London, Ontario

From Academic Kids

Template:Canadian City

London is a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada on the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor with a metropolitan area population of about 447,286; the city proper has a population of about 351,267 (2004). It was settled in 1826 and incorporated as a city in 1855. London and the surrounding area (roughly, the territory between Kitchener and Chatham) are collectively known as Western Ontario. London is known as the "Forest City" due to its large areas of parkland and extensive tree cover.



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St. Peter's Cathedral Basilica, seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London

Prior to European contact in the 17th century, the present site of London was occupied by numerous Algonquin and Iroquois villages; the Algonquin village at the forks of Askunessippi (the Thames River) was called Kotequogong. This site was selected as the site of the future capital of Upper Canada by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1793, who named it after London, England. However, the choice was rejected by Governor Dorchester, who commented sardonically that access to London would be limited to hot-air balloons. In 1814 there was a skirmish during the War of 1812 in what is now south London. The city itself was not founded until 1826, and never became the capital envisioned by Simcoe. It was part of the Talbot Settlement, overseen by Colonel Thomas Talbot, who surveyed the land and built the first government buildings for the administration of the Western Ontario region. With the rest of southwestern Ontario which was part of this settlement it benefited from Talbot's provisions for building and maintaining roads and for assignment of priority for access to main roads to productive land (rather than to Crown and clergy reserves, which received preference in the rest of Ontario). London remained a centre of strong Tory support during the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, with a large British garrison stationed there, although there was a brief rebellion led by Charles Duncombe.

In the 1860s, sulphur hot springs were discovered at the forks of the Thames River while industrialists were drilling for oil. The springs became a popular destination for wealthy Ontarians, until the turn of the 20th century when a textile factory was built over them.

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Detail from St. Peter's

While other Protestant cities in Ontario (notably Toronto) remained under the sway of the Orange Order well into the twentieth century, London abandoned sectarianism in the nineteenth. In 1877, Catholic and Protestant Irish in London formed the Irish Benevolent Society, which was open to both Catholics and Protestants and forbade the discussion of Irish politics. The influence of the Orange Order (and of Catholic organizations) quickly waned. The Society survives to this day.

London continued its role as a military centre during the two world wars, serving as the administrative centre for the Western Ontario district. Today there is still an active Garrison Support Unit in the city.

London continues to grow, having amalgamated many of the surrounding communities in 1961 and again in 1993. Intense commercial/residential development is presently occurring in the southwest and northwest areas of the city. Opponents of this development cite urban sprawl and transportation concerns as major issues facing London. The City of London is currently the 11th largest city in Canada and the 5th largest city in Ontario.

Major historical events

  • 1832 - London suffered from an outbreak of cholera.
  • April 13, 1845 - a large fire destroyed much of London, which was at the time filled with mostly wooden buildings. One of the first victims of the fire was the town's only fire engine.
  • May 24, 1881 - the ferry SS Victoria capsized in the Thames River, drowning approximately 200 passengers.
  • July 12, 1883 - the first of the two most devastating floods in London's history killed seventeen people.
  • April 26, 1937 - London's second-worst flood destroyed over 1000 homes and caused millions of dollars in damages, particularly in West London. After repeated floods the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority built Fanshawe Dam to control the level of the Thames; it opened in 1952. Financing came from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
  • 1961 - London annexed many surrounding communities including Byron and Masonville, adding 60,000 people and more than doubling its size.
  • 1961-1985 - High surburban growth accelerated as London grew outward in all directions creating expansive new subdivisions such as Westmount, Oakridge, Whitehills, Pond Mills and White Oaks.
  • 1984 - White Oaks section of South London suffered extensive damage caused by a tornado.
  • 1993 - London annexed the entire Town of Westminster, a large, primarily rural municipality directly south of the city. With this massive annexation, London almost doubled in size again, adding several thousand more residents. London now stretches south to the boundary with Elgin County. The 1993 annexation has made London one of the largest urban municipalities in Ontario.

