Opportunities & London Living

London Living


London is a city of over 400,000 individuals from diverse backgrounds. The traditional territory has a long history of Indigenous settlements and currently is closest to the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation (part of the Anishinaabe), Oneida Nation of the Thames (Haudenosaunee), and Leni-Lunaape Peoples (also referred to as Delaware or Munsee). Visible minorities comprise 16% of London. The diversity fosters a rich array of cultural venues, summer fairs, culinary treats, and vibrancy.

London has opened its doors and hearts to many refugees. The Cross Cultural Learner Center has sponsored and supported the resettlement of refugees since the 1970s.

There's no better Time in London, Ontario


London is called the Forest City given its extensive park network. The most central is Victoria Park, home to festivals throughout the summer, outdoor skating, and fireworks displays. Cutting through the city is a 40 km walk and bicycle pathway that follows the Thames River and reaches north to Western’s campus, east and west through Springbank Park, Thames Valley Parkway (Trail map). Colleagues bicycle to work and enjoy strolling along the Thames. Additional extensive bicycle paths can be found at Fanshawe Conservation land, and hiking paths at Medway, and further afield at Komoka Park. Paths at Westminster Ponds lead from Parkwood Institute. There are 150 km of bike and hiking trails in the city and 330 km of cycling commuting paths.

Family Life

Families enjoy a strong school system and safe neighborhoods. There are four public school boards, Thames Valley District School Board, London District Catholic School Board, French first-language Conseil Scolaire Vaimonde and Couseil Scolaire Catholique Providence. Some of the schools rank among the top across all of Ontario and Canada. Within the schools are a wealth of extracurricular activities to enrich the educational offerings. 

Families can take advantage of seeing the night sky through Western’s telescopes at Cronyn Observatory.
Whatever one’s interest, there are likely like-minded Londoners to support your quest. There are numerous clubs (garden, Rotary, volleyball, dance, women’s, etc.) and other community-based ways to get involved.

While all cities witness some crime, London’s statistics are reassuring. People feel safe walking around downtown at night

There are many neighborhoods throughout London that people enjoy. These are described statistically, but time is needed to fully appreciate all that they have to offer. Londoners invest in their neighborhoods, which adds significantly to the sense of community.

London features our own Western University, with three affiliated colleges, Brescia, Huron, and King’s, in addition to Ivy Business School. In addition, Fanshawe College sponsors a range of academic and trade experiences. Western University and Fanshawe College collaborate on nursing and other programs of study.
Family activities include attending sport events such as London Majors baseball and London Knights hockey games, both of which are easily accessible downtown. One can also engage in a wide range of sports including scuba lessons, kayaking, and soccer.

Getting Outdoors

The park network is extensive and easily accessible. In addition, there nearly 20 public and private golf courses from which to choose. A bit further afield is Pelee Island, home of rare migratory birds.

Extraordinary wildlife can be seen in and around London. Birds include large, predatory birds such as bald eagles, vultures, snowy owls, great horned owls, and great blue herons, as well as tiny hummingbirds and much in between. Coyotes can be seen swimming the Thames River. Beavers make their lodges a bit further from London and deer visit backyards along the myriad parks.

Activities are available year-round. In the summer, one can kayak in the Thames or canoe local lakes. Fall brings hiking and winter fosters skating, snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing. Spring starts the cycling season. A perfect example is Boler Mountain. Located within London, it offers tree top climbing, ziplining, and mountain biking and skiing and tubing in the winter.

For the archeology buffs, Rock Glen Conservation area, 30 minutes from downtown, features fossils 350 million years old. The fossils can be seen where water has eroded away the soil.

Dinning Wonderful eateries can be found throughout the city. The range of cuisines is broad and reflects the diversity of the city. Delicious Afghani, Canadian, Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek, Hungarian, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Nigerian, Thai, and Ukrainian restaurants abound. There is also a range of venues, from food trucks to fine dining, all downtown.

There are also delicious bakeries with buttery croissants and favored key lime donuts.


The Canadian Games Aquatic Centre is an impressive facility. There are also community centres, gyms, and clubs that support pickle board, curling, and golf. In addition to outdoor skating rinks, there are many indoor rinks that support every level of play.

If Paintball is of interest, there are several facilities, one that includes axe throwing. There are bowling alleys and many Escape rooms as well.

