Family Day is a very new holiday. Ontarians celebrated the first Family Day in 2008, established by then-premier Dalton McGuinty, a promise from his 2007 campaign for re-election. It was proclaimed that the third Monday in February would be Family Day, a statutory holiday across the province.
Many other provinces have adopted this holiday as well, though some have given it different names – Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Nova Scotia Heritage Day in Nova Scotia, and Islander Day in PEI.
Family Day celebrates the importance of families for people and communities. As such, there are many events and activities for you to do with your entire family, bringing multiple generations and limbs of the family tree together to have fun.
In London, there are a number of both indoor and outdoor Family Day events, depending on your tolerance of winter temperature and weather. All are exciting, engaging, and a fantastic way to spend the day with your family!
Educational and Fun Activities at the London Children’s Museum
Celebrate togetherness, have fun, and get educated all in the same place! This Family Day, the Children’s Museum is inviting families of Londoners to explore, play games, make art, and learn!
There are a number of activities throughout the museum to enjoy, from the Early Years play space for the smallest ones in the family to the “I Wonder” station for the most curious!
All day, you can partake in supersized games. Massive versions of the childhood games you love are free to play in the museum. Try not to topple a giant Jenga tower and satisfy your enormous appetite in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos where you are the hippo! It’s an absolute riot!
Feeling artistic? From 10:30 to 4, you can get creative in the Collaborative Art Lab. Create a masterpiece that captures everything you love about family!
The London Children’s Museum has so many things to do and explore this Family Day. If you’ve got kids that are full of curiosity and energy (which honestly sounds like every child I’ve ever met), this is the perfect place to take them!
The Eldon House is London’s oldest residence. Barely a single thing has changed since the nineteenth century. This historic site used to be the home of the Harris family, and still contains may family heirlooms, furnishings, and treasures that belonged to them. Explore their family history with your family!
Only on Family Day, the Amazing Corbin’s Grand Flea Circus will be performing in the drawing room of the Eldon House. Flea circuses were popular entertainment way back when the Harris family still lived with in the house. Well-trained “fleas” perform tricks and feats on a miniscule scale, which dazzled the folks of the nineteenth century and will dazzle your and yours this Family Day!
Just because your kids have the day off school doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be learning. Experience history first hand by strolling through the Eldon House this Family Day!
Play a Few Rounds of Bowling
Bowling is great for Family Day because you don’t have to be good to have fun. Your whole family can grab a lane and take part in a friendly competition.
It’s a fun, physical activity that requires little to no talent to enjoy, and since nobody in your family is probably a pro-bowler (unless you’ve got an uncle in a bowling league or something) you’re all on equal ground.
Whether you go with five or ten pin, you’re bound to have a good time chucking the ball down the lane. Try to beat your personal best score, or just do your best not to lose to your little cousin that uses bumpers.
Going to see a movie in the theatre is a tried and true Family Day activity. Pile into a car and head to your theatre of choice to watch the newest blockbuster with the whole family!
Our personal recommendation for your whole family’s viewing entertainment is the Lego Movie: The Second Part. Released earlier this month, this follow-up to the smash hit Lego Movie is great for everyone of all ages. Appropriate and engaging for the kids while still being legitimately entertaining to adults, it’s a rare opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a movie-going experience.
There are two Cineplex theatres in the city if you want to cash in your Scene points – Silver City in Masonville and Cineplex Odeon Westmount, which also has a VIP (19+) cinema if your Family Day doesn’t include any children.
There’s also the Imagine Cinemas right in the heart of downtown. If you’ve got a bunch of family across London coming to the movie, the Imagine Cinemas has the perfect central location for everyone to meet at.
The Landmark Cinemas on Wellington have the comfiest seats of any theatre in the city. Their big, plush recliner seats make it a destination for many Londoners because there’s nothing worse than getting distracted from an awesome flick because you can’t get comfortable.
Make Maple Syrup at the Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush
Brave the cold on Family Day and head out to the Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush in Thorndale and you’re in for a fantastic, syrupy day. If you head out early and are one of the first fifty families to enter the sugar bush, you even get to tap your own tree!
After the trees are tapped, you get a demonstration of how the syrup is made, try some samples maybe. Combat the chill by sitting at a campfire and chowing down on a plateful of the famous hot pancakes dripping with their maple syrup.
For just $2 per person (or $10 for a car load), it’s one of the most financially friendly activities on top of being the tastiest. Fresh, real maple syrup is unlike anything else, especially if you tapped the tree yourself!
Boler Mountain is one of our favourite winter destinations. We’ve detailed all of the fantastic things you can do at Boler Mountain in our Best Winter Activities list, and all of that remains true, plus some extra special Family Day activities.
With extended hours on the weekend of Family Day, you and your family can enjoy everything Boler has to offer for even longer!
Sunday night, there’s a tubing special. Tickets are required to be purchased in advance for this event, just as a heads up. So, if you want to go tubing from 6-9PM on Sunday, keep your eyes peeled for tickets on their website.
To finish off a long, happy Family Day of sliding down the snowy hills, there will be a firework display at 9PM on Monday. It’s a wonderful way to end the day.
The Ska-Nah-Doht Village and Museum and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority invite you to come out and strap on some snowshoes this Family Day (assuming the weather co-operates).
LTVCA staff will teach you everything you need to know about snowshoeing, from its history to a practical lesson! Then they’ll send you on your way down the woodland trails for a lovely winter hike.
Explore the Ska-Nah-Doht village, a recreation of a longhouse village from a millennium ago. There are 18 outdoor exhibits to explore. It’s physically active, fascinating, and educational!
Skate at one of the Awesome Rinks
Skating is a great family activity. No matter if you or your kids are just learning, or you’re practically ice dancers, it can be a great experience for the entire family.