Law and Government

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Middlesex County Court House, (John Ewart, architect, 1824-1825 Gothic Revival)

The courthouse and jail for Middlesex County are in London. London's mayor is Anne Marie DeCicco. London has fourteen councillors, two representing each of its seven wards. There is also a Board of Control, consisting of four Controllers, and the mayor. Though London has many ties to Middlesex County, it is now "separated" and the two have no jurisdictional overlap.

In the provincial government, London is represented by:

In the federal government, London is represented by:

See also: List of mayors of London, Ontario, Roman Catholic Bishops of London, Ontario


London is in Middlesex County, at the forks of the non-navigable Thames River, almost exactly halfway between Toronto and Detroit. It is located at Template:Coor dm.

Physical geography (area, unique features)

Boer War Memorial, Victoria Park (George Hill, sculptor)
Boer War Memorial, Victoria Park (George Hill, sculptor)

The Thames River dominates London's geography, with the North Thames River and Thames River meeting at the centre of the city known as "The Forks." The North Thames runs through the man-made Fanshawe Lake, located in north-east London. Fanshawe Lake was created by the building of Fanshawe Dam, which was constructed to protect the areas down river from catastrophic flooding which has affected the city on two occasions in the past.

The area was formed during the retreat of the glaciers during the last ice age, which produced areas of marshland, notably the Sifton Bog, as well as some of the most productive areas of farmland in Ontario. The eastern half of the city is generally flat, with gently rolling hills in the west and north. London has the most thunder and lightning storms of any area in Canada.

Major Parks

  • Victoria Park, in central London
  • Harris Park, in central London
  • Gibbons Park, in north London
  • Fanshawe Conservation Area, in east London
  • Springbank Park, in north-west London


Its economy is dominated by locomotive and military vehicle production, insurance, life sciences/biotechnology, and information technology.

Major industries/products

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St. Paul's Cathedral, seat of the Anglican Diocese of Huron


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Detail from St. Paul's

As of 2001, the City of London had 336,539 inhabitants.

Racial make-up

  • White: 87.7%
  • Black: 2.1%
  • Arab: 1.8%
  • South Asian: 1.4%
  • Aboriginal: 1.4%
  • Chinese: 1.3%
  • Latin American: 1.3%

Religious make-up


From Canada 2001 Census data:

  • 79.9% English
  • 2.0% Chinese
  • 1.9% Polish
  • 1.7% Arabic
  • 1.7% French
  • 1.5% Portuguese
  • 1.4% Spanish
  • 1.1% Italian
  • 7.7% Other languages


Crime in London is low for a city of its size, although the Hell's Angels have set up a chapter in town and formerly housed a chapter of the Outlaws. Marijuana is widely available illegally. Ecstasy and special K are uncommon. London has a small crack problem, with the downtown eastside containing some crack houses and dealers. Pharmaceutical drugs, such as morphine, oxycodone and other opiates are increasing in use. The central eastside of the city is thought of as being less safe than other parts of the city, with the adage "EoA" (East of Adelaide) meaning that one is in the bad part of town. However, there has been attempt by the residents of the community East of Adelaide to "own" the term "EoA" as well as promoting business and cultural development in that area of the city.

Teenage gangs, such as the White Oaks Crew, commit minor violent crime, usually towards other teenagers. Hate groups do exist in London, but they are impotent in their actions or speech.


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TD-Canada Trust bank building, Art Deco

London elementary and secondary schools are part of two school boards, the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. See List of schools in London, Ontario.

London is the home of the University of Western Ontario (UWO). UWO was founded in 1878 and is Canada's fourth oldest university. UWO is a vibrant centre of learning with 1,164 faculty members and almost 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The Richard Ivey School of Business, part of UWO, was formed in 1922 and often ranks 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, pre-dating UWO itself; and King's University College, founded in 1957.

