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Brescia University College

Brescia University Has Been Supporting Women in London, Ontario Since 1919

Brescia University College is one of the most interesting places in London, Ontario that is full of rich history. It’s Canada’s only women’s University. It’s an affiliate college of the University of Western Ontario. Brescia is a University that has, since 1919, supported and empowered women to be brave, be bold, and to choose to lead. They have crafted an environment that is meant to give women every opportunity possible to be the great leaders of this world. They have fostered an atmosphere that takes women out of the competitive mindset that society has placed women in to constantly compare themselves amongst each other and instead places them in a setting that is meant to encourage women supporting women. They have created a university that is full of strong women for students to look up to, and proudly shows that women are smart, strong, and capable of leading.

Brescia University College gives students a focused feel, with much smaller class sizes than main campus students, which allows students to feel comfortable speaking up in class and asking questions. It also allows for a closer-knit class, where you’re able to get to know the other students in your classes. The smaller class sizes also means that you have more attention and access to your professors for any mentoring and help that you might need.

Brescia has always fostered a culture that is inviting and accepting of every background and religion. Diversity is one of Brescia’s pillars, and has been since the very beginning. They go out of their way to make sure that international students are made to feel at home and that international and domestic students interact and enjoy learning from one another.

Brescia is a University that cares about its students. They believe that every woman that wants to pursue education should be given access to pursue that education and they do everything that they can to make sure that happens.

Brescia University College is located in the Masonville neighborhood. It’s one of the best places for women to get a university education and is a school that London Ontario can be proud of. It has played a vital role in the history of this great city.

Affiliate College

Brescia is affiliated with Western University, which is the third-largest university in all of Ontario. Being affiliated with Western is a wonderful bonus for students attending Brescia. Students get to enjoy the smaller class sizes and the supportive and encouraging atmosphere of attending Brescia, as well as having more opportunity to connect with their professors (who tend to be empowering and inspiring) because of the smaller class sizes. The student to faculty ratio at Brescia is 14:1. At the same time, they can have access to all of Western’s resources.

On top of that, students are able to take classes at Western’s main campus, as well as at the other affiliate colleges, Huron and Kings. The degree that students earn at Brescia are University of Western Ontario degrees.

Women’s University

Brescia is Canada’s only women’s university, but the question is why? Well, a study in 2009 by the University of California showed that high-school girls who graduated from girls-only high schools performed better than their co-ed counterparts. The study showed that they had higher self-confidence, incredible writing and public speaking, outstanding academic performance, and did better in what is usually a male-dominated areas: mathematics, computers, politics, and engineering.

The benefits of attending a women’s-only university are that you’re in a supportive environment that empowers women. You’re surrounded by women in leadership, including the principal, which gives you plenty of mentors from women who have the experience. You’ll feel comfortable sharing opinions, insights, ideas and questions in class. Your education will be tailored to you.

History

Brescia University College in 1919

The Start

Brescia University College was founded by the Ursuline Religious of the Diocese of London in 1919. In that time, women’s university education was a rare thing, but that was starting to change and the amount of women seeking it out was growing. The Ursuline Sisters had vast experience for women’s education and was recognized as such. They were women of faith and they valued developing women, social justice, and community service. This was and has always been the values on which Brescia was shaped.

The Ursuline sisters worked with Bishop Michael Francis Fallon and The University of Western Ontario to create an affiliation program that would allow for Brescia Hall, which allowed women to receive Western University degrees.

The very first class of women from Brescia was made up of only seven women. Their tuition was only $50.

The First Brescia Students

The Building

The original location of Brescia was actually in a converted house downtown, close to Victoria Park. Land was purchased and then in 1923 they started construction on what eventually became Ursuline Hall. The hall was constructed by the contractor Joseph Michael Piggot.The University College was ready in the fall of 1925.

During the beginning years of Brescia, they offered a Liberal Arts education which included English, Religious Knowledge, French, Spanish, History, Classics, and Philosophy. Many of the courses (such as Philosophy) were actually taken from Western University and were modified to be what was deemed as appropriate for Catholic Women to learn.

In the first few decades of Brescia’s history the teaching staff was mostly made up of the Ursuline sisters. They had been awarded MA and PhD degrees by Canadian, US and European universities.

Some Brescia students having a lovely time

Diversity

Diversity has always been a core value in Brescia. International students were always welcomed. In the early days women came from Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean just to study at Brescia University College. Nowadays, women come from all over the world. Brescia has always made it a priority to make sure that international students felt that their faith and cultural traditions are respected.

