 25 The Coffeehouse, 754 Dundas Street, ☏ . Eclectic yet cozy atmosphere.
- 26 Vietnam Restaurant, 1074 Dundas Street E (across from Kellogg Lane), ☏ . Do not let the dive atmosphere or the industrial neighbourhood fool you - Vietnam Restaurant has authentic and excellent Vietnamese cuisine.
- 27 The Waltzing Weasel, 1324 Adelaide St. N, ☏ . Authentic English pub food and a wide selection of ales.
- 28 Milestones Bar and Grill, 1680 Richmond St. North, ☏ . A warm, cozy atmosphere and homestyle cuisine.
- 29 Beer Town, 109 Fanshawe Park Road East, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 11:30AM-midnight. Good food and lots of great beers.
Generally, the locals head to the bars and clubs around 10-11PM and stay until closing time at 2:30AM (last call is at 2AM). Cover charges are minimal ($5-10) or nil, while drink prices are relatively reasonable.
- 1 Barney's, 671 Richmond St, ☏ . A very entertaining bar with good crowds, reasonable drink prices, and pleasant staff. The patio is extremely popular in summer, expect long lines.
- 2 Call the Office, York & Clarence, ☏ . Live rock music five nights a week, CTO is the anchor of London's independent music scene. Retro night on Sundays is extremely popular.
- 3 The Ceeps, 671 Richmond St. Officially the CPR Hotel, the Ceeps has been in existence since 1890 and has never stopped being one of the most popular UWO bars. The local joke is "your grandfather drank here, your father drank here, and your son someday will too".
- 4 Chaucer's Pub, 122 Carling St, ☏ . London's largest selection of beer, specializing in Eastern European lagers and ales. The old-world atmosphere is unique in the city, featuring a gigantic stone fireplace, no TVs, and music provided only by a piano.
- 5 The Bungalow, 910 Waterloo St, ☏ . 11:30AM-midnight. Build-your-own-burgers, wine and draught beer in the heart of London's historic Old North neighbourhood. $10-15.
- 6 Lavish, 238 Dundas St. London's only LGBT club. Can be fun but monotonous at times.
- 1 [dead link] Fanshawe Conservation Area (Camping), 1424 Clarke Road (accessible by public transit on weekends by taking bus #400, otherwise transportation required), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Popular campsite run by local conservation authority. Usually fully booked on holiday weekends. $39+ per site per night.
- 2 Staybridge Suites, 824 Exeter Rd, ☏ . Near Highway 401 on the south edge of town. All suite hotel. Full kitchens (including dishwasher), jacuzzi, breakfast and dinner buffet is included for around $100. Excellent value. London's #1 rated hotel on TripAdvisor.
- 3 Hampton Inn London Ontario, 840 Exeter Rd (Near Highway 401 on the south edge of town), ☏ .
- 4 Country Inn & Suites, 774 Baseline Rd E (Across from Victoria hospital and therefore usually quite quiet), ☏ . Rooms typically start around $70..
- 5 Delta London Armouries, 325 Dundas St, ☏ . Downtown. Converted from an armoury built in 1905. Indoor pool, whirlpool and children's splash pool, plus saunas and a fitness room. Excellent Sunday brunch ($25pp, reservations recommended). Pet-friendly. Rooms start at $180 per night.
- 6 Doubletree by Hilton London Ontario, 300 King St, ☏ . Downtown. Fitness room and pool. Rooms start at $140 per night.
London is a very safe city for the most part. There is urban blight on Dundas Street east of Adelaide and in the surrounding neighbourhood, but the downtown area is generally safe.
- 7 Central London Public Library, 251 Dundas Street, ☏ . Closed Sunday. All London library branches (there are 16 throughout the city) offer free computer/internet access for 90 minutes a day. WiFi access requires a London Library card.
- Grand Bend and the Pinary 70 km NW of London.
- The beautiful town of St. Marys is located north of London.
- Stratford, home of the Shakespeare Festival from May to October, is about 60 km north of London and is a great day trip for theatre-goers.
- Toronto, the multicultural capital of Ontario, is about 200 km east.
- Detroit, Michigan, is about 190 km south-west.
- Niagara Falls, Ontario; Niagara Falls, New York; and Buffalo, New York are about 200 km north-east.
|Routes through London|
|END ← Sarnia ←||W E||→ St. Marys → Kitchener|
|Windsor ← Chatham-Kent ←||W E||→ Ingersoll → Toronto|
|Windsor ← Chatham-Kent ←||W E||→ Ingersoll → Toronto|
|Port Huron ← becomes ← Sarnia ←||W E||→ END|
|Clinton ← Lucan ←||N S||→ St. Thomas → Port Stanley|