What is London, Canada known for?

This small city combines engaging museums with bustling markets and beautiful green spaces.

While also located on the banks of the Thames River, the Canadian city of London in southwest Ontario is nowhere near as big as its English counterpart. That being said, it’s still a wonderful city to visit and is located just a short drive from both Detroit and Niagara Falls. 

If you’re wondering what makes London, Ontario a worthy destination, this article offers all the answers. This small city combines engaging museums with bustling markets and beautiful green spaces, as well as a fantastic pioneer village. 

While planning a trip to London, you’ll find plenty of accommodation via this source, which lists rental properties in the Downtown area and beyond. It’s a user-friendly platform for connecting with property owners and enjoying a more personalised London experience. From a comfortable base, you can discover everything that London is known for, as well as some of its hidden gems.

Fascinating museums

Despite its small size, London is home to fantastic museums, including the engaging Museum London. It not only details the area’s rich cultural heritage, including its First Nations history, but also showcases works by regional artists. In addition to Paterson Ewen and Greg Curnoe, the museum exhibits works by the Algonquin School of landscape painters who were active during the 1920s and 1930s. 

Also not to miss is the Musem of Ontario Archaeology, which is home to a reconstructed 16th-century Iroquois village and artefacts that reflect 11,000 years of human occupation in the area. If you’re travelling with kids, be sure to spend a day at the London Children’s Museum where you’ll find a colourful range of hands-on and interactive exhibits. They can experience the conditions of a 19th-century schoolroom and role-play in various industries, as well as delve into the world of science and technology. 

Picturesque green spaces

While exploring London, you’re never far from a green space where you can relax, run around or just soak up the comings and goings. On the banks of the Thames River is Springbank Park, which has been a place of local recreation since the late 19th century. It’s home to landscaped garden beds, children’s play areas, and a historic pumphouse, as well as around 30 kilometres of walking trails. 

Within Springbank Park is one of London’s most beloved family attractions, the Storybook Gardens. Inspired by fairytales and childrens’ stories, it features amusement rides, pint-sized buildings, and a petting zoo. In the summer months, kids can cool off at the splash area and meet some of their favourite costumed characters. To the west of London is Boler Mountain where you can go snow tubing, mountain biking, and tree-top adventuring.

Great markets

Among London’s wonderful markets is one of Canada’s oldest, the Covent Garden Market, which has been taking place in the city since 1835. Located on King Street, it is open seven days a week and is a great place to pick up locally-grown fruits and vegetables, freshly roasted coffee, artisan cheeses, and baked goods. Also among the stalls are handicrafts and gifts with a local flavour. From May to December, some of the stalls are located in the square outside the building, which transforms into a public ice skating rink during the winter months. 

Another market to keep an eye out for is the Soho Street Market, which takes place around the Victoria Tavern. At the Western Fair District Market, you’ll find a range of foodstuffs on the lower level while the upper floor features everything from homemade jewellery to vintage furnishings and local fashion designers. The Gibraltar Market is more of a flea market and the place to head for antiques and collectibles.

Historic buildings

London boasts no shortage of beautiful old buildings, including the 1834-built Eldon House. Join a guided tour to learn about life here in the 19th century, with period furnishings and household objects on display. Also not to miss is St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, which is located in the heart of the Downtown area. 

One of the best places to experience London’s architectural heritage is at the Fanshawe Pioneer Village, an open-air museum where you’ll find a church, school, and farmsteads from the pioneer years. Costumed staff help to bring traditional trades to life and portray everyday activities in London during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rich military past

London was once home to a Canadian Forces Base at the Wolseley Barracks, which has since been transformed into the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum. It exhibits uniforms, weaponry, and equipment dating back to 1833, together with military medals and a cross from Flanders Fields. While browsing the exhibits, you can see a recreated World War I trench and learn about the history of the London and Oxford Fusiliers.

Vintage jet fighters and military planes are exhibited at the Jet Aircraft Museum, which is based at the London International Airport. Also not to miss is the 1st Hussars Museum, a small but impressive collection of objects relating to one of Canada’s first cavalry regiments.