There are a bunch of really great spots to go skating this Family Day, both indoor and outdoor. We personally prefer outdoor – if you’re going to be cold, you might as well get some fresh air while you’re at it.
If you’re looking to skate for free, both Victoria Park and Covent Garden Market have quality rinks that cost nothing to skate on. These downtown spots are great because after your skate, there are so many options to warm back up. Perhaps a coffee or hot chocolate would do the trick.
Storybook Gardens is also a great spot for skating, plus they’ve got extras. They’ve always got the Beavertail stand up and running, offering warm, crispy fried pastry with a plethora of toppings to choose from. On Family Day, they’re also offering an all-day pancake breakfast served by a campfire! Plus, you can take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon around the park. There is an up-front cost to get into Storybook Gardens, but once you’re in, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time with your family. If you’ve never gone, check it out this Family Day!
A dinner out on the town is an integral part of any Valentine’s Day date. Eating great food, drinking great drinks, and enjoying each other’s company is one of the most popular ways to celebrate your relationship and each other. Spend some quality time with your partner at one of these amazing restaurants!
Don’t forget: if you’re planning on getting dinner at one of these spots on Valentine’s Day, we definitely recommend calling ahead and getting a reservation. It’s going to be a busy night for everyone, so guarantee yourself a table by booking ahead!
Craft Farmacy is one of our favourite spots in the entire city to get a bite to eat that makes you feel fancy. The restaurant has an air of class to it, without even coming close to stuffy or uptight. It’s fun, it’s stylish, and best of all, the food is incredible.
The Craft Farmacy menu is a wonderful, eclectic mix of dishes inspired by all sorts of styles and cuisines, elevated to fine dining. From gnocchi to schnitzel, and one of the best steaks you’ll find in the city, Craft Farmacy has got something for everyone.
The drink menu is just as exciting. Craft beers galore, a wine list to die for, and a cocktail menu that will have you wondering whether you can handle trying one of everything, because you really, really want to (please drink responsibly).
Don’t forget to get an order of oysters! They’re fresh as can be – shipped to the restaurant that day and only shucked once you’ve placed your order. Oysters are often thought of as aphrodisiacs, making them a perfect part of the ultimate romantic dinner.
Celebrate your love and local cuisine this Valentine’s Day at Craft Farmacy!
Hunter & Co. is another spot that never fails to impress. The ambiance is on point and the food and drink are obviously incredible. Their menu is always changing to stay fresh and seasonal, but you can bet that anything being offered at Hunter & Co. is going to blow your mind.
The Hunter & Co. menu consists of awesome small plates that you are perfect for sharing between the two of you. Share a charcuterie board, a big platter of oysters, or the roasted bone marrow, which a perpetual favourite here at SKB.
Don’t forget about drinks! Their cocktails are some of the best in the city, they’ve got an excellent beer selection, and their wine list is extensive. Find something to pair perfectly with your meal and enjoy!
Sharing a dish or two at Hunter & Co. is a wonderful, intimate experience that is perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Anderson Craft Ales, one of our favourite craft breweries in town, has teamed up with the vegan pop-up restaurant Peas and Thank You to bring you a Valentine’s Day dinner that you’ll never forget.
To get into the brewery, you must buy a ticket ahead of time. You can get your ticket(s) here. Your ticket doesn’t just grant you access, it also gets you a three-course prix fixe meal and a glass of beer.
Your dinner is 100% plant-based, as brought to you by Peas and Thank You. The appetizer is a veggie charcuterie board, the main is a “chk’n” parm, and for dessert you’ll be having a passion fruit and raspberry cake.
Of course, your beer is an Anderson brew. Take your pick of anything they’ve got on tap and enjoy!
This is the perfect Valentine’s Day date for vegans, beer lovers, and vegan beer lovers! Buy your ticket today!
The In Home Chef invites you and your partner to enjoy Valentine’s Day with a fantastic meal. Thomas Waite, the eponymous chef, has crafted a four-course meal that will make you feel love like you’ve never felt before (just don’t tell your partner that).
The meal is absolutely delectable, an elegant and exciting exploration through the world of food. Your meal begins with a brown butter Jerusalem artichoke soup, followed by a root vegetable box. The third course is a choice between either braised beef cheek or seared cod. Finally, a crème brule for dessert.
So many rich, delicious flavours that will leave your date happy, full, and impressed. They’ll definitely consider themselves lucky if you take them there.
To top it all off, champagne and strawberries, two classic parts of Valentine’s Day. Who would say no to a little bit of bubbly?
The Springs is an upscale bistro found in a renovated church on Springbank Drive. The vibe is welcoming, cozy, and intimate – perfect for dining with the love of your life on Valentine’s Day.
They have crafted a menu specific to celebrating Valentine’s Day. It’s a whopping six courses, with multiple choices for four of them, meaning you get to try a whole lot of food, with more flexibility and customizability than your average prix fixe menu.
You get an amuse bouche, an appetizer, two entrées, a palate cleanser, and finish off with dessert. And all for only $80 per person! Explore their menu here, with so many choices it’s impossible to detail them all here.
One of the dishes that really caught our eye is the pork belly (found in entrée 1), which incorporates coffee in two ways – as a rub and a sauce – and blueberry jam, two elements that intrigue us to no end. As everyone knows, Santa has a serious coffee addiction, so infusing it into his dinner is an exciting prospect.
Six courses may seem intimidating, but when the food is so tasty, you’ll be wishing you had more. Check out the Springs this Valentine’s Day for a seriously tasty meal!
Vegans love Valentine’s Day too! Plant Matter Kitchen is giving vegans an excellent option for a Valentine’s Day out on the town with some fantastic food. A three-course meal for you and your sweetheart, no reservation required (but it might be a good idea for a guaranteed table immediately).
