In the southwestern area of Ontario, London is quite often overlooked on the tourist radar. With a history stretching back to the late 1700s, it was usurped by Toronto and appears to rest in the shadows of the big city that is just down the highway. It is where you can take a deep breath of fresh air as the concrete jungle of downtown offers up a quaint historical building or a lush small park to break up the city's mass. Sitting by two branches of the Thames River, there are numerous parks and pathways to stroll or bike along. Nicknamed the "Forest City" for the fact that the community has planted 1,000 trees on an annual basis, it is not your typical urban landscape of a city.
Surrounded by some of the best farm land, the Covent Garden Market is a treat to explore where you will find all sorts of fresh organic produce displayed in colorful stalls, slabs of fresh meat, plus the odd spicy hand made soap and candles with bunches of flowers filling buckets and calling out for you to put your nose to, plus the odd busker cavorting around. It is possible to follow a bike path out to Fanshawe Pioneer Village where you can stroll around old buildings, gardens and an orchard with a costumed guide. Close by is the Fanshawe Conservation Area that includes the Fanshawe Dam, which is perfect for cross-country skiing in the winter months or hiking a trail at other times of the year. There are museums galore for the curious mind and an art gallery to get the arty fix. If you are into a bit of medical history, there is the house where Frederick Banting, who invented insulin for treating diabetes, used to practice medicine. One of the best and oldest military museums in the country is to be found at the Royal Canadian Regiment Military Museum. If you want to get in touch with your inner child, then visit the Children's Museum to play on the interactive exhibits. For a cultural hit, go to the Grand Theater or the Museum London.
If you like to visit breweries, then head to Labatt's Brewery that produces over 1 billion bottles of beer annually. You can savor a two-hour tour and at the end indulge your taste buds in a treat.
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