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A Brief History Of London, Ontario

A Brief History Of London, Ontario

London, Ontario, is located in southwestern Ontario, Canada, and is the second-largest city in the province after Toronto. With a population of over 400,000, it is a thriving city with a rich and fascinating history that dates back over 200 years. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into the history of London, Ontario, from its Indigenous roots to its current status as a modern and dynamic city.

Indigenous History

Before European settlers arrived, the area that is now London, Ontario, was home to several Indigenous groups, including the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee. These groups had lived in the area for thousands of years and had established a rich cultural and spiritual history.

The Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee had established trading relationships with European settlers and played an essential role in the region’s development. They were skilled traders and hunters and had developed complex societies with their own governance systems, education, and art.

Settlement and Incorporation

The first European to arrive in the area that is now London was Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1793. He established a military post at the Forks of the Thames, now downtown London’s site.

In 1826, the city was officially settled when Lieutenant-Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland ordered the construction of a military road between the Thames River and Lake Huron. The road was built to connect London with the military post at Goderich.

In 1832, London was incorporated as a village, and in 1855, it was incorporated as a city. The city was named after London, England, and it quickly became a hub for agriculture, industry, and transportation.

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Agriculture and Industry

London was a major center for agriculture in the 19th century, with the fertile land around the city providing an ideal location for farming. The city became a major grain, livestock, and dairy product supplier and was home to several critical agricultural fairs and exhibitions.

London was also an important center for industry, with several essential businesses established in the city. One of the most important was Labatt’s Brewery, founded in 1847 and still a significant employer in the city.


London was an important transportation hub in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The city was connected to other parts of Canada and the United States through several railways and a canal connecting Lake Erie with Lake Huron.

During World War II, London played an important role in the war effort. The city was home to several military bases and factories that produced war supplies.

Education and Culture

London has a long history of education, with several important universities and colleges located in the area. The University of Western Ontario was founded in 1878 and has since become one of Canada’s leading research universities.

London is also home to several important cultural institutions, including the Museum London, the Grand Theatre, and the London Regional Art and Historical Museums. These institutions provide a rich cultural experience for visitors and residents alike.


London, Ontario, has a rich and fascinating history spanning two centuries. From its Indigenous roots to its current status as a modern and dynamic city, London has played an essential role in the development of Canada.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, or industry, there is something for everyone in London, Ontario. The city’s rich and diverse history has contributed to its current status as a thriving and dynamic city with a bright future.

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