The first course is futomaki, which is a “fat” rolled sushi filled with veggies and tofu. Alongside it is a lightly pickled tomato cut into a rose for that beautiful Valentine’s aesthetic that you can eat! The main course is a vegetable tower. Zucchini red pepper, and tomato stacked high, with sweet sesame jack fruit and crispy potato! The final course (presumably a dessert) has yet to be revealed, so stay tuned to their social media to find out!
They’re also serving their regular menu, if the prix fixe doesn’t appeal to you. Burgers, salads, and entrées that are all plant-based and all delicious!
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day in a cruelty-free fashion at Plant Matter Kitchen!
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the food. There are many other ways to enjoy time with your significant other! Try these activities on for size!
Join Terry Barber at the Aeolian Hall, one of the best concert venues in the city, for a night of romance, joy, and music.
Terry Barber is a Grammy award winning artist, known for having an incredible vocal range and impressive technique. He has performed all over the globe in amazing venues, and now he graces the Forest City
The concert will feature some classic showtunes written by Andrew Lloyd Webber along with some romantic classics that will have you singing and dancing with your significant other – a wonderful and intimate experience, even if you aren’t particularly good at either.
Assuming the weather is cooperating the evening of Valentine’s Day, you and your partner can head to Storybook Gardens for a leisurely and romantic skate around the park.
This is an 18+ event, so you don’t have to worry about trying to skate around kids, just adults that haven’t gone skating in a while.
You have to buy your ticket ahead of time, none are sold at the door. A ticket is $20, valid for two people. It also includes one Beavertail pastry and two hot drinks, which you can enjoy next to a campfire before or after your skate.
Don’t have skates of your own? Don’t worry! For a small additional charge, you can rent some skates right then and there!
Who says you have to go to a restaurant for a fantastic Valentine’s Day dinner? Book yourself a Valentine’s Dinner cooking class at the Covent Garden Market, and you’ll be whipping up a three-course meal so delicious and romantic, that you’ll consider opening a restaurant yourself.
The class is 2.5 hours long, led by Chef Shauna. She will take you through the fundamentals of making an amazing, vibrant, and healthy meal! It starts with a sun-dried tomato baked brie with toasted baguette, followed by an immaculate plate of pork ribs with mashed potatoes and greens! Finally, a flourless chocolate cake that is as indulgent as it is gluten free (100%)!
This Valentine’s Day, the Rec Room is hosting a standup show centered on the trials and tribulations of dating. Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, you can grab yourself a ticket and laugh at the romantic blunders of these comedians!
The show is called Tinder Tales, a comedy show that has sold out venues internationally! The lineup of seven comedians share tales of dating, relationships, and how they’ve managed to screw it all up. But don’t worry, it’s all in good fun.
Valentine’s Day could be all about serious romance, or you could have some fun with it at the Rec Room! Get yourself tickets here!
Start your day the right way: with a fantastic waffle for breakfast! Or maybe it’s close to midday on a weekend and you’ve been waiting for brunch all morning… Either way, these spots will get your day started on the right foot with a great waffle for your first meal.
We hope you brought your appetite, because the waffles at the Early Bird are no joke. The portions here are seriously big, but once you start eating, there’s basically no stopping until that plate is clean.
Vanilla waffles made fresh when you order, so perfectly fluffy on the inside with a crisp outer layer, you’ll wonder if angels made them. They’re accompanied by the classic maple syrup and whipped cream, because those two elements are quintessential. But instead of the same old lame mixed berries or little plastic containers of jam that were sealed no one knows how long ago, next to your waffles sit poached apples – soft, sweet, and incredible. Everything feels fresh and
However, if you really want waffles, but also crave something savoury, the chicken and waffles is your ticket. Dense waffles stacked high with fried chicken, bacon jam, and crispy onions. Top all that off with some maple syrup, and you’ve got the perfect place – a tantalizing blend of salty and sweet. If you’ve never heard of chicken and waffles, you may think it’s absurd, but I swear, if you love fried chicken and you love waffles, and you haven’t had both on the same plate, your life will change once you try it.
Whether you go for sweet or savoury, your order comes with a side of home fries and salad or a fruit cup, because everything is made better by home fries, no exceptions.
The Early Bird is one of our favourite spots to have breakfast in the city, and their waffles are no different. They’ve set a high bar for themselves at the Early Bird and both the sweet and the savoury options exceed expectations. Definitely worth trying the next time you’re looking for a great breakfast out on the town.
Happiness is not only what you’ll be feeling after tasting these waffles, it’s also the name of the place! Happiness is a new face in downtown London, found on the corner of Queens and Wellington, and they’ve been off to a strong start in the last year or so since opening. Cakes, crepes, macarons, coffee, and of course, our focus for today: waffles.
Sticking to owner Olha Prytkova’s European roots, she’s serving Belgian waffles at Happiness. Light, fluffy insides, and a delightfully crisp exterior, always made fresh when you order.
There are all sorts of options to pick from when it comes to topping your waffles. Fresh fruit and maple syrup are just the start! Peanut butter, chocolate ganache, salted caramel, lemon cream… The list goes on and on. Your typical order gets whipped cream plus two toppings, but you can go crazy and get as many as you want for an extra charge.
Gluten free? No worries, you can get waffles made with rice and coconut flour, absolutely no gluten in sight. Vegan? Not a problem, replace the dairy with almond milk and you’ll be chowing down on some delicious waffles in no time. Happiness is always happy to accommodate.
Happiness hasn’t been around for long, but they’re bringing smiles to the faces of Londoners with their amazing menu. If you haven’t checked this place out yet, we can’t recommend it enough.
Sure, these waffles are vegan, but do you really need eggs and milk to make a waffle amazing? Plant Matter Kitchen answers that question with a resounding “hell no!”
