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Wolf Performance Hall

The Wolf Performance Hall is London’s most impressive spot to present virtually anything you want, to have meetings, or to gather to view a performance. Located in the Central branch of the London Public Library, the Wolf Performance Hall does a brisk business as the place where London goes to take in an eclectic variety of performances, lectures, and other art forms. Regardless of the season, Wolf Performance Hall offers a lineup that is sure to please Londoners of all interests and walks of life.




History

The performance space that is now Wolf Performance Hall is also a part of the story of the changing face of how Londoners shop and interact with one another. The story of how the performance center came about stems from the efforts to revitalize the neighbourhood of Downtown London. After the optimism of the 1960s, the 1970s had been a rude awakening. Rapidly rising energy costs and expanding global markets meant that competition for jobs had become stiff. People were not just competing with their neighbours in the economy, they were competing with people on the other side of the world who could do their jobs faster and cheaper. The slow loss of manufacturing jobs and related forms of employment meant a reduced tax base, and a reduced tax base meant less money to maintain and improve vital sections of the city of London, including the downtown. As a result, urban decay began to set in, with abandoned storefronts, broken windows, and grime popping up here and there throughout the neighbourhood.

By the mid-1980s, though, the situation stabilized and the city was ready to give the downtown a makeover. Part of this revitalization was the growth of downtown shopping. Since 1960, the Wellington Square had occupied a prime location in the heart of downtown London, with 400,000 square feet of space and a pair of then-big name anchor stores: Eaton’s and Woolworth’s. By the time London needed to revitalize the downtown, Woolworth’s was gone; however, the Campeau company in 1986 announced that they were expanding the Wellington Square into the Galleria Mall, a new, flashy mall space in downtown London that would occupy over a million square feet of space, attract 75,000 customers per day in foot traffic, and feature big retail names like Eddie Bauer, Harry Rosen, and the Gap. It was a big dream and it proved to be quite controversial at the time. Downtown merchants accused the Campeau group of trying to undercut their business by taking foot traffic away from the streets of downtown London into the central space that would be the Galleria Mall. At the same time, it was uncertain whether or not downtown London could support such a gigantic retail space – the largest in the entire region of southwestern Ontario – given the existence of both Masonville and White Oaks Malls, as well as the several neighbourhood malls that London supported at the time.

These concerns proved to be quite true. The Galleria Mall opened in 1989 and immediately was put up as collateral by a suddenly bankrupt Campeau group. The foot traffic failed to materialize; profits remained stubbornly low, or non-existent, for the retailers who had opened up spaces in the revitalized mall. Less than a year after it opened, the brutal global recession of the early 1990s began and decimated retail shopping both in London and elsewhere. The transition from the Wellington Square space into the Galleria Mall had cost $175 million; when the Galleria was finally sold in 1996 it went for a relatively miniscule $51 million. That price tag reflected the circumstances the mall found itself in. It was 35% vacant, and its anchors were on their last legs. Eaton’s closed in 1999, finally deciding that accepting $35 per square foot in retail sales was completely pointless. The Bay followed suit in 2000, relocating to a pair of smaller locations at both Masonville and White Oaks. By the time the 21stCentury got underway there were only 20 stores still operating at the Galleria.

Dead malls have become something of a morbid fascination in recent years – check out Dan Bell’s Dead Malls series on YouTube if you’re interested in how malls across North America have been coping with the decline of shopping malls as a place where we come together to shop. The question always comes down to what you do with a shopping mall when the shopping goes away. How do you deal with a massive, mostly-empty space that costs a lot to maintain but isn’t going to be attracting any new retail business, thanks to suburban supercentres like Wal Mart and the Real Canadian Superstore, as well as the sharp rise in online shopping through sites like Amazon? You can’t very well just waltz in and tear the whole thing down; it would leave an ugly scar on the face of the downtown and would cost far more than it’s really worth. Leaving it empty is just as ugly, though, and attracts unsavoury elements to the area.

Moving The Library

One of the ways that cities have been able to deal with the dead mall problem has been to repurpose them for use by non-retail organizations. The Arcade Providence in Rhode Island repurposed their empty space into micro-apartments for young singles moving to the city to pursue work and education. Closer to home, Westmount Mall has partially solved the problem of declining retail spaces by leasing out their top floor to a collection of medical specialists who operate their practices out of former storefronts. The Galleria went down this path as well. The space that was Eaton’s has since become a call centre. Western University leased a large space in the mall for some of it’s continuing education programs. The Odeon Cineplex that had been one of the centrepieces of the Galleria in it’s mostly-imagined heyday was purchased by Rainbow Cinema (now Imagine Cinema), who moved their operations from their former location at Smuggler’s Alley (the long-since demolished London Mews mall downtown) to the Galleria. Fanshawe College opened up an expansion of the Theatre Arts program in the Galleria in 2004, and Citi Cards Canada– the consumer credit division of banking conglomerate Citi Group – opened 114,000 square feet of office space in the Galleria in 2006. Twenty years after it opened, the Galleria changed it’s name to Citi Plaza, to better reflect it’s new purpose as a vital downtown center of business, with a little commerce thrown in.

One of the key factors in this transformation was the transfer of the London Public Library’s Central Branch to the space that used to be The Bay. Opening the Central Branch at the Galleria required a great deal of exterior work to ensure that the proper architecture was in place. I once overheard someone referring to the original design of the Galleria Mall as “like a fortress” and this was quite an apt description. The architects went with a design that eschewed windows in favour of monolithic concrete. There were no exterior windows or street-facing shops at the Galleria Mall, which was fine for cutting-edge mall design in 1989. For the new, prestigious Central Branch of the city’s library system, however, it would not do. To this end, renovations included cutting actual windows into the building, as well as installing huge clerestories (those big windows that are set closer to the ceiling in buildings that direct light and air into the building and then down, flooding the place with natural light). The end result was an expansive and spacious feeling befitting the city’s main library.

The Wolf Performance Hall

The construction of the Wolf Performance Hall was one of the key features of the new Central Branch. Libraries are more than just a place to check out some books, after all. They are centers of research outside of universities, and they are also places for groups of all sizes to come together to meet and discuss. To this end, Wolf Performance Hall was designed to be the central meeting place, the biggest and best of all of the meeting places in all of the libraries in the City of London. The idea behind Wolf Performance Hall is that a stage is more than just a stage – more than just a plank of wood that you trot out on to do whatever it is you came to do. Fundamentally, a stage is about ideas, and more to the point, about bringing those ideas to life in front of other people. To this end, Wolf Performance Hall is built to accommodate just about any meeting idea that you can think of, including public lectures, trade conferences, group meetings, theatrical and musical performances, film festivals, single film screenings, fundraisers, dance recitals, and even weddings.

