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Have you caught the fever yet London? The 2013 World Figure Skating Championships are in town and London, Ontario is basking in the attention! If you  haven’t checked in yet, the championships are going fabulously and are well worth watching. All of the Short Programs have now been completed with Free Programs to be held on Friday and Saturday at the Budweiser Gardens. Tickets are still available for this not-to-be-missed affair. Alternately, you can still catch the women’s and ice dance practices at the Western Fair Sports Centre tomorrow.

So thus far in the Men’s Competition, as expected, Patrick Chan from Canada is ranked #1 after the Short Program. Also from Canada, Kevin Reynolds has slipped into third place after Wednesday night’s skate. Denis Tan from Kazakhstan  is sitting in second place, Daisuke Takahashi from Japan is currently in fourth place and Denis Joubert from France is in fifth. After a disappointing skate, Ross Miner from the USA squeaks into the Free Program on Friday in 14th place.

Patrick Chan in Practice on Thursday

Patrick Chan in Practice on Thursday

Kevin Reynolds from Canada

Daisuke Takahashi practicing at Western Fair Sports Centre

Ross Miner from the USA in practice


They were not the only skaters practising today though. After opening the competition on Wednesday with their Short Program, the Pairs skaters took to the ice at the Western Fair Sports Centre on Thursday. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov from Russia are sitting in first place going into the Free Program on Friday. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are sitting in second place, with Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy from Germany a fraction behind in third. Another Russian pair, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov,  go into the Free Program in fourth place, followed closely by Canada’s own Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch.

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov in practice at the WFSC 2013

Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford Practising at Western Fair Sports Centre

Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy at Western Fair Sports Centre

Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov practicing at WFSC 2013






















Now criticize these pictures if you want, but it is hard to capture fast-moving objects without a flash. That’s right, you are allowed to take photos in the Western Fair Sports Centre. Minus flash photography of course (it distracts the skaters) and no videos are allowed either. The same thing goes at Budweiser Gardens. If you are interested in catching a practice at the Western Fair Sports Complex, tomorrow is the last day to see one. The Ladies and Ice Dance will be practising there throughout the day and $15 will get you in for as long as you care to watch (children under 12 are free). Over at Budweiser Gardens, the pairs and men will be practising, but you will need not only a Pairs Free Program ticket to get in, but the cost of admission ($22-$32) and parking wherever you might find it. The bonus of going to Budweiser Gardens is that you are right across from the Covent Garden Market  and Bell Building, where other activities are being held to celebrate London and skating.

My suggestion though is to make a point of celebrating London and skating this week. Even if you can’t make it downtown to see the live action, you can still tune into CBC for television coverage. And dare I say, it is moments like these that make me not only proud to be Canadian, but even more proud to call London, Ontario home.


Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2010 World ...The world comes to London, Ontario starting this weekend. After much hype, lead-up, glamour makeovers and plenty of fanfare, the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships arrive and will take over downtown London from March 11 – 17th, 2013. If you call London home, you might be lucky to spy the likes of Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (ice dance), or Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (pairs). They are all skaters who will proudly be representing Canada next week on the ice. Dare I forget to mention the rest of the international competitors who will be in town from all over the world as well. We are in for a treat my friends!

Patrick Chan at the 2011 World Figure Skating ...You don’t have to be from London to take in the Championships though. Everyone is welcome! All you have to do is buy a ticket and sit back to enjoy the show at Budweiser Gardens. Tickets range in price from $20-$30 for practice tickets on Monday and Tuesday, up to $1,130 – $1,356  for an all-event ticket package, which gets you into practices, all short programs, all free programs, the exhibition gala and includes a $25 voucher for the Skate Canada boutique. You also have options to buy single tickets, 3-ticket packs or 12-ticket packs. For more information, or to purchase tickets online, contact Budweiser Gardens or Skate Canada.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford at the 2011 Fo...If you will be visiting London to take in the Championships and are wondering if there is anything else going on in London while you are in town, the answer is of course YES! Not only can you also take in competitions and practices at Budweiser Gardens, but the Western Fair Sports Centre will have limited tickets to watch practices from March 11 – 15th for $15 (available at the door), with children under 12 free. Whether you see a practice or competition, you should make a point to go by Budweiser Gardens (99 Dundas St) at least one night between March 11 -16th to see the Tree of Light Sounds and Light Show. This 10-minute light show celebrates skating and London on the Eastern exterior facade of Budweiser Gardens. The premiere show is at 9 pm on Sunday, March 10th, with subsequent shows being held at 8 pm and 10:10 pm from Monday through Friday. The final light shows will be on Saturday, March 16th at 8 pm, 9:30 pm and 11:20pm.

Other events going on around town will include the Carving a Chunk Outta Cancer chainsaw sculpting event as sponsered by Stihl Canada, at the Bell Building (across from Budweiser Gardens) from March 11 – 17th from 9 am – 5 pm. The Skating & Scenes Art Show and Sale will be held at the Talbot Centre (465 Richmond St) from 9 am  – 6 pm from March 1 -31st. There will be cultural performances at Skate Canada House in Covent Garden Market Square from March 13 -17th and free family entertainment at the Canadian Tire Family Zone at Covent Garden Market from March 13 – 17th. You won’t want to miss the other  bright lights around the city, like at Victoria Park or throughout downtown. In fact, a week to explore all that London, Ontario has to offer just won’t be enough!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What do you have planned for your sweetheart today? Will you be walking in the door with a dozen red roses in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other? Or perhaps that special piece of jewellery you had made will be tucked into your pocket to surprise her with later this evening while you are dining at her favourite restaurant?

