If you’re visiting London, Ontario, be sure to check out some of the magnificent parks. Yes, there parks here – a lot of them, actually. London is located in the southwestern part of Ontario with a population of about 366,000 people. Known mostly for the arts and its superior educational system (i.e. Fanshawe College), it also boasts some of the best parks you’ll find in Ontario.
This park is considered to be one of the most important designed parks of the 19th century. Spanning 6-hectares, it’s truly a rare find – especially in the middle of a city. It’s estimated that roughly 1 million visitors come to Victoria Park for its festivals and special events.
Something new that’s been added, the Veterans Memorial Garden, is worth checking out too. If you like skating, there’s a free outdoor ice skating park during the winter months. During the summer, you can skateboard here from spring until fall.
Originally, the Pringbank park was developed around the waterworks facility in the 19th century. The park was bought by the city of London in 1874 to make use of its abundant fresh spring water. However, Springbank has become one of Canada’s best urban parks. It’s massive – at roughly 300 acres, it offers pretty much everything from woodlands to formal gardens. It also has a nice family attraction: Storybrook Gardens.
The park also houses the Springbank Gardens where you’ll find a cluster of buildings decorated with beautiful landscaping and another area consisting of scenic trails. The former is perfect for special events like outdoor weddings, while the latter is perfect for a weekend adventure.
Best of all, this park is open all year round from dawn until dusk. All of its walkways are part of a 30 km system that it used by cyclists, runners, strollers, and roller-bladers. There’s also a picnic area, a nice merry-go-round, and of course seasonal flowers for you and your kids to enjoy.
Picnics are especially nice here, and an inexpensive way to celebrate birthdays or just a weekend holiday.
Fork of the Thames
Fork of the Thames was originally chosen by Graves Simcoe as the future capital of Upper Canada in 1973. However, things didn’t go exactly as planned and the Fork became the main settling point for modern-day London.
As the name suggests, this is where the north and south branches of the Thames river meet, and it’s also where the oldest functioning baseball park in the world is located (Labatt Park). The park is located on the west end of the downtown area. The Fork is made up of several interconnected parks and includes the Peace Garden, Harris Park, and Ivey Park. There’s formal gardens here too if you’re looking for a place to get married.
On Canada Day, there’s a celebration held here, linking the past and the present. The redevelopment of the area expanded the parkland and pathway areas. Water play for children, and various displays for adults provide a nice walkthrough history lesson about London’s first settlement.
Eldon House, London’s oldest residence is within spitting distance of the Fork as well as the city’s latest and greatest sports complex.
Chris McMahon is a travel consultant. He never misses a chance to visit Canada and he enjoys sharing his travel stories through blogging. Visit the London hotels link for more travel ideas.