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London Travel Guide
London > Travel Guide > Tourism Information

Located in the middle of Ontario's Shakespeare Country, London is known for its charming streets, unique attractions and old world charm. London is located just at the forks of the Thames River, halfway between Toronto and Detroit, Michigan, making it an easy place to get to and visit. London International Airport and the city’s major train station make access to London easy and the perfect place to visit.

You’ll soon discover that clean air, tree-lined streets, and first class parks and recreation facilities are just a few of the qualities that entice families to London, coupled with its diverse shopping, nightlife, and urban cultural amenities. Family entertainment takes many forms from the lively Covent Garden Market in the heart of the downtown to the ever-popular Storybook Gardens in Springbank Park.

While visiting, you can venture into the city’s past. Visual and performing arts can be enjoyed at one of the city's most popular cultural attractions, The Grand Theatre (with two stages, it presents an outstanding selection of professional productions each year). You may also plan to enjoy the Orchestra London, or the London Regional Art and Historic Museums.

Plus, research what special events are happening while you’re here. And, if you are here during the summer months your visit would not be complete without an authentic Double Decker London (England)-style Bus Tour departing daily from London's City Hall.

Contrary to popular belief, London did not take on the name "Forest City" due to the number of trees in the city. In fact, London is the “Forest City” because of its extensive commitment to green spaces which include bike trails along the banks of the Thames River.

In its early days, London was an isolated destination and one would have to walk through a forest to get there. So it can be said that London was a "city within a forest" and as such earned the nickname "The Forest City." In modern times, however, Londoners have become protective of the trees in the city, protesting "unnecessary" removal of trees. The City Council and tourist industry have created projects to replant trees throughout the city.

The small town atmosphere of London is evident in its beautiful parks and pathways, where you’ll see young and old, families and singles, friends and acquaintances out and about enjoying a nice day.

Green space abounds in and around London with 1,350 hectares of parkland. These parks are perfect spots for picnics, group gatherings and a variety of outdoor pursuits. For those who like the active life, London serves up a wide variety of activities to suit all abilities. From family skating downtown to skiing on Boler Mountain, winter holds lots of fun.

In summer, enjoy the abundance of festivals in the downtown core, enjoy cycling along approximately 22 kilometers of paved bike paths along the Thames River. For specific routes, look at their web site that is full of detailed information.

London boasts many natural areas throughout the city that are open year-round, including: Kilally Meadows, Meadowlily Woods, Medway Valley Heritage Forest, Sifton Bog, Warbler Woods, and Westminster Ponds.

Natural areas are wetlands, meadows, forests, valley lands and other relatively undisturbed lands that are home to many different plants and wildlife. Some contain rare plants, wildlife or landforms, or have features characteristic of the region before European settlement, or are especially large or diverse in habitat. Many natural areas are considered environmentally significant on a local, regional, provincial or even national scale.

For the sports spectator, great sports facilities can also be found in the Forest City.
There is hockey, football, baseball, college sports, harness racing at Western Fair Raceway, and a spectacular annual air show. The London Knights, a Junior “A” Hockey team, play at the new John Labatt Centre in downtown London and the Western Mustangs football team attracts a faithful following to fall games, held at the new TD Waterhouse stadium.

Parklands and tourist attractions aside, London is a thriving city, evident of its skyscrapers in its skyline. The economy of London is based on a growing business sector that includes:

  • Manufacturing
  • Information technology
  • Insurance
  • Life sciences and biotechnology (much of this research is spurred on by the University of Western Ontario)

The city of London also features world-class medical facilities. A great deal of locomotive and military vehicle production happens here: Electro-Motive Diesels, Inc. (formerly General Motors' Electro-Motive Division) now builds all its locomotives in London. General Dynamics Land Systems also builds armored personnel carriers here. The London Life Insurance Company was founded here.

The headquarters of the Canadian division of 3M are located in London and both the Labatt and Carling breweries were founded here. Kellogg's also has a major factory in London.

London has an academically rich atmosphere, as it is the home to two post-secondary institutions: the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and Fanshawe College, a community college. London is also home to the unaccredited Westervelt College and the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART), one of North America's most respected audio schools.

The University of Western Ontario was founded in 1878 and has 1,164 faculty members and almost 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It has consistently placed in the top five in the annual Maclean's magazine rankings of Canadian universities.

The Richard Ivey School of Business, part of UWO, was formed in 1922 and has been ranked among the best business schools in the world. UWO has three affiliated colleges:

  • Brescia University College, founded in 1919, Canada's only university-level women's college
  • Huron University College, founded in 1863 (thus pre-dating UWO itself)
  • King's University College, founded in 1954

Huron and King's are liberal-arts colleges with religious affiliations, Huron with the Anglican Church of Canada and King's with the Roman Catholic Church.

Fanshawe College has an enrollment of approximately 13,000 students, including 3,500 apprentices and more than 200 international students from over 34 countries, as well as almost 40,000 registrants in part-time continuing education courses.

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