Brescia students are as diverse as they come

Financials

Brescia has always gone to great lengths to make sure that financial circumstances did not dictate whether or not a woman who wanted to study at Brescia was able to do so. They have always provided a wide variety of scholarships, bursaries and employment opportunities to make sure that women would not be denied education based on whether or not they could afford tuition. Even to this day, Brescia is well known for having an outstanding scholarship program.

Expanding Education

In 1936 Home Economics was added to the curriculum offered by Brescia. The program has evolved significantly over the years and today is known as the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences. As the courses and programs that were offered continued to grow after the 1950s, they needed to address the faculty. In the 1960s and 1970s the Social Sciences grew exceptionally and they added a bunch of new teaching staff for that program.

The number of students attending Brescia increased significantly from the seven women in the first class. In 1961 more than 200 students were registered which meant that the building needed to expand with the growing number of students. The Mother St. James Building was built in 1963 and with it came a location for all of the new faculty offices, more classrooms, a library and even an auditorium.

The attendance at the school continued to grow. In 1982 it reached 400 students, and then just ten years later it almost doubled again with 779 students. They experienced a small decline in enrollment for the next few years, but they were able to get on top of that by strengthening their academic standards and focusing on recruitment. They reached almost 1000 students by 2006. Of course facilities have been updated to keep up with the growing numbers. They have added a South Wing as well as the Beryl Ivey Library.

The Crest

The Brescia Hall Crest was created in 1924. The motto on the crest is Vides Et Veritas, which means truth and faith because education is the pursuit of truth and understanding and they wanted the students to be able to learn it all in an atmosphere of faith. On the upper left of the cross on the crest is the symbol of St. Ursula, who was the Patroness of the Usulines and was a Martyr. On the upper right is the Mystical Rose, which is supposed to represent womanhood. The Book on the lower left part of the cross is to symbolize wisdom. Then on the lower right part of the cross is the crest of the Ursulines of Chatham which is supposed to represent faith, hope and charity.

Campus Life

Full access to Western Amenities

Western’s main campus has an aquatic facility, which has a 50 meter, 8 lane pool and of course a diving board. Brescia students would also have access to Western’s fitness centre, which has weight, cardio, and stretching space. There are more than 200 pieces of fitness equipment with in the centre.

Western also has five gymnasia and a games and activity lounge. There is also an additional cardio space for the spin bike program. Squash courts, and lounge rooms with table tennis, as well as studios with dance barres and mirrors are also available on main campus.

Brescia Student Choir

For those who love singing, the Brescia Student Choir performances for special services such as the Christmas season, Remembrance Day, and more! They have weekly practices, and the schedule is determined by everyone involved in the choir.

You can find soundcloud recordings of past services here.

The Professional Mentoring Program

The Professional Mentoring Program is offered to 3rd and 4th year students. The program matches students with mentors. The mentors can be Brescia alumna or someone from the

community. The mentors agree to spending at least 4-6 hours a month building and maintaining the mentorship relationship.

This mentor and mentee program is a great way for students to build up their communication and networking skills and will help to prepare these upper year students for the transition into the workforce. On top of all of that, mentees can learn from the real, first-hand experiences that mentors went through.

The mentors and mentees are paired up based on who would be best fit together—it is not based on career goals alone. The entirety of the applications are considered when the selections are made.

Clubs

The Running Bees

This club promotes running and connects students that enjoy running together. The club promotes running as a way to maintain both physical and mental health as well as promoting running as an exciting and positive outlet from the stresses and business of student life. Students will be able to run in safe, supportive and positive spaces. Members empower each other to achieve their goals.

Brescia Clubs - Running Bees

Brescia Speaks

Public speaking can be the most daunting of tasks. The Brescia Speaks club is a public speaking club that is meant to help members improve their confidence and their skills in a safe and encouraging environment. Planned and impromptu speeches will be given by members. Members will watch speeches as well and will give feedback and encouragement to other members. All of this will be done in safe spaces to learn and improve.

Brescia Clubs - Brescia Speaks

BMC

Brescia Multicultural Club brings together both international and domestic students. The club unites different cultural beliefs bu sharing different customs and experiences. They also offer amazing support to international students and help them through the different cultural shock and adjustment periods that may occur. This club is part of the heart of Brescia in that it is a representation of a core value of empowering women of all beliefs and cultures to acquire top-notch education.

