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Snow arrived before December this year and appears to be sticking around London, Ontario for the long haul. That’s okay because it adds a seasonal touch to all the Christmas decorations that are around. Of course for many, it isn’t truly time for the Christmas countdown until a few things happen. Do you know what I’m talking about? Read on to see what festive events are taking place this weekend in London!

Festive Events In Your Neighbourhood

Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park

It isn’t officially Christmas without the Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park. Every year the city decorates Victoria Park with thousands of lights, ornaments, figurines and more. On Friday, November 29th, the fun begins at 6:15 pm. There will be carolers, a variety of entertainment, skating at the rink and more. At approximately 6:45 pm the Mayor and City Counsellors will lead everyone in Christmas carols, then count down to flip the switch for the lights. 3, 2, 1… and the park will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland. The lights will be on every night from 5:30 pm – 11 pm until January 1st, 2014. For an extra special sight, why not go to the 12th floor of City Hall (300 Dufferin Ave) to view the lights from the City Hall Promenade Deck. The viewing hours are as follows;

Friday, November 29 to Monday, December 2, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 3 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 4 to Sunday, December 8, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Monday, December 9 & Tuesday, December 10 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 11 to Monday, December 16, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 17 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 18 to Tuesday, December 24, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 25 CLOSED (CHRISTMAS DAY)
Thursday, December 26 CLOSED (BOXING DAY)
Friday, December 27 to Monday, December 30, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 CLOSED (NEW YEAR’S EVE)
Wednesday, January 1 CLOSED (NEW YEAR’S DAY)
CP Holiday Train

With the lights all aglow it is full steam ahead for the Canadian Pacific Holiday train to pull into town! This is the 15th year that the Holiday Train has hit the rails, and on December 1st at 8:30 pm it will pull into London. Make sure to arrive to the Richmond St railway crossing between Oxford and Central at least 15 minutes early to see the train arrive. Donations will be accepted for the London Food Bank. Seeing the train lit up isn’t the only perk though. The train also features a boxcar full of entertainment in tow. On the London stage, we will get to see The Brothers Dube and The Claytones on our stop of the train.

Do you think they will blow the whistle before they draw out of sight? Choo, chooooo…

Celebrate Christmas with a trip to Eldon House

And lastly, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Eldon House for their Traditional Victorian Christmas. London’s oldest residence will be decorated in the traditional festive way from November 30th, 2013 – January 1st, 2014. Hours are 12 pm – 5 pm. Admission by donation.

If a tour through the house to see holiday decorations of the past isn’t enough, then register for their special Christmas Tea on December 1st. Sittings are at 1:30 pm and 3 pm at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Enjoy tea and treats in the beauty of a Victorian Christmas, but make sure to call for a reservation, as seating is limited!

How do you get into the festive spirit at Christmas?

Did you know that the Lost Soul Stroll has wandered into London, Ontario again? This is the 9th time that members of London’s sordid past have taken over the streets of Downtown London in October, but it is unlike any stroll that has come before. And even if you have already explored 2013’s stroll, you can still come wander London’s dark history again before the month is through. Tickets are available! Prepared to be scared, amused, and mischievously entertained on a brand new route through London’s seamy past.

Tickets are $25 and the tour leaves from 207 King St (between Novack’s and Goodlife). The tours run approximately 80 minutes in length, so be sure to dress appropriate for the weather, as the stroll heads out regardless of the weather (If really stormy weather occurs, the Producer may cancel the night’s stroll 5 minutes prior, but a light drizzle isn’t enough, so be sure to bring your umbrellas if need be). Dates are;

October 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 29 & 30 at 7:30 pm, as well as
October 19 & 26 at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

For those of you whom have never been, what is the Lost Soul Stroll all about, you might wonder? Well, if you have ever questioned whether ‘The Forest City’ has seen its share of misery, this Stroll is for you. With theatrical flare, and a whole bunch of graphic costumes and makeup, the London Fringe presents eerie true tales from London, Ontario’s past. Characters, such as Ambrose Small (The Grand Theatre’s original owner, who disappeared just before selling it, never to be seen again, and is also said to still haunt the Grand to this day), various members of the infamous Black Donnellys (a backwoods family that was massacred in cold blood in 1880), passengers from the doomed Victoria (Canada’s worst marine disaster occurred on the banks of the Thames River in 1881 when the ‘Victoria’ capsized and 182 people died), and even the former sweetheart of the ghost that haunts Eldon House (Sarah Harris was the daughter of the original owner, and sweetheart of Wenman Wynniatt, who mysteriously drowned in the river in 1841 and is said to haunt Eldon House still).

All of these characters and more have strolled along with daring participants in years past, but the Burymore Family has taken over the Stroll this year. There is murder, mystery, disaster, and more to be watched by this troupe of long-dead actors. Will there be hijinks? Undoubtedly. Sordid mayhem? Indubitably. Laughter? For sure. Should you get tickets to take in the 2013 version of the Lost Soul Stroll in London, Ontario?

Only if you dare…

Today is the last day of school for London and area children. In a few short hours, the kids will be released from school for the summer. Do you have your vacations booked? Is your car packed for the cottage? Are you ready to celebrate the Nation’s birthday this weekend? That’s right, not only do the kids get to celebrate the end of school, but summer is going to be ushered in with Canada Day celebrations this weekend!

