London, Ontario: The Forest City

By: Alissa Krafft, Tourism London

London has earned its moniker as “The Forest City” thanks to its beautiful scenery and abundance of trees all throughout the city. In my time here, it has been exciting to discover the lush parks and scenic trails that make London a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Let me guide you through some of my favourite unique natural areas, hidden gems and cozy accommodations.

 London’s Environmentally Significant Areas

Sifton bogIt’s easy to find natural retreats among London’s busy city life due to the many designated Environmentally Significant Areas. Sifton Bog is one of the most popular, with a 370-metre-long boardwalk leading from the parking lot to a beautiful viewing platform situated right in the centre of the bog. If you’re lucky, you might even spy a Midland Painted Turtle or a White-tailed Deer.

Westminster Ponds, my personal favourite, is another great spot to be surrounded by nature. The sounds of the city transform into the gentle chirping of birds as you take a scenic walk around Saunders Pond. The diversity of habitats makes this an optimal place to view over 200 recorded species of birds, including Green Herons, Black-capped Chickadees and Blue-headed Vireo. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventurous exploration, London’s Environmentally Significant Areas have something for everyone.

Victoria Park and Thames Valley Parkway

Strap on your helmet, hop on your trusty bike and set off to explore the vibrant parks of London; it’s an adventure you won’t want to miss! Victoria Park, located in Downtown London, is the perfect place to start, with its colourful flowerbeds, tall trees and the nearby Bicycle Café. Featuring bicycle retail and repairs, a cute atmosphere and of course some great coffee, this unique café is a must-see!

From here, continue on your journey to the Thames Valley Parkway, London’s most popular and extensive multi-purpose path system. The Thames Valley Parkway winds its way beside the banks of the Thames River and extends into neighbourhoods all throughout London, making it the perfect retreat for anyone seeking serenity on a peaceful ride. The gentle breeze and calm waters allow you to experience the simple joys of the Forest City.

Thrills and Adventure at Boler Mountain

person doing a ropes course / personne effectuant un parcours d'escaladeFor those looking for a more exhilarating outdoor experience, Boler Mountain offers thrills and breathtaking views. Sitting on over 120 acres of greenspace, it offers some of the best cross-country terrain in Ontario. Boler operates and maintains five trails: a beginner, intermediate and two expert mountain biking trails. There is also a walking fitness trail for those who prefer to remain on foot. The winters at Boler Mountain are also action packed with skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and festive lodge activities. Not to mention the snowy hills are oh so scenic. I’ve made many memories, from the sunny days of summer to the snowy landscapes of winter; no matter the season, there’s always an abundance of fun waiting to be had!

Golf Getaways

Golf course / Terrain de golf London is proud of our pristine golf courses with a perfect blend of natural beauty and challenging gameplay. East Park Golf is an 18-hole par 62 course that I love as it’s an easy walking course and more forgiving to beginners like me.

For the more experienced golfers looking for a challenge, you’ll find that London also has plenty of options for you. The two municipal owned and operated courses in the city, Thames Valley Golf Club and Fanshawe Golf Course are great spots to start if you’re visiting from out of town. Thames Valley Golf Club is right beside the Thames Valley Parkway, giving you access to some stunning photo opportunities. Those looking for an extra challenging round will find that Firerock Golf Club has a scenic and diverse terrain, presenting an exciting test of skill. Located just minutes outside of the city, Firerock is the ultimate course for some secluded serenity.

With a variety of comfortable accommodations nearby like The Best Western Lamplighter Inn, The Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown, and Four Points by Sheraton it’s easy to turn a day of outdoor adventure into a memorable getaway. So, why not grab your bike, listen to some local tunes with the London Music Office’s Spotify playlist and enjoy all the outdoors has to offer in London, Ontario!

Check out Tourism London’s website for the best list of attractions, restaurants, upcoming events, hotels, experiences and things to do. Come see what London is all about and plan your visit today.

 

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