            Wolf Performance Hall features 370 seats, each of them fully accessible. Each seat has an attached lecture desk that swings out from under the seat, which makes taking notes during lectures or performances quick and easy. The stage features two separate screens, one upstage and one downstage (the downstage screen being slightly larger); the projection system for these screens is a state-of-the-art laser projection system. The lighting system is also on the cutting edge, with the lights being LED, powered by remote smart technology, and capable of a full range of motion. The digital sound system is a tasty surround sound system, but the Wolf Performance Hall also features a full Grand Piano for those who want to put on an epic acoustic performance as well. The stage floor uses an integrated spring system, allowing for a wide variety of dance and other physical performances to take place on it without having to worry about injuries to performers.




The Wolf Performance Hall is one of the busiest spaces in the entire city of London when it comes to lectures, debates, and performances. Past performances have included the Forest City Film Festival, a film festival dedicated to showcasing the best local and regional films from southwestern Ontario and beyond; films shown at the Wolf Performance hall for the festival have included local filmmaker Andrew Kooman’sShe Has A Nameas well as The Drawer Boyand On Her Shoulders. Children’s creative performances have always been a big draw, with the Little Theatre Company and Original Kids both displaying their skills and wonder on the stage at the Wolf Performance Hall. Comedy is another favourite; DeAnne Smith, a Montreal comic who scored a huge viral video with “Straight Men, Step Up Your Game”, put on a big performance at the hall in 2018. CBC London has also gotten into the habit of hosting performances. One of the biggest events of the year is CBC London’s Sounds Of The Season fundraiser, which aims to bring in donations for the London food bank. 2018’s lineup included jazz singers, chefs, choir music, and the delightful taste of free samples from London’s premier coffee company, Fire Roasted Coffee.

How To Get There

So, if the idea of having a place to see TED-style talks, debates, comics, singers, musical performers, dance troupes, films, and theatrical performances sounds like a good idea to you, the next question will inevitably be “how do I get there and, more importantly, where can I park?” The Wolf Performance Hall is located in the Central Branch of the London Public Library, in the Citi Plaza at 251 Dundas Street. This is the heart of downton London and it’s easy enough to get to by car or public transportation. It’s also within quick walking distance of London’s VIA Rail station. For those driving, parking is available directly at Citi Plaza; with approximately 1,500 parking spaces, you’re likely to find a spot. However, alternate parking is available in lots to the north and south of the London Convention Centre, which is located across the street from Citi Plaza.

If you’re on the other side of the spectrum, and you want to host an event at the Wolf Performance Hall, the Library makes this easy as well. The Hall uses the Eventbrite system to easily set up requests to host performances of any nature; simply fill out the form and wait for approval by the administration of the Hall.

Hyland Cinema

The Hyland Cinema is London, Ontario’s favourite art-house cinema destination. Located along Wharncliffe Road just south of the Thames River, the Hyland Cinema has a long and storied tradition in the city’s history as the place where London’s older population went to view movies, often for the first time. While mainstream cinemas in the city of London attract audiences with the latest superhero-driven blockbusters, the Hyland Cinema is the place to see the latest and the greatest among the critically acclaimed films that Hollywood puts out: the Oscar nominees, the difficult experimental films, the thought-provoking and at times controversial documentaries. If it’s stylish, thoughtful, and not up for a Teen Choice award, it’ll probably pass through the screens of the Hyland Cinema.   Hyland cinemas  

Film In London

Movies have been a part of London history since we first learned how to make still images come alive on the screen. The first film shown in London was a ‘multigraph’ film shown at an old opera house in 1898. This type of film was a massive undertaking to show; the multigraph machine itself was six feet by eight feet, weighed a ton, and had to be taken up the stairs of the opera house by a special set of ropes and tackle. Luckily (for both film audiences and the projection crew) it grew easier over time to show films, and the artform exploded as the Twentieth Century drew on. A nickelodeon opened in 1903, which shows the progress of cinema history in London. Nickelodeons as a whole revolutionized how films were shown to audiences. Before the advent of the nickelodeon, films were shown as part of travelling acts, with ‘peep show’ type machines being popular in the curiosities tents at circuses and oddities shows. They were also popular, if infrequent, items to show at vaudeville theatres, to complement the live acts on display there. The nickelodeon, however, was a space specifically built to showcase motion pictures. In the beginning these were often converted storefronts that tended to be drafty and ill-lit. Seating would be limited (often with less that two hundred hard wooden chairs for patrons), and the screen would typically be hung haphazardly at the back of the old store. Over time they would grow to be more luxurious, but in the beginning they were rather primitive and uncomfortable. They were, however, the first theatres specifically dedicated to the showcasing of films.     The first of these nickelodeons appeared in 1888 in Boston. The popularity of the nickelodeon theatre peaked between 1905 and 1915; London’s nickelodeon was an early adopter of the form. London has always been a place where you can find the cutting edge in consumer technology; the city’s position along Highway 401 along the trade route from Detroit and it’s mixture of the rural and the urban have always made it a great place to test out the latest and the greatest in entertainment. Film history is no different; nickelodeons hit their stride in the leadup to the First World War, but London had them well before that, and it proved to be as popular in London as it did across the continent. The growth of nickelodeons also coincided with the growth in longer films; as theatres grew more comfortable, the ability of filmgoers to sit through longer runtimes improved. The first two-reel film shown in London was Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery. The 11-minute film, which premiered in 1903, was a landmark of early cinema and paved the way for further developments in the art form; The Great Train Robbery made its London debut in 1905. It was one of the longest films made up to that point, and it featured things, like action sequences, special effects, and on-screen violence, that are still extremely popular items in films today. Nickelodeons popularized longer films, which gave them the impetus to make the theatres larger, more comfortable, and stocked with more amenities. Directors liked the idea because longer films gave them more leeway to tell complex narratives and make artistic statements; audiences liked it because as films grew longer, storytelling got better, and they got a longer experience for the same price. Nickelodeons eventually grew into the kind of movie theatres that we are familiar with today.   hyland closeup  