As with everything on their menu, the PMK Waffles at Plant Matter Kitchen are completely plant-based. It should be no surprise at this point, that this fact has absolutely no impact on how delicious the food at Plant Matter Kitchen is. Their dishes never fail to impress.
The waffles are so incredibly fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, making the perfect vessel for the toppings. Organic maple syrup, sweet soy cream, fruit coulis, and butter – which, of course, is a plant-based alternative that tastes and melts just like the real dairy product – top your immaculate waffles. Sweet, fresh, and fruity, there’s no denying how good these waffles are.
Whether you’ve made the decision to go completely plant-based, or you’re just on the hunt for an incredible waffle, Plant Matter Kitchen should be your destination this weekend for breakfast!
Symposium Café opened in London over two decades ago, and has since expanded to over 21 restaurants across Ontario. Their spot in the core of downtown London has made them a go-to for everything from breakfast to dinner to a late-night snack. Their breakfast menu, which features the waffles that placed them on this list, is available to order every day from 8am to 4pm, so it’s great for everyone, no matter what time you roll out of bed.
Their Belgian waffle is made fresh to order, ensuring that when it arrives at your table, it’s still warm and the exterior hasn’t gone soft. They top it with your choice of fruit, and served with an additional fruit cup on the side. Plus, they give you your own table syrup to top as you see fit, as much syrup as you can handle.
If a plain waffle just doesn’t get your heart racing, you can add chocolate chips for just $1.50, adding a whole new level of delicious to your waffle. They get melty and gooey in the waffle press, a definite must-have for any chocoholics out there.
The waffles at Symposium are fantastic, and not just because you can get them basically all day, every day. Warm and fresh, and potentially oozing with chocolate, the waffles are our favourite choice whenever you’re out for breakfast at the Symposium.
Waffles shouldn’t just be a morning food, they should be an anytime food. Whether this is actually a post-meal treat, or just actually your meal, we won’t judge you. These are just the spots that have waffles available later in the day, for a post-breakfast/brunch waffle fix!
Marky’s is basically the destination in London for crepes and waffles. I mean, it’s in the name of their establishment after all! They’ve got all crepes of all sorts, including both savoury and sweet preparations, milkshakes, desserts, and best of all, waffles.
For a shockingly fair price (averaging about $7), you can get yourself a whole assortment of amazing sweet waffles that would be the perfect end to any meal, or may even qualify as a meal in itself.
You could go for the classic Belgian waffle, topped with icing sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Simple and delicious, but you don’t go to Marky’s if you want to play it safe, you go for their unique, amazing concoctions. For instance, the Fruit Haze-nut – as pictured above – which is topped with Nutella, strawberries, bananas, and icing sugar, fruity and chocolatey is exactly what we’re looking for. Or maybe you’d prefer the Strawberry Cheesecake, which has rich cheesecake filling, strawberries, and cookie crumbs – because why have one dessert when you can have two on one plate?
Marky’s has been offering amazing waffles for years, and I’d be surprised if you’ve never heard of them. Located right on the corner of Richmond and Dufferin, they’re so centrally located that every Londoner must have passed the storefront dozens of times. If you’ve been there before, you already know how great it is, and if you haven’t, that’s has to change soon!
Have you heard of Soonies? Because we hadn’t until we posted on Instagram asking where the best waffle was. And boy are we glad that Dos Tacos let us in on this little secret. Located inside of the Babaz shawarma restaurant on the corner of Wharncliffe and Oxford, is Soonies. Their menu is simple, only three items: milkshake, cheesecake, waffle. And oh boy, are their waffles aver amazing.
The waffles are so thick we’re inclined to call them deep dish, perfectly fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Cover that bad boy in cookie crumbs, then a scoop of ice cream, and finally cookie butter. You read that right, cookie butter. Like peanut butter… but cookies instead of peanuts.
If Soonies is a test in self-control, we’re failing hard and we’re happy doing so, because this is too good to pass up.
To Canadians, poutine is no joke. Besides being nice, inventing hockey, and drinking Tim Horton’s, it’s one of the few things this country is truly known for. London is just like any Canadian city, we’re proud of our poutine and we want a lot of it… A whole lot of it.
The restaurants on this list are the best in the business when it comes to making poutine.
All of the restaurants in this section haven’t reinvented the poutine wheel, but then again, they didn’t need to. There aren’t too many surprises when it comes to what you’ll get when you order poutine from one of these spots, but the flavour is absolutely mind-blowing. They’re the best of the best to satisfy that poutine craving that so many Londoners experience.
The Root Cellar is a spot that we’re constantly drawn to. Local ingredients, expertly prepared, served up hot and fresh? It’s impossible to resist. When you cave in to the urge and visit, there’s no better start to your meal than the poutine.
The fries are hand-cut from local, organic potatoes, then fried and seasoned. They’re absolutely fantastic on their own whether you get a full order or as a side with your burger, if you’re somehow reading this and not a fan of poutine. The fries are then topped with cheese curds, then doused in house-made miso gravy.
Vegans of London, rejoice! Ask your waiter for the poutine to be vegan, and in the place of those dairy curds, you’ll get Daiya shreds! When the vegan “cheese” melts under the heat of the fries and gravy, it becomes one of the most delicious, gooey, animal/cruelty-free messes that you’ll ever get to experience.
When the holy trinity of fries, cheese, and gravy comes together in the Root Cellar kitchen, you know you’re in for a treat. It may be the classic recipe, but the Root Cellar puts their own twists and trademarks on it to make it unique, and utterly delicious. Stop by and give it a try for yourself, the only downside is it’s not all you can eat.
Our love affair with Craft Farmacy continues! Ever since we did a Business of the Week with them last fall, we keep going back. Even though we always intend to try something new, the draw of the poutine always screws with our plans. We simply can’t not order it, we need it in our souls.
