15 Best Things to Do in London (Ontario, Canada)

While London does have the River Thames, Covent Garden Market and Piccadilly, don’t mistake it for the London of England. Instead, this London is a much smaller city in southwestern Ontario, surrounded by woodland and farmland. In fact, it is called “Forest City” because it was originally formed by clearing land in the middle of the forest.

Today, the rectangular city is one of Ontario’s largest cities and consists of commercial and residential areas. It also has many landmarks and attractions, as well as a variety of things to do. When visiting this part of Canada, London should not be overlooked as it has so much to offer.

Let’s explore the best things to do in London, Canada:

1. Go to the park

Victoria Par during SunFest

The 7.3-hectare Victoria Park is one of London’s main gathering places. The park was designed as a British military base and cricket ground in 1874, but today is a recreation center.

Victoria Park hosts many events each year and features a bandstand, skate park and ice rink. It also has many monuments such as monuments, plaques for veterans and the Boer War Memorial.

A fun activity that can be enjoyed in the park is squirrel fishing due to the large population of eastern grey squirrels in the park. If you’ve never tried it before, this is a must.

2. Go to church

St. Peter's Basilica

The historic St. Peter’s Basilica dates back to August 1834, although the original log structure burned down in 1845. What stands now is a magnificent 13th-century French Gothic Revival church, built in 1851.

The cathedral features beautiful stained glass windows and a Casavant organ. In 1958, the facade of the Petronas Twin Towers, Madame Chapel and stunning interior paintings were added.

St Peter’s Basilica is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London. It is possible to visit all day and even attend Mass.

3. Understanding the Birth of Insulin

Banting House

Banting House is the former home of Dr. Frederick Banting; inventor of insulin. Today, the house is a museum dedicated to his life and his discoveries about insulin.

In 1997, Banting House became a National Historic Site of Canada. The museum houses his desk, medicine cabinet and personal artwork.

Visit the museum and learn about the birth of insulin by viewing the artefacts and pharmacists used to make this amazing drug. Nearby Banting Square is also worth a visit, with its gardens, life-size statue of the Doctor, the Fire of Hope and a giant globe.

4. Go to museums

London Museum

London has some great museums that any history or art lover should visit. Among them, the London Museum is the most popular.

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The London Museum houses more than 5,000 works of art and 45,000 artifacts. Much of the collection is created by local artists, but there are also many works exhibited by the famous Group of Seven.

The Ontario Museum of Archaeology, the Royal Canadian Legion Museum and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame are also good places to visit. If you’re visiting London with kids, be sure to check out the London Regional Children’s Museum.

5. Have fun at the event

sun festival

London hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. Depending on your time in the city, these will make your visit more fun and exciting.

Sunfest, held every July, is the second largest world music event in the country! It’s held in Victoria Park and, in addition to live music, has food from all over the world.

When it comes to food, the London Rib Festival is another must-see for foodies. If theatre is your thing, visit London during the London Fringe Festival in June.

6. Visit a brewery

Rabat

Canada’s largest brewery (Labatt) is headquartered in London and can be visited all year round. The entire tour takes about 2 hours to complete, including samples.

Visits to the brewery must be booked in advance, which is easy to book via email. Anyone can join the tour, but you must be of legal drinking age to enjoy a beer sample.

There are also a number of small breweries in London that offer tours, such as the family-run Anderson Craft Ales and Toboggan Brewing Company. If you want to visit an alcohol-free brewery, visit Booch Organic Kombucha.

7. Explore Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden Market

Dating back to 1845, Covent Garden Market is a London gem, no different from the famous market in the UK city of the same name. The market is a landmark filled with stalls selling fresh meat, fruits and vegetables.

As well as selling raw food, Covent Garden Market also has restaurants, bakeries, bars and delis. You can also buy flowers, local handicrafts and chocolates to end your day with a massage.

From May to December, the market takes it outdoors through an outdoor farmers market. Taste fresh produce and chat with the farmers themselves about their passions.