The Hyland

The Hyland Cinema began life as a theatre called The Elmwood. The Elmwood, a 514-seat cinema, was built in the 1930s. At the time, economic downturn, social struggle, and global insecurity made the Great Depression worthy of its name. One of the most popular ways for North Americans to distract themselves from the daily struggle of survival during the Depression was to go to the cinema, which was one of the few affordable sources of entertainment available to the working class at the time.  The Elmwood began as a second-run cinema, which was the biggest factor in making it affordable for ordinary people in the depths of the 1930s. Second-run cinemas specialize in buying films from bigger first-run cinemas after the original first run of the film was completed. When the Elmwood opened, this meant literally buying the physical 35mm film reels; worn down after dozens of screenings on their original run, the films would be of lower quality. The audiences are also typically smaller, since they would often consist of people who had somehow missed the film the first time around, or of people who couldn’t afford to see the film in it’s initial (often much more expensive) run. Second run cinemas during the Depression were, however, big business; with audiences looking to save money however they could (especially farmers, who were among the hardest hit by the Depression), second run cinemas during the Thirties could attract crowds that rivalled the audiences drawn by the first-run theatres. The Elmwood in the beginning would buy up films that were finished their first run and package them into double-features; in this fashion, the theatre could charge a little more per ticket while still offering a great deal for the patron. After the start of the Second World War, the Elmwood switched gears to become a first-run cinema, this time for art house British films. A perfect example of the kind of film that was shown during this period was Henry V, the 1944 British film starring Sir Laurence Olivier as the titular King. These were films that were not perhaps the most popular films of their day. Some of 1944’s top films were Arsenic And Old Laceand Double Indemnity: big, laugh-out-loud comedies and stylish film noir. By contrast, films like Henry Vwere artistic spectacles, with the costuming and acting presence of theatrical productions and the cinematic ability to showcase large setpiece battles and intimate, sometimes claustrophobic shots. The Elmwood became, for a time, the premier place to go to see the best in British films in London, Ontario. This reputation culminated in the Elmwood being among the first theatres in Canada to show The Best Years Of Our Lives in 1946. The film, produced by Samuel Goldwyn and starring Myrna Loy, Frederic March, and Dana Andrews, concerned the lives of three veterans of the Second World War as they attempted to readjust to life in peacetime after the end of the war. The film won seven Academy Awards in 1946, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actor (Fredric March), Best Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert E. Sherwood, who adapted it from the novella Glory For Meby MacKinlay Kantor), and Best Original Score. Showing The Best Years Of Our Livesbefore it came to many other Canadian destinations was a sign that the Elmwood, and London itself, were on the cutting edge of critically-acclaimed cinema.     In 1959 the Elmwood was bought by the Odeon Theatres of Canada, a company that was first formed in 1941 by Famous Players president Nathan L. Nathanson and his son, Paul Nathanson. The company, at first a collective of independent cinemas, was absorbed into the Odeon Theatres global brand in 1946. The Rank Organization, a British entertainment conglomerate, owned the Odeon chain and emphasized British films as part of the wave of goodwill and cheer toward the home country in the wake of the Second World War. The Elmwood’s love of British art house cinema was likely the biggest selling point on buying up the theatre, and even though the Odeon owners changed the name to the Hyland, it still focused primarily on British films at the time. The very first film screened under the Hyland name was the 1959 comedy Carry On Nurse, the second and most famous of the 31 British Carry Onfilms and television specials. The film was quite successful; it was the top-grossing film of 1959 at home in Britain and also found widespread success in North America, with some cinemas keeping it on for up to three years. The film enjoyed a four-month run at the Hyland. Four months is an exceedingly long time for a film to stay in theatres from our perspectives today. These days it’s common for even a wildly successful film to be in and out of theatres in a month. In those days, however, it was fairly common for successful movies to stay in circulation as long as they were successful, and the four-month run by Carry On Nurseisn’t even particularly high by Hyland standards. In fact, the record-holder for the longest run by any film at the Hyland is The Sound Of Music, which premiered in 1965 and ran for 73 weeks straight. That’s a fact that would sound crazy for any other film, of course, but The Sound Of Musicis still today one of those movies that people will stop what they’re doing to watch if it’s on.   old style cinema   The 1970s were a period of success for the Hyland. The advantage of having a big entertainment conglomerate backing you is that there’s suddenly tons of money for redesigning, and that’s exactly what the Hyland did. The front door of the cinema used to be directly under the marquee; it was moved in the Seventies to accommodate a new concession stand, a much larger lobby, and new washrooms. At the same time, the sound system and the projection booth were upgraded to a more modern setup. Their success continued into the Eighties, during the dawn of the Age Of The Blockbuster. Some examples of first-run blockbuster screenings that the Hyland ran through the 1980s include ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Back To The Future, and Field Of Dreams. While the blockbusters brought in crowds from both the neighbourhood and from all over the surrounding region, the Hyland never forgot their art house roots, either. In 1988, the Hyland was the scene of a fairly large protest by concerned Christians who were against the Hyland’s screening of Martin Scorcese’s controversial The Last Temptation Of Christ. All good things must come to and end, however, and by the end of the Eighties the time of the neighbourhood cinema was almost past. Like so many other industries of the time, cinemas were consolidating, merging, and getting much bigger. The end of the Eighties saw the rise of the modern cineplex: a huge place that contained up to a dozen separate cinemas, each showing a different movie. The idea was much like the sprawling shopping mall or the department superstore: make one place that offers everything so that it makes sense for the consumer to come there and no where else. Cineplexes are convenient, but they eliminated the charming institution of the neighbourhood cinema. The 1970s saw a number of smaller theatres close throughout London; there were, between 1940 and 1970, anywhere between ten and twelve theatres operating in the city at any one given time. By 1989, the number had been reduced sharply, and when the Odeon company opened the Galleria cineplex in that year four more closed. One of these was the Hyland. The Hyland was very nearly torn down and stripped for parts by Odeon when it closed in 1989, but it was instead sold to the Christian Centre of London, who planned on using it as a “film ministry.” The Christian Centre sold the building in 2001, to a couple who wanted to rebuild the theatre’s legacy as a great place to watch some good, not-quite-mainstream films. They named it the Hyland Cinema, which is the name it operates under today.    

The Modern Hyland

Today, the Hyland Cinema is the best place in London to catch films that have achieved some acclaim at the Toronto, Cannes, and Sundance Film Festivals, as well as cutting-edge independent releases and documentaries. It’s also a theatre where you can catch retrospectives and revivals. Recent years have seen events such as a screening of the films of David Lynch, as well as the ongoing Retro-mania event, which brings back classic films from the past couple of decades, such as Fight Die Hard. You can get a ticket to a movie for $8, but you can also get a yearly membership for the low price of $12, which seems easily like the best deal for entertainment anywhere in the city. There are 40 parking spots at the cinema itself, but since it’s a 414 seat theatre you may need to find parking in the area; Duchess Avenue, Elmwood Avenue, the streets across Wharncliffe Road are good places to scout out a place to park without having to walk very far to the theatre. Showtimes typically start around 11:30 AM but may be earlier or later depending on that day’s schedule; regardless, the box office will open a half hour before the first listed showtime. Just south of the Thames at 240 Wharncliffe Road South, the Hyland Cinema is essentially the neighbourhood cinema of London’s Old South neighbourhood, the cinematic heart of the artsy enclave of Wortley Village. Whether you’re looking for the latest in cutting-edge film or you want to recapture the glory days of older film, Hyland Cinema is sure to have something to draw you through the door.  