It’s not just a regular poutine either, it’s duck poutine! You’ve got your fries, cut in house and fried to golden perfection. Top those gorgeous potatoes with local cheese curds, shredded duck confit, and scallions. To finish it all off, a healthy portion of duck demi-glace, which is a kind of rich gravy that was invented in France.
It’s almost unbelievable how good your first bite is – you’ll have to go in for a second, and maybe even a third. The fries are perfectly crisp while the duck confit is so incredibly tender, it practically melts in your mouth. The curds, partially melted by the blanket of warmth that is gravy, are amazing to say the least. When eaten all together, it’s a magical experience. If you’re a fan of poutine, you have to get yourself to Craft Farmacy on the double.
Sammy’s Souvlaki has been a staple in London for 40 years now. Every Londoner has seen their booths around the city, and most of them have probably stopped and eaten there a time or two! Their wraps and sandwiches are always great, and their tzatziki is so good that they sell it by the container for you to take home now, but their poutine is always one of our favourites.
Sammy’s does poutine in classic chip truck style, which makes a whole lot of sense given their facilities. The fries are thick cut, perfect for supporting the weight of a cheese curd, and freshly fried so they’ll be hot and crisp when you get them. The gravy is the brown, delicious sauce that you know and love. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s done well, and compliments the other ingredients flawlessly.
Poutine may not be traditional Greek food, but we sure are happy that Sammy decided to add it to his menu alongside classics from the Mediterranean.
The Early Bird calls itself a “fine diner,” taking your diner classics and elevating them to fine dining status. With an eclectic menu of sandwiches and fabulous all-day breakfast options, the Early Bird has made itself a popular destination for Londoners to grab a fantastic meal.
At the Early Bird you get a choice of gravies for your poutine, either duck or veggie. The duck gravy is amazing, balancing fatty richness and saltiness with ease. The veggie gravy is equally delicious, and perfectly suited for vegetarians since there’s no meat stock or drippings used to make it.
For just an extra fiver, you can add one of their signature meats to your poutine. Either the brisket, the pulled pork, or the smoked ham that’s usually saved for their sandwiches could grace your plate atop your poutine.
If you’re feeling like something a little more unique than a classic poutine, try out the Early Bird’s perogie poutine – all the poutine ingredients you know and love with the addition of Polish perogies hidden under the gravy and cheese. Yep, the perogies don’t replace the fries, they’re added on top of them!
Whether you’re getting your poutine as a side to accompany a sandwich, or it’s just your whole dang meal, you’ll always leave satisfied.
If you love poutine, you’ve undoubtedly been to Smoke’s, I mean, it’s a whole restaurant dedicated to the stuff.
Every poutine begins with fresh hand-cut fries, cheese curds, and Smoke’s signature gravy – although they do also have a veggie gravy for those that choose to not partake in meat. What happens after that is completely up to you.
They’ve got a whole menu of spectacular concoctions with various meats, veggies, and sauces that will blow your mind. From homemade chili to buffalo chicken, Smoke’s has something that will get just about everyone’s mouth watering just looking at the menu.
Smoke’s is also open late, like really late. 3am on Monday through Thursday and 4am on Friday/Saturday night. It’s no surprise, though, they’re right in the middle of downtown, in close walking distance of a bunch of bars. Poutine is an excellent drunk food, one of the best really. Smoke’s just knows their audience!
The restaurants in this section of the list have taken “poutine” as a set of guidelines, as opposed to a hard and fast recipe. They’ve switched things up, taken different ethnic inspiration, or added the ingredients they crave to the amazing poutine formula, and the resulting poutine dishes are irresistible.
Ever in the mood for shawarma and poutine at the same time? What about in the same forkful? Well, look no further than Shelby’s Food Express.
Shawarma poutine, AKA chicken shawarma fries, takes the concept of poutine in a whole new direction. It may not be traditional, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.
What you do is take some fresh fries, top it with Shelby’s incredible chicken shawarma meat, straight off the rotisserie. Sprinkle some feta on there – we know, it’s not curds, but it’s still a salty, cheesy pop that’s undeniably good – and parsley for good measure. Finally, instead of a traditional gravy, there’s a secret Shawarma Fries sauce that’s creamy, spicy, and incredible.
A real stick in the mud would look at the shawarma poutine from Shelby’s and say “that’s not poutine!” Well, we’re more worried about what tastes delicious than what checks all the traditional poutine boxes, and the shawarma fries at Shelby’s Food Express are too good to ignore!
Smok’in Joe’s BBQ not only has one of the most confusingly places apostrophes in London, but also some of the best barbeque. Mouthwatering meats slow cooked and applewood smoked, so tender they melt in your mouth… What more could a Londoner ask for? Oh, how about putting that delicious meat on some poutine!
If you’re looking for something classic, no frills, but still delicious, go for the Simple Joe. Potatoes, curds, gravy, it’s all you really need. Like most things at Smok’in Joe’s, the gravy is smoked, giving it extra flavour and a little more complexity than your run of the mill gravy.
However, for the more adventurous or the more carnivorous out there, Smok’in Joe’s has a few incredible poutine options for you. Take the Simple Joe and add a portion of pulled pork on top, and you’ve got yourself a That’s Not All Folks. Or if you’re more into red meat, get yourself a Beefaholic, which uses their scrumptious smoked brisket.
If it’s barbeque and poutine you crave, then Smok’in Joe’s is the place to go. They’ve got the best of both, and when combined, it’s even greater than the sum of its parts!
Who says poutine can’t be eaten in the morning? Definitely not the folks at Campus HiFi! This downtown breakfast joint has got the breakfast poutine of your dreams.
It begins with the poutine basics: potatoes, cheese curds, gravy. In this case, you can get either the classic choice of fries or switch it up and get home fries, a much more breakfast-y choice.