8. Go to the game

Delaware Speedway

Just minutes west of London is the Delaware Speedway, which happens to be one of the oldest continuously operating racetracks in Canada. The speedway opened in 1952 and has hosted many races since then.

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The Delaware Speedway has races every Friday night between April and September. It is also home to a museum that showcases original posters, programs and photos of the competitions held here.

Today, the track hosts seven different race divisions, as well as Bone Stock Chaos Cars. It also hosts major races including the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, ARCA Series, CASCAR Super Series and NASCAR Whelen Tuning Tour.

9. Enjoy long walks

Thames Valley Walk

The 109km Thames Valley Walk runs along the Thames and North Thames. The trail is paved and runs through some of London’s parks, including Gibbons Park and Springbank Park.

The trail stretches from Delaware to St. Mary’s, passing through London along the way. It’s marked regularly to make it easy for you to find your way.

The Thames Valley Walk is a lovely hike and a great way to spend the day. It offers stunning views of the valley and other highland areas. Group excursions are offered, or you can enjoy yourself.

10. Jump into the storybook

Storybook Garden

Storybook Gardens is a family-friendly amusement park that will make you and your kids feel as if they’ve jumped into a storybook. The park is open year-round and has numerous attractions.

Rides, games, entertainment and even animals can be enjoyed at Storybook Gardens. You can even watch a play, explore the vegetable garden and ride a buggy.

Many of the park’s attractions are based on fairy tales, including Humpty Dumpty, the Old Woman Who Lives in Shoe, and the Three Men in the Bathtub. In winter you can go ice skating, while in summer the splash park is open.

11. Play golf, water slide or go rock climbing

East Park Golf

All of this (and more) can be done at East Park Golf. The golf course/amusement park is great for the whole family and can be enjoyed by everyone.

The golf course is an 18 hole course designed by Robbie Robinson, it is beautiful and a great place to play. In fact, it is often voted the best golf course in London.

If golfing isn’t your thing, head to the amusement park section of East Park Golf. There, you can rock climb, ride in bumper cars, go karting or cool off at the water park.

12. Use your phone for self-guided tours

Middlesex County Building

Download the Heart of London app to your phone and let your personal guide take you around the city, telling stories along the way. Stroll along the river, through the city center, and visit all the major sights.

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The app has 90 minutes of reviews, including 28 stories about the history of some of the best sites in London. These include Eldon House, Middlesex House, London Museum and Rabat Park.

The app also tells you stories about historic moments in the city, such as the Battle of the Atlantic and the city’s first ever hanging! It’s a fun and informative way to see the city on your own.

13. Go to the beach

port stanley

London itself has no beaches, but is located in Port Stanley, about 40km south of the city. Located on the north shore of Lake Erie, this port community is a great place to spend a sunny day.

Port Stanley has two large sandy beaches, both named “Blue Beaches”. There are restaurants by the beach and accommodation for those who want to stay overnight.

The village also has numerous shops and marinas, as well as a suspension bridge across Kettle Creek. Likewise, Port Stanley has some lovely historic buildings, so it’s worth exploring.

14. Spend the night in nature

Dalewood Reserve

There are two conservation camps not far from London where nature lovers can truly immerse themselves in nature. Both areas offer camping from March to October.

The Dalewood Reserve consists of 25 hectares of wetlands. It has 200 campsites, 12 kilometers of hiking trails and an outdoor swimming pool.

The 10-hectare Whitaker Lake Reserve is located along the shores of Whitaker Lake and features two beaches, a public boat launch and canoe rentals. It also has 205 campgrounds, some of which are serviced and some not.

15. Back in Time

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

Step back in time at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. This open-air museum uses historical reenactment to tell the history of the rural communities that were once in the area.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village sits on approximately 19 hectares of land and consists of 33 buildings, some of which are original and some are replicas. It also houses over 25,000 artifacts.

The village is divided into four areas, each representing a different period in the development of the area. The dates are from 1820 to 1920, and the buildings and staff dressed in the costumes of the time show what life was like.

Where to stay: The best hotels in London, Canada
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