London Squash Club

The London Squash & Fitness Club is the city of London’s premier destination for all things relating to the sport of squash. It features four international singles courts and a North American doubles court, as well as all of the amenities one expects from a world-class fitness facility. The London Squash Club is located in a beautiful part of downtown London, just south of Ann Street Park and east of the Thames River at 76 Albert Street.   London squash and fitness club   The story of squash in London, Ontario begins in September, 1966 when the London Squash & Fitness Club was established, with a focus on both squash and fitness and an organization that prides itself on being non-profit and member-owned. The building that the London Squash & Fitness Club is housed in began life as a family home, which is clearly visible from the street. Additions have been made to the original building, of course, but the façade of the club still resembles many large family homes in the area, especially with regard to the yellow brick that was at one point extremely popular for houses both in the country and in the city. It’s a unique look for fitness facilities in Ontario and brings a level of warmth and charm that is often lacking in such places. The additions have added a lot, of course; the fitness centre on the second floor and the club lounge with licensed bar are both additions after the fact, and the $500,000 worth of upgrades that were completed in 2011 made the London Squash & Fitness Club a top notch and modern athletic facility. The London Squash & Fitness Club now boasts over 300 members, all of whom own a stake in the club. The club and it’s members pride themselves on offering a healthy competitive atmosphere for those who have been playing the sport for years, as well as an atmosphere of educational support for people who are new to the sport and looking to pick it up in order to stay fit and have fun in a social setting. The social setting is also a big part of the membership to the London Squash & Fitness Club; the lounge provides a great meeting place for members, and the activities that the club sponsors – including member ladders, tournaments, the city squash league, and social events – keep members fit andsocial. The yearly pinnacle of this is the Nash Cup, an official tournament sanctioned by both provincial and global squash authorities that brings some of the world’s top squash players to the London Squash & Fitness Club.   couple playing squash  

What Is Squash?

What is squash, though? Squash is a racket-based game played by two players (called “singles squash”) or four players (called “doubles squash”). The squash court itself is a four-walled room (often times today the back wall will be glass). To play, players must use a racket to alternate hitting the ball onto the playable surfaces of the walls of the court. A racket is spun to determine the first serve, and then after that players have to hit the ball to the part of the wall above the service line, but below the out line. On the way back from the wall, the ball is allowed to hit the floor once before the player hits it back toward the wall. The ball can bounce off of the side and back walls as often as necessary, but the only once on the floor. That seemsfairly straightforward, but it gets more complicated when you add in how to score points and keep track of who’s winning. There are three systems of scoring in squash, and which one you use depends on how you learned to play squash and how emotionally attached you get to specific scoring systems in small sports organizations. The following is a brief although certainly not exhaustive breakdown on each of these systems.   squash rackets and balls   The English system (also known as the Hand-In-Hand-Out system) is the one that the sport originally used when it was created. This is more like the tennis system, where if there server wins the rally they get a point, and if the returner wins a rally they get the advantage of serving in the next round (and thereby potentially being able to score). The first person to get to nine points wins the match. If the match is a nailbiter, however (tied 8-8), the first player who reached 8 gets to decide if 9 will be the winning point, or if the match will get played to 10. These two conditions are known, with typical English obscurity, as “set one” and “set two.” The Point-A-Rally Scoring system (or PARS) gives the winner of a rally the point for the round no matter whether they’re the server or not. In this system the match point is 11, although the winner has to win by two full points so the game can in practice score quite high. The PARS system is the one used on both the men’s and women’s professional tours and in other types of “official” matches. Finally there is the American Scoring system. American Scoring is virtually the same as the PARS system except the match point is 15. This isn’t used much, since a match to 15 points tends to be more of an endurance match than it is a good game of squash. This was the same rationale behind the professional squash world’s adoption of the PARS system, as well. Under the English system, official matches could vary wildly in length; since the system tends to produce matches where players trade serving back and forth for a while before scoring a point. Thus it, too, became an endurance match. Switching to the PARS system allowed tour organizers to more accurately predict match length, and thus made it easier to schedule days. However, many players prefer the English system because it adds a psychological element to the game, whereby a player can tactically wear down their opponent by drawing out the length of the match. There is some controversy in the professional world over which scoring method is superior; the Professional Squash Association switched to PARS in 2004 and the World Squash Federation switched in 2009, but many player organizations claimed that the essence of the game is contained in the English system and that the PARS system destroys the strategic planning that many find essential to the sport.   old school squash game black and white  

Who Comes Up With These Things?

Squash is an old game that is based on even older English games. The idea of using stringed rackets to hit a ball was something that came out of royal court tennis, which dates back to an even earlier set of sport in France in the 12thCentury that were played in the courtyards of medieval towns. It is also clearly descended from the English game of rackets. Rackets was first played as a way to kill time while serving time in one of London’s debtor prisons in the 17thCentury. All one needed was a wall, a ball, and a racket, so it became a popular casual game in a place where that might be all you have. Prisoners released after working off their debt brought the game out into the wider world, and by the late 1700s it was a popular pastime in the alleys behind bars and in school yards. Squash, in the modern sense, was first played around 1830 by students at Harrow School in London, England, one of London’s elite boarding schools. It became a choice pastime first as a more adventurous sport played anywhere, which led to some rather dangerous situations involving water pipes, chimneys, and ledges. Eventually the school stepped in and built four courts specifically for playing squash and provided natural rubber balls for play. The sport’s ‘play-anywhere’ aspect had an effect on the racket design, though; because so many of the spaces the sport was originally played were in cramped areas, the rackets had to be redesigned to have a shorter reach. It was no good to have to play so close to your opponent that your rackets tangled up, so a shorter, more efficient racket was desired. From Harrow School, squash spread out across England with schools, clubs, and private citizens building squash courts and taking up the sport. At the time there were no real regulations on how a squash court was built, only that there were walls that balls could be bounced off of. The sport spread to North America by the late 19thCentury, with the continent’s first squash court being built at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire in 1884. The first national association for squash was formed shortly after, when the United States Squash Rackets Association was formed in Philadelphia in 1904. In 1907 the organization in charge of setting the rules for tennis and rackets decided to lay out the standardized rules of the sport. These rules were modified in 1923 when the Royal Automobile Club met to discuss the official rules and regulations of squash, squash rackets, and squash courts. An actual organization specifically meant to maintain the rules of squash, and change them when necessary, was formed in 1928; this was the Squash Rackets Association. In 1922, the first international squash match was played when the U.S. and Canada sent athletes to play for the inaugural Lapham Cup. In 1924 Britain sent athletes, making it the first truly global squash tournament in history. animated squash player   After the Second World War, squash began to very quickly grow in popularity. Championships and tournaments grew and the number of nations that sent athletes to them grew as well. By the time that the London Squash & Fitness Club opened in 1966, international matches were becoming a passion across the Commonwealth and the United States. The very next year, representatives from Australia, Britain, Egypt, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and South Africa met to form the International Squash Rackets Federation, which regulated international play and held world championships. The United States and Canada were admitted in 1969, and within ten years the number of countries in the International Squash Rackets Federation doubled. A name change happened in 1992, with the International Squash Rackets Federation becoming the World Squash Federation. The Federation worked hard at getting squash accepted as a more prestigious sport, and in 1998 it was first played at the Commonwealth Games. Today, the World Squash Federation comprises 119 nations across the world.   London squash and fitness club  