London is also the home of Fanshawe College, a community college with an enrolment of approximately 13,000 full-time post-secondary students, including 3,500 apprentices, more than 200 international students from over 34 countries, and almost 40,000 registrants taking part-time continuing education courses each year.

Sports teams

The University of Western Ontario teams play under the name Mustangs. The university's football team plays at TD Waterhouse Stadium.

Labatt Park, which opened in 1877, is also North America's oldest operating baseball park, in its original location.

The Forest City Velodrome, located at the former London Ice House, is the only indoor cycling facility in Ontario and only the third built in North America. It opened in 2005.

Communications and media

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Federal government building, Art Deco

The independent London Telephone Company was bought by the Bell Telephone Company of Canada in 1881. Bell Canada continues to be the incumbent local exchange carrier for London.

London pioneered in the establishment of cable television in Canada, being either the first or second city in Canada with cable service. London had the second operating private television station in Canada, CFPL-TV, on-air on November 28, 1953. It remains the only local TV station in London, and is now part of the CHUM Network.

London also had radio since 1922 when CJGC was established. It joined a Windsor station in early 1933 to become CKLW, but a local station was reestablished late that year, CFPL-AM. A sister FM station was established in 1948, and is now owned by Corus Entertainment. Competitor CKSL started in 1956; a third station, CJOE, was founded in 1967, changing to CJBK in 1970. In addition to one station each with Fanshawe College (CIXX) and UWO (CHRW), other stations are associated with existing stations. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a local studio used primarily for hourly newscasts at the bottom of the hour during the regional morning show.

Until 1937, London had two newspapers: the London Free Press (established 1849) and the London Advertiser. The Advertiser folded in 1937, and there has been no major local competition for the Free Press since then. The Free Press, formerly owned by the Blackburn Family, is now owned by Sun Media. The Free Press also publishes London This Week, free weekly municipal oriented newspaper. Scene Magazine, a free biweekly newspaper, was established in 1989, focusing on local and entertainment news, while The Londoner, a free weekly newspaper founded in 2003, calls itself "London's community newspaper".

Arts and culture

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Government building, detail, Art Deco
  • Museum London is located at the Forks of the Thames; it includes art by Paul Peel and Greg Curnoe
  • Orchestra London, a professional symphony orchestra
  • Fanshawe Pioneer Village, a reconstructed 19th century village
  • Museum of Archaeology, owned by the University of Western Ontario, with a reconstructed Iroquois village
  • McIntosh Gallery, an art gallery on the UWO campus
  • Storybook Gardens, an amusement park/zoo for children
  • Home County Folk Festival - Folk music festival
  • London International Children's Festival, held every summer
  • London Fringe Festival
  • Guy Lombardo Museum
  • Grand Theatre - Professional Theatre with an secondary stage named the McManus Studio.
  • Sunfest - World music and culture festival, second biggest in Canada after Caribana in Toronto.
  • London Balloon Festival - displays of hot air balloons
  • The Western Fair - Agricultural fair
  • Western Fair Raceway, a half-mile (802 m) harness racing track and simulcast centre; despite its name, it operates year-round. The grounds include a casino and an IMAX theatre.
  • John Labatt Centre, arena
  • Labatt Park, baseball park
  • TD Waterhouse Stadium, an all-purpose stadium at the University of Western Ontario
  • Forest City Velodrome, a indoor bicycle track at the former London Ice House
  • Spriet Children's Theatre - Used primarily by The Original Kids theatrical company
  • The Arts Project - art gallery, workshop and theatre.
  • The Boneyard Man - comedic theatre [1] (
  • London Ribfest - Second largest rib festival in North America [2] (
  • London is home of the Canadian Arrow X Prize team.


Notable Londoners

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Bank building, detail, Art Deco

North: Middlesex Centre
West: Middlesex Centre London East: Thames Centre
South: Southwold, Central Elgin

See also

External links

es:London, Ontario de:London (Ontario) fr:London (Ontario) pt:Londres (Ontário) pl:London


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