Or maybe you are like the rest of the regular Joes out there that are in between diapers and hockey practice, with date night regulated to once every six months, if you can swing a babysitter. Well family man, no need to let the day go by without any kind of recognition. You know I always have a suggestion or two for places to go in London, Ontario that are sure to please.

Today is no different.

Valentine Temptations In Your Neighbourhood

You could win brownie points with the whole family by taking them skating at Storybook Gardens this evening! Not only do you get some fresh air and exercise, but there will be free hot chocolate, compliments of Libro Financial Group. The best part is that it is only $2 between 6-8 pm! Don’t fret if you don’t have skates, as Storybook rents them too. Perhaps it will even get you all in the spirit for the upcoming 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships that will be held right here starting March 11th, 2013.

If skating is not your thing, what about putting someone else to work to ramp up the charm on Valentine’s Day? I bet your sweetie has never received a singing Valentine before. This year, why not get the London Sweet Adelines to croon to your baby? Now that will set her heart on fire! For $35, a portion of which will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, a local quartet will come to your location of choice and sweep your sweet someone off their feet between 9 am – 8 pm. Call Judith now (519-472-2164) and watch your loved one swoon later.

Perhaps you were dreaming of something bigger to surprise your sweetie with though. How about a night out at Museum London for their Domestic Disclosures: A Valentine’s Night of Trailers! The evening begins at 7 pm and you will be treated to trailers from some of the fabulous upcoming movies that will be shown at the Domestic Arrivals Festival starting February 28th, 2013. While you can enjoy sneak peaks to movies, there will also be specialty coffees and sweets from local chocolatiers and gourmet food artisans to indulge in afterwards. Plus you get a chance to pick up tickets to the upcoming festival there and then, ahead of the rush for the 4-day festival celebrating Canadian film. Oh, and did I mention that tonight’s events are free? Although Museum London always welcomes donations and will have great door prizes to bid on, if you so desire. Sounds like an evening that can’t be beat!

Whatever you get up to, I wish you a happy day and steamy night! Happy Valentine’s Day!

That’s it! I can’t take it!
I cannot shop anymore!!
I’ve spent the last week in London
in every darn store.

My credit card is reeling
The fridge is  jam-packed
I have paper cuts on all my fingers
from wrapping paper attacks

I need a breather
There’s got to be something else to do
aside from trying kill myself with
more Christmas hullabaloo!

How about checking out one of these great local London, Ontario locations to relax and enjoy the beginning of winter and Christmas break.



Wouldn’t that be a fun escape with the family?

With that brief dusting of snow this morning, I was in mind of getting outside and enjoying some of that white stuff before it disappears again. What are the odds it will be back again in time for a wagon ride out at Circle R Ranch? Doesn’t that sound like a welcome change from frantic malls and jam-packed grocery stores? Oh yes! In fact they will have special wagons rides on December 23, 24, 26 and even on January 1st! If we get any actual snow, you could even try your luck at cross-country skiing or snow shoeing (new this year). Contact Circle R for times and cost of wagon rides at 519-471-3799. Once snow arrives, cross-country skiing on weekends is $13 for adults ($10 after 2:30 pm), $9 for children ($7 after 2:30 pm) and free for children 8 and under. Weekdays the rates are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Snow shoeing costs $6 on weekends and $3 on weekdays for adults, with children always free.

Why not give skating a try at Storybook Gardens?

What else is there to do in London, where you can just relax and enjoy the beauty of winter? How about at Storybook Gardens, where you can strap on a pair of skates and glide serenely through the Gardens to your heart’s content. That’s right; the ice is in! Plus, you can even rent skates, if you don’t have your own. Here are their holiday hours;

Saturday December 22nd 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday December 23rd 10 am – 5 pm (Tim Horton’s Skate 10-12)
Monday December 24th 10 am – 4 pm (Tim Horton’s Skate 10-12)
Tuesday December 25th CLOSED
Wednesday December 26th 10 am – 4 pm
Thursday December 27th – Sunday December 30th 10 am – 8 pm
Monday December 31st – 10 am – 4 pm
Tuesday January 1st – 10 am – 4 pm
Wednesday January 2nd – Saturday January 5th- 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday January 6th -10 am – 5 pm

Entry cost is $4.25 for adults, $3.25 for children, free for infants or a family rate of $13 (2 adults, 2 kids). Skate rentals are $5.50 for adult sizes and $4.50 for kids sizes, with a deposit. In fact, if you enjoy yourself, you might want to even consider an annual pass, for only $35 per person. Now that is a deal!


Ice Crafts

Ice Crafts

Or why not just head out into your back yard and play with the kids? If the snow accumulates, you can build a snow family, a fort or maybe have a snowball fight. If you want to get creative, put some coloured water in a spray bottle and spray paint a picture in the snow.

Or for something a little different, why not fill a cake pan with water, then add interesting bits to the pan. Put a string in the pan, then toss your creation into the freezer. When it is good and frozen, take it outside and hang it in a tree for some winter interest. Use items like coloured tissue paper, berries, dried grasses or flowers, or anything else that you think might look nice. Try different shaped containers to freeze your ice mobiles in. The kids will love the experiment and the best part is, that its free! After spending all that money leading up to Christmas, wouldn’t that be nice?

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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