The Nash Cup

Today the London Squash & Fitness Club holds its own professionally sanctioned championship, called the Nash Cup. The Nash Cup was originally called the NASHionals, and it was first held in 2003 with around 70 participants. In 2008, it was decided that the NASHionals would become a professional event, with a purse of $5,000. This professionally sanctioned tournament was a big success and was repeated in subsequent years. A women’s purse was added alongside the men’s purse, and in 2018 the Nash Cup was the only tournament in the Professional Squash Association that featured a larger women’s purse than the men’s purse. In 2017, the Nash Cup’s $30,000 total purse was the largest Professional Squash Association event ever held in Canada; both the men’s and the women’s events featured some of the hundred best squash players on the planet.   London squash and fitness club 1966

 

Not A Pro?

No need to worry if you’re not up to the exacting standards of professional squash, of course. The London Squash & Fitness Club focuses on getting players of all skill levels out onto the court, and there are a few ways in which they do this. The most organized of these are the club’s in-house leagues, which feature flexible match times that can work around the player’s schedule and ability. Lessons with expert players are also available, for those who want a leg up on the next match. This training program also extends to children and adolescents, who can take lessons even if their parents aren’t members of the club. The club also takes the fitness part of the equation seriously. In addition to the fitness training facility on the second floor, the club also maintains the services of a professional massage therapist and runs a pro shop where you can purchase the best available gear with sharp advice from expert players.    

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

          Canadian medical hall of fame                The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is an institution located in London, Ontario that seeks to honour the medical heroes of Canada, from the early beginnings to the modern day. Their specific mission is to recognize and celebrate medical scientists who have advanced the state and the science of health in Canada, and who have inspired others to take up a career serving society as a medical practitioner. Through an annual induction ceremony, educational grants and opportunities, and a physical exhibit hall, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame exists to serve as the national memory for our greatest achievements in the advancement of medicine.

           The Organization

              The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is a partnership among a number of organizations with a keen interest in the subject. The first of these is the Canadian Medical Association, the interest group that advocates for and advances the position of medical professionals in Canada. The CMA exists to push for meaningful change in the medical profession, to advance the safety and welfare of both patients and doctors within Canada’s medical system. They do this by framing conversations and advancing debate on contemporary issues in the field of medicine. The second organization, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, exists for a fairly similar purpose. While the Canadian Medical Association exists to advocate for doctors, the Royal College exists to educate, license, and regulate the medical profession within Canada. University medical programs receive their accreditation through the Royal College, and the standardized examinations that doctors must take in order to receive their specialist certifications are written and administered by the Royal College. They also promote lifelong learning among medical professionals and underwrite some of the medical and medical science research that takes place in Canada.             The third organization is the College of Family Physicians of Canada, which exists along a similar line to the Canadian Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The College of Family Physicians of Canada exists to establish training standards, certify, and promote the lifelong education of family physicians. They also exist to promote the profession of family medicine and to advocate for family physicians and their patients. The fourth organization, finally, is the City of London, which provides the local partnership for the national organization.