Alongside the curds and gravy, you get two poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, and your choice of either bacon or sausage. In essence, you’re getting eggs benedict but instead of an English muffin, you get poutine… And that sounds amazing to us.
The poutine also comes with a side of toast, perfect for picking up any of the gravy-yolk-Hollandaise blend that may be left over after all the potatoes have disappeared.
Che Restobar takes poutine and gives it some Latin flair with their version, the yuca poutine. They do something that no one else on this list has done: taken the potato out of poutine. In its place is yuca, another root vegetable that is very common in many cuisines of the world, including Latin.
Atop the yuca fries are cotija cheese, aji Amarillo sauce, and black olive aioli. The cheese adds a salty pop, the sauce adds spice, and the creamy aioli is absolutely incredible.
It’s far from traditional – there’s no potato, curds, or gravy to be found! However, that’s the joy of something as simple as poutine. Chefs can take the basic concept, blend it with any number of global influences and transform it into something that is delicious, new, but still poutine at its core!
To the uninitiated, hot yoga sounds like a form of torture. Incredible heat, tough poses, and a whole lot of sweat. However, for those that have tried it, hot yoga is an incredible workout for both the body and the mind. Stretching, cardio, resistance, and strength training are all components of yoga, and the heat adds another layer of intensity to your work out.
The heat warms your muscles, allowing them to stretch further with a lower risk of injury. It increases your pulse and expands your capillaries, promoting stronger blood flow through your entire body. You also burn more calories, since your body has to go to extra effort to keep cool by sweating. The sweat also stimulates your metabolism and removes toxins from your body. And those are just the physical benefits!
As many know, yoga also has a distinct mental and spiritual aspect to it. Challenging poses and deep breathing require concentration, allowing the stresses of daily life to fall away, even if just for the hour that you’re in the class.
These are the best places in London to practice hot yoga.
Evolation Yoga London is a fantastic yoga studio in the south end of London, offering a wide variety of styles and classes for everyone from beginners to seasoned yoga veterans, in both heated and non-heated rooms. The passionate and knowledgeable team guides you through stretches and exercises that will benefit you in many ways, from stronger muscles to a peaceful mind.
Evolation offers a few different styles of yoga in a heated room, each focusing on training a different aspect of your body.
Their class called Twenty-Six Two Hot is inspired by Bikram Yoga, the original hot yoga style which gained popularity in the 1970’s. This class incorporates exercises for the whole body, building strength and flexibility, and promoting the flow of fresh, oxygenated blood to every extremity. They offer both a 60- or 90-minute session of this class, so do as much as you can handle. After a Twenty-Six Two Hot class, you’ll be sweating, limber, and feeling great!
The Hot Power Flow is much faster-paced, pushing you to your limits to great effect. Evolation says that this class allows you to “detox, stretch, strengthen, destress, improve your metabolism and flexibility” all in this one class. It’s a challenge, but all levels are welcome to join in. You’ll feel incredible after overcoming it and will be eager to return.
Finally, the Hot Vinyasa Flow class provides constant movement between poses, stringing them together seamlessly in time with your breathing. Offered in various difficulty levels, a Hot Vinyasa Flow class is perfect for those of you that want to improve balance, strength, and flexibility, while maintaining strong fundamentals of yoga.
A single class is $20 which you can book ahead on their site, or you can get unlimited yoga for just $50 a month! If you are just trying out yoga for the first time, or looking to switch to Evolation for their awesome classes, your first session is absolutely free!
Modo Yoga was London’s first hot yoga studio! Way back in 2003, they opened their doors and they’ve been offering classes to Londoners ever since. In fact, they’re even the official yoga studio of the London Knights! With two locations in the city, one downtown and one in the south, Modo Yoga is the destination for so many Londoners to get their sweat on!
At Modo Yoga, there are a bunch of different classes and styles that you can attend, each with their own emphasis and specialty. Depending on what you’re looking to get out of the class, any of these could be the right one for you!
Their Modo class is the classic hot yoga you know and love. Poses held in sequence, timed to your breath. Accessible for beginners, but still challenging for people of any experience level. You do as much as you can and push yourself to your limits!
For those looking to delve deep into the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga, they also offer a version of the Modo class that is completely silent. Students follow the teacher’s wordless poses. While it may be harder for some to follow along, for others it is a serene, peaceful moment to look inwards and really tune their mind to their body.
Also offered at Modo Yoga are classes that emphasize balance, flow, and restoration.
When you first sign up, Modo Yoga offers an introductory package – a full month of unlimited yoga for only $40! After that month is done and you’ve decided you want to stick around, a basic membership is $102.65 per month. Alternatively, you can buy class cards in either 10 or 20. When you buy a 10-class card, you can attend any 10 regular classes whenever you have the time!
Modo Yoga London has been the spot for hot yoga in the Forest City for over a decade and a half. Their incredible teachers and awesome space make for a top notch experience, whether this is your first yoga class or your millionth.
The Yoga Shack is “committed to creating a warm and welcoming environment.” Whether that’s a pun about their hot yoga classes, or a mere coincidence we’ll never know, but their dedication to education, empowerment, health, and community is what puts them on this list.
Yoga Shack has five heated classes, and another six non-heated classes. If you’re just getting into yoga, they have a beginner’s class that focuses on education, demonstration, and correction. The room is a little less hot than their other heated classes, to get you accustomed to the feeling of stretching and exercising in a warm space.
For those with more experience, the Hot Hatha classes are perfect. It is a more improvisational class, as opposed to a set series of poses. Follow the instructor through postures, sequences, and static holds, that will keep you on your toes and be a different experience every time you attend.
Yoga Shack proudly states that they make yoga accessible to anyone. They welcome anyone and everyone to join in on a class. With two locations, a variety of classes, and multiple scheduling and membership options, the Yoga Shack makes it easy for anyone to get into yoga, regardless of their busy schedule.