I realize that not everyone has a cottage to escape to, or even much vacation time to draw on over the summer. There is always plenty to do around London and area though, and this weekend is no different. You can still celebrate Canada’s birthday and not necessarily have to spend a small fortune to do it. Why not look at these options;

Canada Day Fun In Your Neighbourhood

Canada Day celebrations in Summerside

Start the celebrations off early in the neighbourhood of Summerside. On Saturday, June 29th, the Summerside Optimist Club is sponsoring Canada Day festivities from 3-6 pm at Meadowgate Park. There will be inflatable bouncers, a kids dash, face painting, a maze, a BBQ by M&M, plus lots of other games and activities. Once the sun goes down, the sky will be lit up by fireworks. Glow sticks and snacks will be available to purchase as well. All profits go to further activities in Summerside, so make sure to get out and celebrate in your city.

Eldon House is getting in on the patriotic action as well. London’s oldest residence will be hosting free events in the garden between 12-5 pm. That includes live music, the chance to watch artists create en plein air, the opportunity to take in a game of croquet, Canada Day crafts for the kids, a puppet show, and even cake at 3 pm. Tours of the house are by donation.

The celebrations don’t stop there though. Between 6:30 – 10:30 pm a fundraising barbeque will be held. Tickets are $50. Dinner is served at 8 pm. There will be live entertainment, tours of the house, a silent auction, plus of course one of the best views of the fireworks being held at the Forks.

Dominion Day at Fanshawe Pioneer Village

If you want even more historic fun to ring in Canada’s 146th birthday, why not head out to Fanshawe Pioneer Village for their Dominion Day celebrations. You can watch a vintage baseball game, listen to patriotic speeches, enjoy birthday cake and lemonade on the green or a barbeque buffet in the Village Cafe. Admission is $7, with children under 3 free. Buffet prices are $13.50 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

Of course the City of London always pulls out all the stops with their Canada Day celebrations down at Harris Park. The free event features a First Nations gathering, exhibits honouring Canada’s Heroes, vendors and community exhibits, birthday cake, and plenty of live entertainment. Celebrations start at noon and run through til fireworks light up the sky after dark. In fact, here’s a preview of what to expect this Canada Day.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to turn your alarm clocks off for the summer! 

That’s it! This weekend is the last hurrah. Labour Day weekend is upon us and with it a new school year is heralded in. Summer fun gets relegated back to memories, as we usher in schedules and routines once more. Parents might be anticipating sending bored youngsters back to school to get them out from underneath their feet, but kids everywhere are still desperately counting the minutes left of freedom.

 

LABOUR DAY WEEKEND IN LONDON

But wait! Is there not something we can do to celebrate the last golden rays of summer before they depart for yet another year? What is a fitting way to celebrate the summer that was in London, Ontario 2012? Well, there is Fall Fest, as I mentioned last week, where you can ride the rides, check out crafts and pet an animal or two. East Park will be open all weekend long for folks wanting to soak up the forecasted sunshine at their waterpark, or over a round of golf or even zipping along in a Go Kart.  For a special treat, Storybook Gardens will be hosting some fabulous children’s storytellers all weekend. Plus of course, the kids can splash in the waterpark, get their faces painted by Dotsy or wander through the Enchanted Forest to their heart’s content.

There’s got to be more than that on offer though, isn’t there? How about a Back 2 School Bash for the kids at Children’s Museum! They won’t be able to resist face painting, cookie decorating, parachute games and more. Head over for the fun on Monday, September 3, 2012 from 10am-5pm and be part of the fun. It sounds like an excellent way for the younger set to usher in a new school year!

6th Annual Pooch Plunge!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share another fun, animal-friendly event. The Pooch Plunge is back for its 6th year of swimming and splashing, this year at Stronach Pool (1221 Sanford St) on September 2, 2012. There will be three sessions for your pooch to jump in and get wet;

1st Session:  1:00 – 1:50pm

2nd Session:  2:10 – 3:00pm

3rd Session:  3:20 – 4:10pm

For $6 per session, your dog will have the opportunity to run, swim, chase tennis balls and generally have a great time with plenty of other dogs and their owners. The best part is that the event raises money for Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, which is a family run haven for abused and neglected farm animals. No one deserves to be abused and that includes even the weakest among us. The Poole’s take in everything from chickens, to goats and pigs to donkeys, all without financial support, other than the donations received from events like the Pooch Plunge. The animals they care for deserve as much compassion as you and I, so letting your dog swim a lap or two makes a difference not only in your life, but in other animals that have seen hardship in their lives.

Tea Time at Eldon House

If your tastes lean more towards a more refined event, then what about signing up for a spot of tea on the lawns of Eldon House?  This weekend will mark the end of their Summer Teas, so if you haven’t tried their delicious scones, you better hurry downtown now. Tea is served between 2-4pm from Tuesday to Sunday until September 2nd. Call for a reservation and make sure you leave enough time to get a tour of the historic house while you are there. It is London’s oldest residence, built in 1834 and is well worth exploring.

Survivorman Live in London!

If tea is too tame for your tastes, what would you say to an evening spent with “Survivorman” Les Stroud? Stroud will be serving up a selection of stories of survival at the London Music Club on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 8pm. He will be accompanied by The Campfire Kings, as they entertain the audience with ‘Songs & Stories – The Earth Music Tour’. Survivorman in London, Ontario? How cool is that! With his musical skill, as well as his storytelling prowess, this is an evening not to be missed.

 

What are your plans this Labour Day weekend Londoners?

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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