London Ontario Attractions and Events – From Music to Shopping to Theatres and Sports

Halfway between Toronto and Detroit, Michigan, on the banks of the Thames River is the city of London Ontario. London’s population growth continues today, now surpassing 460,000 residents, many of whom are drawn from rural southern Ontario communities such as Sarnia, Guelph, Chatham and Waterloo. The region’s economic growth was strongly spurred by the transportation industry. Many trucking firms have London as an important strategic location for their operations. The highway 401 corridor is Canada’s busiest transportation route.

First settled in 1801, the city of London has become a dynamic city and the hometown of many business and entertainment celebrities. Famous residents include Hollywood actors Rachel Macadams, Ryan Gossling, Hume Cronyn, and Kate Nelligan, sports stars Eric Lindros and Joe Thornton, environmentalist David Suzuki, country singer Tommy Hunter, Skip Prokop of the band Lighthouse, brewing magnates John Labatt and Thomas Carling, and Ted Gianoulos known as the San Diego Chicken.

Things to Do in London

You’ll love strolling the charming streets, unique attractions and old world charm of London, Ontario. There are several large malls for great shopping. There is also plenty of old architecture at more than 100 historic sites. Notable buildings in the city include the London Armouries, Friar’s Street Bridge, The Federal Government Building, Middlesex County Court House and the St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica. The Fanshawe Pioneer village contains a replica pioneer village depicting life in 18th century village of London.

Victoria Park

Located in the heart of London is the city’s largest park. It even has its own web site. Victoria Park is more than 18 acres in area, which is a just a portion of the original site of the 32nd British Regiment Garrison and Cricket Grounds. Its military past can be seen in the military equipment you’ll see there including canons, tanks and war cenotaphs. Look for bands playing at the bandshell in summer and ice skating on the rink. The International Food Festival held in June, offers plenty of culinary tastes for the whole family. 60 local restaurants highlight their cuisine.

Festivals in London

London also offers many festivals throughout the year including the London International Children’s Festival, Home County Folk Festival, Taste of London Festival, and the London Ribfest which is the second largest rib festival in North America. If music is your interest, Sunfest, a World music and culture festival happens in early July at Victoria Park. This years festival, the TD Canada Trust Sunfest ’08 will showcase more than 200 unique food & crafts exhibitors along with 30 top professional world music & dance and jazz bands.

For live theatre, try the Grand Theatre where you can buy dinner and theatre packages for plays and musicals. The London Fringe Festival in first two weeks of August attracts innovative performing artists for unique shows.

Live music is big in London. Top spots to hear great live music are Call the Office on York Street, Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub, and the Richmond Tavern on Richmond Street, along with the Embassy Hotel. Major music groups and performers entertain at the Labatt Centre downtown. Tickets can be purchased from the Labatt Centre website or

London Restaurants

Keeping on the live experience of London, there are a good number of restaurants offering good food, fine wine and ale. Archie’s Seafoods has several locations across the city, and for fine dining, you may want to try Michael’s on the Thames, Blue Ginger lounge & grille, Auberge du Petit Prince, Volker’s on Hyde Park and the Armouries Grille Restaurant downtown.

London can make a great spot for a weekend getaway for a couples or the whole family with comfortable hotels and festivals, it will be a great summer vacation.

Gord Collins enthusiastically shares the news about Canada’s best travel experiences including London hotels, attractions and festivals in London Ontario.