           The Exhibit Hall

  google street view Canadian medical hall of fame                        The physical location of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, known as the Exhibit Hall, is located at 267 Dundas Street, in downtown London, Ontario, at the southwest corner of Wellington and Dundas Streets. The building was first built in 1928 as the regional headquarters of the Bank of Toronto; over the years, it also housed professionals practicing real estate, insurance, investments, and the law. The mergers of the late 20thand early 21stCenturies eventually saw the successor corporation of the Bank of Toronto, TD Bank, merge with Canada Trust. In that merger, the London headquarters was deemed a surplus property and was sold to the City of London for a dollar in 2001. The city named it after former Canada Trust president J. Allyn Taylor, a noted philanthropist and tireless advocate for the city of London. Among his business ventures, he served as the Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario as well as on the boards of University Hospital, the local YM-YWCA, the London Community Foundation, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Inspiration for the J. Allyn Taylor Building is clearly Renaissance architecture, with its symmetrical design, the parapets on the façade above the ground floor, and the medallions along the top storey of the building. It lends a gravitas to the sober proceedings within the building itself. The interior is divided into several different areas. The Laureate Portrait Gallery displays the members of the Hall of Fame themselves, each one designed by Irma Coucill, a London native who now lives in Toronto and brings each member to life in a strong, passionate way; her work has also appeared in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and private corporate ownership. This collection also includes a bust of Dr. Calvin Stiller, the founder of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and himself an inductee in 2010. Dr. Stiller was behind the successful organ transplant program at University Hospital and was a pioneer of transplant research across the country. In addition to the Medical Hall of Fame, he was a founding partner of the Robarts Research Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and the Stiller Centre. The bust itself was sculpted by local London artist George Shadford.                           Beyond the portrait gallery, there is are further elements to the Exhibit Hall. The Wall of Wisdom shares inspirational quotes by members of the hall of fame, presented in both English and French. In addition, there are three feature exhibits that showcase advancements in Canadian medical science.             The first feature exhibit is titled Mother and Child and focuses on health and safety in pregnancy and children. The exhibit shows some of the more interesting and recent breakthroughs in pediatric surgery, including a number of medical firsts that were accomplished by doctors right in London. It also showcases the work of the inventor of the “childproof” medicine bottle (where you have to press down and turn) as well as the “Barr Body”, the condensed, inactive X chromosome that is found in the nuclei of the somatic cells of female mammals.             The second exhibit is titled Vital Flow and the displays showcase the systems of the body. In particular, it displays important recent discoveries in the cardiovascular system. This includes both examinations of the invention and progress of the pacemaker and the heart monitor. It also shows some of the history and recent advancement of heart surgery, as well as the early detection and treatment of heart defects.             The third exhibit is titled Brain and Mind and showcases the recent work on neuropsychology. This includes a number of advancements in neurological sciences that were made right in London at the University of Western Ontario, as well as advancements made at McGill University in Montreal. These are discussed, and their impact on global neurological research is also examined. One of the more interesting parts is the story of how Dr. Wilder Penfield mapped the brain. The “Montreal Procedure”, which he pioneered with Herbert Jasper, treated patients with severe epilepsy by targeting the nerve cells in the brain where seizures originated and destroying them. Before going through with the procedure, Dr. Penfield would stimulate the brain with light electric probes while the patient was still conscious; in this way, he could target the effected areas of the brain with a high degree of precision, allowing him to keep unexpected side-effects to a minimum. An outcome of this was that he was able to record these individual pre-surgical probes to create a map of the brain and how each part connected to various parts of the body. These maps, partially reproduced in the Brain and Mind exhibit, are still used today with very little change from when they were compiled.   sir fredrick Banting               Two other pieces of art round out the collection in this section. The first is a bust of Sir Frederick Banting, cast by Francis Loring in 1932 and donated to the Exhibit Hall by William Banting. Banting, of course, was the former medical instructor at the University of Western Ontario who won the Nobel Prize in 1923 for helping, along with Dr. Charles Best, to discover insulin as a regulatory product of the pancreas, as well as discovering it’s therapeutic use in treating diabetes. Banting is perhaps THE Canadian medical legend, and his reputation as something of a Renaissance Man (he was an accomplished painter as well) has led to him rating his own museum, the Banting House National Historic Site located at 442 Adelaide Street North in London.   marathon of hope truck               The other piece is the last available print of the famous painting Marathon Of Hope, Terry Fox 1958-1981 which was originally done by Cliff Kearns in 1980. It was donated to the collection of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in April of 2012 by the Calhoun and Kearns families. Terry Fox famously ran across part of Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research. The Marathon of Hope, as it came to be known, has been repeated yearly by schools and charitable organizations in a quest to keep the hope of a cancer-free world alive. Marathon Of Hopehangs in the Exhibit Hall in the hopes of inspiring visitors – especially future medical scientists and doctors – to seek a world where cancer is treatable, liveable, and survivable.             In addition to the art, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame also keeps exhibits of artifacts – medical items and memorabilia from medical researchers and doctors that have been at the forefront of progress in Canadian medical science. The artifact exhibit also features a number of pieces of literature and books written by the inducted members of the Hall of Fame, a medallion of Saint Marguerite d’Youville, and news articles and photographs dating back to the early 1920s. The exhibit here is largely comprised of donations from the Kerhoulas Family of London. Alongside this there is a collection of stamps, donated by Canada Post in 1999, that honour various Canadian medical pioneers.             Finally, near the back of the Exhibit Hall, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame keeps their Media Centre. The Media Centre is built into what was, in the beginning of the J. Allyn Taylor Building, the bank vault for the Bank of Toronto. Inside the Media Centre, visitors can view videos that outline the experience and the passion that each of the inducted members have brought to the medical profession and to the advancement of medical science in Canada.

 

            Programs

  Working around a desk                        In addition to providing a place to celebrate and memorialize the leading lights of medical science in Canada, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame also provides educational programs to help smooth the path for students who are looking to pursue a career in professional medicine or medical science. For medical students, this takes the form of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award for Medical Students. This award, sponsored in part by MD Financial Management, recognizes medical students who display the qualities of perseverance, collaboration, and the entrepreneurial spirit – qualities that Hall of Fame inductees have pinpointed as the key factors in their success. Each Canadian medical school puts forward one nominee per year; applicants must be medical students in good standing, ready to complete their second year of study, and must have demonstrated leadership through school and community involvement, superior interpersonal or communication skills, and academic excellence. The award is worth $5,000 and includes a ticket to the yearly Canadian Medical Hall of Fame induction ceremony.             For high school students, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame provides both educational programs and scholarships for high-performing students looking to pursue an academic degree in medicine. The Discovery Days in Health Sciences program is the educational arm of the Hall of Fame, providing one-day events for Grade 11 students who wish to explore all of the career options available to them in medicine and health sciences. These Discovery Days include a keynote lecture, panel discussions on various careers by experts and professionals, and interactive workshops that help to develop skills and showcase the necessary daily functions of a practitioner of professional medicine. In addition to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the Discovery Days program is also sponsored by a number of universities and health sciences organizations, which allows a local spin to be put on each of the Discovery Days put on across Canada.   Saving homey                      The scholarships available through the Hall of Fame are in the process of being retooled. In the past, the offered high school graduate scholarship was a partnership between the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and Great-West Life,London Life, and Canada Life. Each recipient of the scholarship received $4,000 toward a four-year undergraduate degree in a field related to the health sciences. The criteria for the award required students to have stellar academic records and a passion for helping others and improving lives.             In addition to these, the Hall of Fame also runs a “Museum School” program where senior elementary school classes take up school day residence in the Hall of Fame for a full week. During this time, students learn about past and present Canadian medical marvels and heroes, as well as meeting locally-based London health scientists who work with the latest and greatest technology in the field of medical innovation. The Museum School for elementary students is available through a partnership with Museum School London, a multi-organization partnership that offers similar programs across ten local museums or heritage sites.