Your journey through yoga may just be starting, or you may have been on this path for a while. Regardless, you’re welcome at the Yoga Shack. Their tremendous classes will have you coming back time and time again!
Movati Athletic is a chain of gyms that believe in the power of teamwork. While yoga is not a team sport, having a group of likeminded, supportive individuals surrounding you changes the energy of the room, and motivates you to push yourself to your limit.
The hot yoga at Movati follows the hatha style. Generally speaking, there are two parts two each class: standing poses and floor work. The standing static postures develop balance and strength, while the floor work stretches the muscles.
A person of any level can participate in this class. The postures are held long enough for beginners to find the pose and their balance, while giving more experienced students the opportunity to build strength by holding the pose for longer periods.
Movati is not a dedicated yoga studio, but a full-service gym with a bevy of equipment for all of your exercising needs – weights, a pool, cycling, squash courts, and plenty more. A membership grants you access to all of this! If you’re looking for an all-around gym experience with hot yoga at the core of it all, Movati is a great place for you.
GoodLife Fitness may be a large corporation, but its roots are firmly planted in the Forest City. The gym began in London in 1979 and its headquarters is still here today. While not every one of its over 300 locations offer hot yoga, two of its London locations do!
Despite the studio existing in a full gym, you won’t be disturbed by any of the other goings on in the GoodLife. The yoga studio is fully insulated for both temperature and sound, making your experience as serene and peaceful as you need it to be.
If you’re not a GoodLife member, you can get unlimited classes for just $65 per month! If you are, then you can add $10 biweekly to your existing membership bill and get unlimited classes! If you’re just interested in picking up a class every once in a while, a single class is $15, or you can buy a 10 pack for $60.
Cheese, glorious cheese! For hundreds of years, humans have been turning milk in to the miracle that is cheese. Dozens, if not hundreds of varieties have been developed over the years, each tastier than the last. Cheddar, mozzarella, stilton, the list goes on and on. Of course, everyone has their own preferences, but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that just straight up doesn’t like cheese, especially from the places on this list.
We aren’t talking about Kraft singles here. Oh, no no no! The cheese coming from the shops on this list are works of art, crafted by artisans, and you can taste the difference. Flavours are bolder than pretty much anything you’ll find in your average grocery store.
Some of the places on this list make and sell their own cheese, while others sell a handful of curated brands that they know and trust, and some do both! Either way, the cheese on this list is premium stuff that you’ll be dying to get your hands on.
Just the name of All Bout Cheese tells you everything you need to know about this local cheese shop. Cheese? They’re all ‘bout it: selling it, eating it, loving it.
The philosophy of All Bout Cheese has three pillars: Top quality products, affordable prices, and excellent customer service. It’s an easy philosophy to maintain when you’re as passionate about the product as Rick Peori and his team at All Bout Cheese.
They specialize in local cheese, partnering with cheesemakers from London and the surrounding area, all of which are expert craftsmen, drawing on years and years of knowledge to make cheese that’s the best of the best. Ontario brands like Gunn’s Hill which are known for being one of the best in southwestern Ontario.
They also import awesome brands from around the world, like Belton Farms, a British cheesemaker with unique, premium products that disappear almost as soon as they hit the shelves at All Bout Cheese.
Since it’s uncommon to just eat a plate full of cheese on its own, All Bout Cheese also carries a variety of products to round out your spread. Sauces, jellies, crackers, olives, and even pate, are available, taking your platter to a whole new level.
Unfortunately, the doors of their Old East Village storefront closed in May of 2018 due to extenuating circumstances. We were incredibly sad to see it happen, but thankfully they’re still at the Western Fair Farmer’s Market every weekend, offering their top notch products from their booth. Make your way out to the market and grab some of the best cheese you’ll ever find!
The life of the Smith Cheese owners, Glenda and Danielle Smith, are about as cheesy as can be, and not in the bad romantic comedy, their lives simply revolve around cheese! The two have been in the cheese-selling game for years, and their experience really shows.
Their booth in the centre of the Covent Garden Market is one of the biggest in the building. Long rows of heavenly cheese and other accoutrements are ready and waiting for you to take them home. With over three hundred varieties of cheese available on site, if you’re looking for something rare or just want to try something new, there’s a good chance that Smith Cheese is the place to get it.
Of course, if you aren’t sure about something, just go ahead and ask! Everyone that works in the booth is not only a cheese expert, they’re also incredibly friendly and excited to share. A shopper could easily get overwhelmed searching alone, but with the help of the staff, you’ll be back home and enjoying your newly purchased cheese in no time!
Smith Cheese also offers a variety of olives (a classic combo with good cheese), sauces, and freshly made dips, including hummus, French onion, and of course queso. Recently, they’ve even added specialty vegan dips, made by the folks at V Food Spot, an awesome little vegan restaurant at the corner of Dundas and Clarence downtown.
Smith Cheese makes exploring cheese a breeze. You can try new, exciting varieties whenever you visit them at the market!
Devizes Cheese Factory has a long history of making great cheese for the people of Ontario. The company started as Devizes Cheese & Butter in the small town of Prospect Hill in 1880. The factory relocated in the early 20th Century to a plot of land located at Highbury and 14 Mile Road just north of London, where it still operates today.
In 1973, Devizes Cheese Factory was purchased by the Aldrich family, and it has been a family affair ever since. Three generations of Aldrichs have been involved in managing the cheese factory and retail shop, but the goal has always been the same: offering the best products to the local community.
Alongside the cheese that they make, Devizes also offers cheese from both local artisans and international producers. There are an abundance of options: over a dozen varieties of cheddar, half a dozen goat cheeses, Havarti, gouda, feta, and the list goes on and on. Did we mention curds? Oh, they’ve got curds. Perfect for a homemade poutine or even a snack on your way home from the store.