Western Student Recreation Centre (WSRC)

This $35 million state-of-the-art facility was made possible by the largest student donation in history at a Canadian university.

Features include:
• 20,000 square-foot fitness centre with more than 200 cardio machines
• Eight-lane, 50-metre pool
• Squash/racquetball courts
• Five gymnasiums

Membership includes access to:

  • Group fitness classes
  • Fitness Centre
  • Drop-in gym activities


There are two main farmers’ markets in town, the Market at Western Fair and Covent Garden Market, located in the heart of the city. These provide an opportunity to connect with local farm groups and enjoy fresh cooking. Homemade cheeses and breads, locally grown vegetables, and freshly sourced meats are available.


Boutique shops are found along Richmond Street and scattered throughout Wortley Village, Byron, and other neighborhoods. In addition, there are two major shopping malls, Masonville Mall and White Oaks. Beyond Indigo Books, there are also treasured used book stores scattered across the city.


Summertime means festivals in downtown London. A partial listing of annual events includes London Dance Festival, Trackside Music Festival, Canada Day Celebrations, TD Sunfest (fantastic music from around the world, second largest in Canada), Pride London Festival, Home County Music & Art Festival, Latin Gastronomy Festival, London Ribfest (second largest in North America), Forest City Beer Fest (featuring local craft breweries), and Pawlooza (dogs). Along with many of these festivals are regional craft makers showcasing their wares.


There are extensive dance opportunities including hip hop in the park, Chinese dance groups, traditional Indian dance troupes.


The music scene is rich and varied in London. There are superb symphony orchestras to enjoy, London Symphonia, as well as an array of venues such as London Music Hall, London Music Club and others. Traditional musically groups and lessons are also widely available.

Budweiser Gardens hosts headline concerts as well as an annual summer concert series, Rock the Park.
Within our own Department, there are some fabulous musicians. Our annual Winterfest often boasts our own musicians.


With a diverse cultural mix comes an active spiritual life of a city. London has active communities of many faith backgrounds including Baha’i, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Greek Orthodox, Hinduism, Judaism, Moslem, Russian Orthodox and others.


The main stage theater downtown is the Grand Theater London, which starts each season with a production in collaboration with local high school students. In nearby Stratford, Ontario, there is the world-renown Stratford Festival, replete with a summer’s full of different productions across a multitude of venues.


There are established and pop-up crafting opportunities. There is a diverse group of pottery making collectives, as well as pop-up painting evenings supported in conjunction will local establishments.


Homes in London provide elegant examples of classic Italianate, Romanesque, Edwardian, Queen Anne, Prairie, and Ontario Cottage architecture. These are well-balanced with modern, open concept home designs.


In addition to art galleries sprinkled across the city, the Museum London has an eclectic permanent collection. It sponsors art classes and other community engagement activities. Located on the Thames, its restaurant offers a lovely view of the riverbanks. It is free the public. In addition, there is the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Neutral Nation village, Royal Canadian Reigiement Museaum, London Regional Children’s Museum, and Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. There are many Heritage Sites, including Eldon House and the Banting House National Historic Site of Canada (home of the discoverer of insulin).

Nearby Attractions

The most magnificent natural attraction is Niagara Falls, just over two hours away. Nearby Niagara on Avon hosts the Shaw Theater festival during the summer months. Along the way, one can stop at local wineries to sample Ontario grapes.

We are fortunate to be surrounded by the beauty of lakes Erie, Huron and Ontario. Many towns and recreation spots dot these lakes that can serve as retreats from the busy workweeks. The beaches are beautiful year-round. Two favorite nearby beaches include Port Stanley and Grand Bend.

Toronto, two hours by car or train, is the largest nearby Canadian city. It boasts a marvelous museum, orchestra, other cultural attractions, as well as shopping.

Getting Around

The bus service in London is extensive and efficient. Bus tickets can be purchased at City Hall and local outlets. In addition, there are trains available to Toronto and west to Windsor.

Our local airport, London International Airport has flights to several Canadian cities such as Toronto and Edmonton, well as Detroit and Buffalo, for ease of connections.

There is a van service to local airports, Robert Q Airbus.


While all communities have been affected by the virus, London was relatively spared due to the robust management by the hospitals. Equally important, however, was the community’s response. People cared about each other so actively followed public health recommendations early and consistently. This speaks to the sense of community and collaboration, both of which are hallmarks of life in London.