One London Place

Image result for one london place One London Place is a high-rise office building in downtown London, and is also the tallest structure in the city. Completed in 1992, One London Place stands at 113.4 m tall, and characterizes the downtown skyline, even at a great distance.   In addition to an abundance of office space, One London Place features a complete fitness centre and gym, a restaurant, newsstand and convenience store, a car wash, and an underground parking lot for 382 vehicles. Sifton administration and property management also have an office in the building. One London Place touts some 372,000 square feet of energy-efficient office space for businesses looking to rent an impressive space for their staff and clients to enjoy. Sifton prides itself on state of the art property offerings with all the trimmings, and One London Place stands as a shining example of their commitment to excellence and ability to their ability to attract and support a rental clientele of leading industry brands. Every 22 minutes the structure’s central air system completely replaces the air every 22 minutes automatically. Individual temperature zones spanning 600 square feet are located throughout the building for businesses that wish to control their own internal climate. Four columns support the structure at every floor, each floor featuring 8 corner offices.The building has 24 floors with views of the city skyline. One London Place is managed by GWL Realty Advisors, a leading Canadian real estate investment advisor, with expertise in asset management, property management, development and specialized real estate services. GWL Realty Advisors manages buildings on behalf of its clients to the highest standards and operating efficiencies with the efforts of an experienced team of property management professionals. Regularly, Londoners collect pledges to climb the stairs. One group even rappelled down its side to raise money for charity. The building boasts the fastest elevator in London. And there is no better high spot you can find for a wonderful, panoramic view of the entire city looking in every direction. Those with vertigo or a fear of heights may not wish to look down, however…

A Rally-Point for Community

  The building’s size and spectacular appeal have made it an attractive site for numerous groups seeking a high-profile venue for publicity surrounding charitable causes. For about five years in a row, Londoners have pledged to a 116-metre trip to the bottom. In an event called The Easter Seals Drop Zone, the group annually sent dozens of donors, who each raised at least $1,500 to help kids with physical disabilities, over the side of One London Place for a quick, carefully controlled rappel down the building’s shimmering exterior. By all accounts, it was a fun and exciting event for everyone involved – and without a single safety incident in its history. Drop Zone co-ordinator Stace Law is or record reporting that the event raise $490,000 over its first four years, and that the group projected earnings from the event to reach over half a million dollars in its fifth year. The efforts and commitment of participants lands close to home for many involved. “Either they are family or they know someone. They know how difficult (it is) for parents of children with a physical difficulty. It costs so much money, and often one parent has to stay home, and the other has to work,” she said. “A wheelchair can cost between $5,000 and $25,000 and they need to be replaced every five years, because those kids are growing.”   One rappeler, Colleen Wake, saw her participation as her triumphing over her lifelong fear of heights. “I heard the Drop Zone was going to be on my birthday,“ said Wake. “I’m terrified of heights, so I decided to do this to get over it.” When she asked her family to help, she was asking for their donations. “But then, my mom decided it was a good idea, too, and if she can do it, then I can do it, and I can’t chicken out.” Wake’s mother, Mary Holmes, 89 – a consummate thrill-seeker had parasailed over the Pacific Ocean and ridden in a helicopter over Hawaiian lava fields, offered three reasons for wanting to take on the tower challenge. “First, it’s my baby daughter’s birthday, so we all joined in to help her. Secondly, one of my boys drives a bus for challenged kids and he tells us how they’re such great kids, and they need help. Thirdly, thank God, we’re all healthy and happy, and here we are.” Wake to wavering slightly the morning she awoke before the event thinking “Oh no, really, seriously, I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Once fitted and safety tested in full-body harnesses, mom and daughter took the long elevator ride to the top of One London Place, posed for selfies and members of the press, were fastened to the ropes, and stepped up to the notoriously windy ledge. Unsurprisingly, participants usually report the first step as being the hardest part of the experience. When Wake and Holmes reached the ground, Holmes got a kiss from her daughter. “I did it, I did it, I did it. That was good. I enjoyed it,” Holmes said.

An Iconic Structure

  One London Place was originally the joint-effort concept of two London-based real estate and property management groups – Sifton Properties Limited and London Life Insurance Company, both major employers in the area and highly visible brands. The Sifton website states “Through innovation in design, forms of housing and material usage, Sifton remains at the forefront of the home construction industry. Their partnership represented a $100-million deal and related long term plan to permanently alter the city’s skyline.     One London Place has a unique post-modern architectural design that was developed by Crang & Bourke, an architectural firm based out of Toronto. As their website states “The current mandate of the firm is the advancement of research and development to facilitate high quality design to North American standards in the International offices.” The agency was selected for the ambitious project because of their demonstrated expertise in high-rise buildings and other similar undertakings for the same types of prospective corporate tenants. This spirit of innovation remains today, and has enabled Sifton to diversify into office construction and leasing, retail construction and leasing, industrial construction and leasing, residential rental accommodation, including apartment rentals and townhome rentals, retirement living communities and property management.” As a matter of succession, the current ownership of the building was later transferred to London area financial services giant, Great-West Life. What’s more, the values and vision that inspired the inspiration for the project initially are echoed in the mission statements of Great-West Life’s entire family of financial services brand, including London Life and Freedom 55.

Partners in Trust

  “Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life have long histories and deep roots in our communities. Over many decades, individuals, families, businesses and organizations have been able to count on us to deliver on the promises we make. We strive to be a socially responsible company that takes a proactive approach to ensuring we make a positive impact in everything that we do.”   One London place   Their website also states “In addition to providing a broad range of financial security products to individuals, families, businesses and organizations, we are a strong supporter of communities across the country. Our success comes by working directly with hundreds of national, regional and local community organizations, through our head office locations and our network of field offices across Canada.” The time-tested mission statements of the Great-West-Life and London Life family of brands have guided, committed to their surrounding communities, and the people who live and work there, making their role in management of One London Place – a building whose design and purpose was conceived with these very ideals in mind – a wonderfully logical and fitting relationship. The idea from the outset in the late eighties was to create a monumental landmark representing success and the growth of commerce in the city – a shining beacon for future growth and investment in downtown London. The building also set a new standard for commercial skyscrapers in southwestern Ontario, being clearly the tallest among London’s neighbours’ downtown cores. According to the arrangement between the two leading partners, Sifton Properties was left responsible for the sites’ development, while co-founders London Life pledged to invest a considerable portion of the bill and also agreed to occupy at least seven floors of the space once the building was open and operational in order to sustain its ongoing overhead and to help attract other brands of scale. One London Place is located at Wellington and Queens at the site of the former London YMCA, which caught in a disastrous fire in 1981 that saw the existing structure utterly destroyed. By 1992, construction was completed and One London Place officially took its place as London’s tallest building, where it has held bragging rights ever since.