The retail store at the cheese factory is in the vein of a general store. In addition to their cheese, they offer meats, eggs, canned goods, baked goods, snacks, and pantry staples. You can find everything from apples (when they’re in season locally) to pepperettes to pastry flour. It’s a one stop shop for amazing, locally made goods.
Devizes Cheese Factory may sit just outside London’s city limits, but the cheese is worth the trek out there. Delicious flavours await you.
Did you know that the city of Oxford County is the dairy capital of Canada? The county, which surrounds the city of Woodstock, leads Ontario in milk production, producing over 1 billion glasses of milk annually. With so much milk being produced, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s some really good cheese being made with it.
Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese is an award-winning cheesemaker that utilizes local milk and Swiss techniques to great effect. With two master cheesemakers and a team supporting them, they make some of Canada’s finest cheese.
Gunn’s Hill offers over a dozen varieties of cheese that they make themselves by hand every day! Their two signatures are the 5 Brothers and Oxford’s Harvest, both of which are absolutely to die for.
5 Brothers is a cow’s milk cheese that combines the traits of gouda with another Swiss cheese called Appenzeller. After being aged on a cedar plank, the resulting cheese is robust, creamy, and rich with sweet overtones.
The Oxford’s Harvest is another cheese that uses cow’s milk. This one is in the style of a little-known Swiss cheese called Mutchli. Mild and buttery, it melts like an absolute dream, but is also great eaten on its own.
Other cheeses offered by Gunn’s Hill use sheep’s milk and even buffalo’s milk! The different types of milk give a unique flavour to the cheese. They’re definitely worth exploring if you’re in the mood for something different.
You can get Gunn’s Hill directly from the producer at their storefront that’s just a five minute drive south of Woodstock, right off of the 401 and the 403. The store is open 9 to 5 every day except Sunday! If you call ahead, you can even get a tour of their factory (which includes a tasting of three cheeses).
If you can’t make it out to the Woodstock area, Gunn’s Hill is carried in over three hundred retailers across Ontario, including the aforementioned All Bout Cheese, so find the one closest to you to pick up a brick of the good stuff!
Okay, so Stonetown Artisan Cheese isn’t exactly in London, but their cheese deserves to be featured regardless of city limits. Made over in St. Mary’s, Stonetown is a family affair and has been since day one.
Stonetown takes “keep it local” to a whole new level! The milk they use for their cheese comes from the cows that share the property! The family operates a dairy farm with 250 holstein cows whose milk will eventually be Stonetown cheese, unpasteurized and with no additives.
The Weber family came from Switzerland, where parents Hans and Jolanda worked in the Swiss Alps making cheese. They immigrated to Canada with their three children and founded Stonetown Artisan Cheese, continuing on in Swiss tradition using techniques and recipes that they learned in their homeland. Together with master Swiss cheesemaker Ramon Eberle, they create some truly stunning cheese.
With fifteen varieties of cheese being made, there’s almost too many options to pick from. Grand Trunk, a Gruyere style cheese, is one of their most popular, both with the general population and in contests! Grand Trunk has won first place in multiple cheese competitions, including the 2016 and 2017 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and most recently, the 2018 British Empire Cheese Competition. That many expert judges and cheese aficionados can’t be wrong!
Stonetown Cheese can be found all across Ontario in many locations, from small boutiques to large chains. Find out here where the closest location is to you, or head to their on-farm store and pick it up directly!
Whether you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, nothing should stop you from enjoying cheese. These couple of places have proven that great cheese doesn’t need to have dairy to be truly delicious. Utilizing incredible techniques, these folks transform various ingredients into a cheese product that will make your mouth water. Dietary restrictions shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the joy of cheese, and these places are making it possible!
Nuts for Cheese is a locally produced faux cheese product that has absolutely boomed in popularity. What started as a booth in the Western Fair Farmer’s Market has become a national brand and one of the most well-known vegan cheese alternatives in the country.
Nuts for Cheese uses cashews and a fermentation process to create their convincingly cheesy product. Completely vegan, gluten free, and organic, Nuts for Cheese will leave you wondering why exactly you hadn’t tried it earlier.
Those that are uninitiated in the world of vegan cheeses may take a step back and say “how convincing is it really?” Well it’s spreadable, shredable, and meltable just like any similar dairy-based cheese. It’s fermented like a dairy-based cheese, which allows flavour-boosting cultures to develop. There are definitely more similarities than there are differences!
There are five varieties of cashew cheese up for grabs: Un-Brie-Lievable, Super “Blue,” Chipotle Cheddar, Red Rind, and Smoky Artichoke and Herb. Each flavour has been developed to perfectly balance sharpness, creaminess, and other added flavours that enhance the cheese.
Nuts for Cheese is available across Ontario and Quebec in various retail stores, or if you’re a London local, you can go to the Western Fair Farmer’s Market to pick up a wedge of your favourite cashew cheese!
Nuts for Cheese may not have dairy, but they’ve got just as much passion for cheese and awesome flavours. Whether you’re vegan or not, Nuts for Cheese is delicious!
Main Vegan Deli is proof that vegan food isn’t just raw veggies. They have taken the flavours and textures of meats and cheese that the world knows and craves, and removed any animal products from the equation! How, you may ask? Well that’s a trade secret, all we know is it’s amazingly delicious.
Main Vegan Deli has ten types of cheese, each mimicking the flavour and texture of a dairy cheese with eerie similarity. Their chedd-ahh is a near perfect imitation of a medium cheddar, perfect for on a sandwich or melted on a burger. The no buffalo mozza melts and stretches just like the real thing, making it ideal for pizza, but it is also incredible cold, like in a caprese salad.
You can buy Main Vegan Deli cheese straight from their deli in Glencoe, or from a number of retailers across Ontario. In London, your options are Curley Brewing Co and Naturally Vegan.