The Downtown Neighbourhood
For real estate purposes, the area we have labelled as “Downtown” is framed by Oxford on the north, Adelaide on the east, the Thames River on the west and Dundas on the south. This means that in terms of real estate zones, a number of notable city landmarks are in the area we have labelled as “Soho,” (SOuth of HOrton) including the John Labatt Centre, Covent Garden Market, the Central Library, the YMCA, Citi Plaza and the Convention Centre. The Downtown area as we have it here, though, still includes “Richmond Row”–the city’s restaurant, fashion and entertainment centre–the Grand Theatre, Victoria Park, the London Regional Art Gallery and Museum, City Hall, Centennial Hall, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, The Dominion Building and the Woodfield Historical District as well as many of the largest commercial high rises.
Woodfield takes its name from a large stone house originally named “The Pines” built in 1846 and demolished in 1968 by Rev. Benjamin Cronyn. When London was incorporated in 1840 there was little development in the area that would become known as Woodfield, with the exception of the Cronyn residence. Another of the early homes in the area is the wood frame farmhouse located at what is now 22 Peter Street. More building took place during the 1870’s, many in the Italianate townhouse and cottage style buildings. A number of them used yellow brick made from local clay.
When the British garrison was removed from London in 1869, the southern half of the barrack grounds were converted into what is now Victoria Park, dedicated in 1874. The park helped attract many of the city’s wealthiest citizens whose houses still grace Central and Wellington Avenues. From the 1890’s through the end of WW1, London enjoyed a period of prosperity and it was during this time that many of the Victorian, Queen Anne and Edwardian style homes were built in the area. During this period, the area began to attract the homes of tradesmen, artisans and clerks. By the end of this period the neighbourhood developed into a cohesive whole bound by Victoria Park on the west to Adelaide on the east, from Dundas on the south to Princess on the North.
Source: Woodfield Historical Society
This 15 acre downtown park is considered one of the most important park developments of the 19th century in Canada and has been a social hub in the city since 1874. Today the park hosts numerous festivals and attracts about a million visitors annually. The park has its own band shell and is the host of the city’s Cenotaph. Recently a war memorial was added to the grounds. During the winter months there is outdoor skating as well.
Source: City of London
This is London’s most interesting shopping and entertainment district with over 200 businesses along Richmond Street as it brackets Victoria Park. There is everything from clothes, jewelry, artwork, electronics, services, restaurants, theatre, night clubs and cafés.
Source: Richmond Row Association
The Dominion Building is one of Canada’s heritage landmarks. Built in 1934-1936 during the Depression, it was a significant public works project and is one of Canada’s finest “Art Deco” buildings. Its design elements can be enjoyed up close, from a distance and from all four sides. It is one of London’s little known architectural gems. Enjoy this video:
Source: Dominion Public Building
Parks & Other Locations of Interest
Area parks include Harris Park and Piccadilly Park
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