The Building as its Own Brand

  As it turns out, One London Place’s official address, “255 Queens Ave”, is rarely used. The name was designed to be as iconic as the structure itself. Inspired by other skyscrapers in Canada, such as Toronto’s First Canadian Place and Place Ville Marie in Montreal, One London Place was chosen as a name that would give the site renown – a central landmark that supersedes the need for a street address or postal code. Its easily identifiable name lends itself well to its reputation as one of, if not the London core’s most prestigious buildings, and a signpost for investment, commerce, and growth. In fact, One London Place is not only the tallest building in London, but also the tallest in Ontario, outside of the golden horseshoe – the area of Ontario that exists beyond the Greater Toronto Area and the western shore of Lake Ontario, which also includes major urban centres like Hamilton and the Niagara region. Reaching 113.4 meters tall and half a block wide, the building’s design reflects light, increasing pedestrians’ and motorists’ ability to ‘see’ the sky from street level, supplying the greatest possible access to natural lighting on every floor of the building. It is almost as though the building changes shape as one walks around its triangular base, looking up. The tower’s irregular lines and glass ‘cliffs’ completely change the appearance of the building’s structure based on your location. Depending on the perspective, it can look rectangular, triangular, octagonal, or hexagonal.   One London place photo   The structure is planted in a foundation of indigo granite, with reflective blue glass reaching up and around practically every surface of the structure. The glass surface reflects the London sky and even appears to change colour and hue as the natural light moves and weather changes throughout the day. London’s own “looking glass” as it has been called – when the sky is overcast the building’s finish is consistent with that of a gunmetal grey battleship, but on clear and sunny days, it shines an iridescent blue – light reflecting off its multiple surfaces, even shining natural lighting into smaller, adjacent buildings that would otherwise receive no direct natural lighting at all.

The Two Towers?

  One London Place is impressive by itself. But the original scheme provided for the construction of not one but two towers. One can imagine the scale of double the visual effects of One London Place had the structure’s proposed little sister seen the light of day. The original promotional brochure to attract tenants reveals the original plans for the complex, including a second 18-story tower designed for the south-east corner of the site – the design originally intended to connect to One London Place by a glass atrium with high, lofted ceilings. Because One London Place opened in the midst of the economic recession that struck Canada in the early 90s, experts surmise that the construction of the second tower was delayed and ultimately cancelled. What was constructed was the underground infrastructure for a second tower, including a parking garage, access stairs, and foundation, was constructed at the same time as One London Place, keeping the option of building up later.

The Future of One London Place

  Future path   Over the years, officials from the Sifton Properties group have indicated that they would be ready and willing to build the sister tower, but only if a sizable anchor tenant is found. While one could argue that a second tower take away from the significance of One London Place’s grandeur and visibility, at the time of the writing of this article, it stands on its own. Perhaps the site will one day see construction begin on the second tower that had always been an element and significant consideration of the original proposed design. If the right Canadian company seeks to build its castle in London Ontario, this could be an eventuality not too far off in our downtown’s future. In fact, over the last two decades alone, London’s tech and design agency scene has experienced incredible growth, heightening the profiles of numerous scrappy players who have proven themselves, and may one day wish to join and / or lead the ranks of the big brands inhabiting One London Place. What is certain is that this prestigious and highly-visible structure that characterizes London Ontario’s downtown skyline will persist as a spotlight and flagstaff of our business community, attracting new ideas, new commerce, and new investment to our city, while embodying the vanity mirror that reflects in its edifice our environment, surrounding neighbourhoods, and our unique set of cultural values that helps us build one another up and make our city great. One-London Place – a badge of our heritage and a glimpse into our future as a city. Tours of this incredible local structure can be booked by contacting the Sifton Management Group representatives onsite.

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain is a ski and winter sports recreation complex located in London, Ontario. Although it is more accurately described as a bump, rather than an official mountain, it features a full range of winter sports activities and is officially counted as the southernmost ski hill in Canada. Boler Mountain started off as a fairly small ski centre but by 2012 expansions have brought the centre to three quad chairlifts, 16 runs, and a number of tracks for sports other than skiing. boler mountain photos

History

The area that became the Boler Mountain ski club has a long history in the London region. In October of 1813 the area was known as Hungerford Hill. On October 5th, during the War of 1812, the British army was defeated at the Battle of the Thames (near Chatham, Ontario). This battle (famous for being the site where Shawnee Confederacy leader Tecumseh met his end) forced the British to retreat and lose control over much of Western Ontario. On their way to the fallback point in Burlington, the British army came across a group of wounded British soldiers being protected by the Oxford Militia, under the command of Captain John Carroll of Beachville, Ontario (future home of organized baseball). Slowing down to help them caused them to be overtaken by a scouting party from the Kentucky Mounted Riflemen. Captain Carroll chose to make a stand at Hungerford Hill; early in the war the decision would have likely been to surrender into captivity, but incidents on both sides had, by 1813, given both British and American soldiers the impression that no quarter would be given for prisoners. The battle lasted for the span of one charge by the American cavalry; after the British lines held, the Americans retreated and the caravan of the wounded was allowed to continue along its way. A second battle took place at Hungerford Hill, although this battle is known as the Battle of Reservoir Hill, using the later name of the area. By August of 1814 the war in Ontario had turned into a series of raids across Lake Erie (which, incidentally, accounts for the lack of large settlements on the north shore of Lake Erie today). A group of American Rangers under Lieutenant William G. Service entered the Thames River Valley on a mission to capture livestock and militia officers. A raid on Beachville proved to be successful and the Ranger detachment managed to capture cattle and four officers, including Captain John Carroll, who had held the line in the first battle at the hill. Fearing the idea of being surrounded, the Rangers began to withdraw toward Detroit. At Hungerford Hill, though, the Middlesex Militia had set up an ambush and executed it well. The Ranger detachment broke and three of the prisoners escaped. reservoir hill london ontario Nearly a century and a half later, on the other side of the most major conflict the world had ever seen, Hungerford Hill – by then definitively known as Reservoir Hill – would become an important player in local history once again. A group of soldiers returned from the European battlefield with a need for leisure and an appreciation for a new sport they’d witnessed and tried out while moving through the Alps: skiing. In 1946, after putting together some equipment, the group chose Reservoir Hill to show off the snowy thrills of the sport. The word got out, and over the next few years the collective of people who came to ski at Reservoir Hill grew quite large. Eventually, it grew large enough that it was necessary to scout out a new location to build a ski chalet, like those they had seen in Europe among the destruction of the Second World War. In 1949, the skiers of London banded together and incorporated themselves as the London Ski Club, which was set out in the articles of it’s incorporation as a non-profit organization. They then surveyed the land along the Thames River, looking for just the right topography to provide exactly the ski experience that they wanted. They found that topographical balance on a spot outside of the village of Byron, Ontario, just off of Boler Road; the hilly area there would provide both good slopes for beginners to learn on and challenging slopes for more advanced skiers. Having found their hill, the London Ski Club set about purchasing it and putting together a volunteer Board of Directors that would oversee a mixture of both trained volunteers and paid employees who would operate the ski club on a day-to-day basis. As a non-profit, any surplus funds generated from visiting skiers have over its history been plowed right back into the organization, in the form of repairs, upgrades, and new equipment.