Brescia Clubs - Brescia Multicultural Club (BMC)

SHEA

The Students’ Human Ecology Association is a club for all Brescia and Western students who have a personal or professional interest in nutrition dietetics, food science and technology, human ecology and family studies.

This club hosts workshops and events for development. They also provide volunteering opportunities for club members that directly relate to the nutrition dietetics, food science and technology, human ecology or family studies.The club also participates in an annual and national conference for students. Of course a club wouldn’t be a club without also having social activities, and the SHEA has just that.

Students in SHEA will also have opportunities to be in leadership positions on the Executive Team and those students will enjoy networking opportunities with local, provincial and national professionals.

Students within the club are also eligible to receive the LHEA Student Scholarship award, the OHEA Student Leadership awards, and the National ACHES Conference Sponsorships.

Brescia Clubs - Students' Humane Ecology Association (SHEA)

CAFP

The Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals is a club for students seeking careers in the foodservice and hospitality industry. The club is a student branch of a national association across Canada that represents foodservice professionals.

This club’s purpose is to give students a chance to network, educate, and have mentorship. The CAFP gives out thousands of dollars in bursaries and scholarships annually. There are also awards that are given out, such as the “Gold Plate” Award.

Brescia Clubs - Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP)

The PINK Ties

Brescia’s Professional Development Network, the PINK Ties, has a mission to help Brescia students accomplish personal and professional goals. They do this by providing opportunities to make connections, connect with experienced professionals, and grow valuable career skills. You’ll be connected with other like minded students that are career-oriented, alumnae and community professionals through this club.

They offer events such as their LinkedIn event where you can learn to make the most of your LinkedIn account and get professional headshots done. They also have their annual Dining Etiquette event where you can have a delicious meal and learn all about proper dining etiquette. Every year they also offer a meet and greet for networking, having fun, playing games, and learning what the club has in store for that year. They also offer an event to learn about what it takes to start a career as a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Brescia Clubs - PINK Ties

BPA

The Brescia Psychology Association strives to meet the needs of its members by providing social and networking events that connects the students with one another and the London community.

Their events includes the Spring De-Stressor, which is a night of yoga, refreshments and socializing, study nights, board game nights, cupcake decorating, candy grams and henna tatto nights, glow in the dark yoga night, PJs and movie night, grad school and career talks, career fairs, and the Brescia Shine the Light event which supports abused women.

Brescia Clubs - Brescia Psychology Association (BPA)

Jack.org

Jack.org is Canada’s only charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory. They do this through Talks

where trained youth speakers start mental health conversations in schools and other youth-centric contexts by delivering professional mental health presentations to their peers. They also do this through Chapters which are trained groups of young people working year-round to identify and break down barriers to positive mental health in their communities. They also accomplish this through Summets bring young leaders together to learn from each other and build the skills needed to deepen their impact in their communities.

Brescia Clubs - Jack.org

Events

Brescia offers student many events throughout the year that are meant to give students a bit of reprieve from their busy school schedules. They also offer events that are meant to inform, grow, and connect students.

Brescia Events - Brescia Ball

O-Week

Get a proper welcome to Brescia by participating in Orientation Week. Incoming students will have the chance to meet other new students, enjoy fun events, meet your Soph, and get informed.

O-Week participants can enjoy events such as BBQs, Breakfasts, Bonfires, rallys, lunches, arts and crafts, learning about Brescia, spa nights, trips to places within London, playing with Therapy dogs.

Students are welcomed to participate in Western’s orientation weeks as well. Sophs are upper-year mentors that are there to welcome and inform new students. Sophs are screened and go through a training process. Brescia’s Soph Peer Mentor Program will connect new students to a Soph mentor and a few other new students. Your Soph will stay connected with you after O-Week and throughout the year.

International Bridging Program

Brescia’s International Bridging Program is designed specifically for International and out-of-province students to get a sneak peek of and become familiar with life at Brescia and in London, Ontario. Participants will have the opportunity to receive a full orientation to university life, and get to know their new peers, faculty and staff.

March Break Open House

At Brescia’s March Break Open House, you can tour campus, meet with professors and talk with staff about admission, financial aid, residence, campus life and more. You can also hear about international experiences current students have participated in, visit your future residence room and sample some delicious items prepared in the Mercato.

Fall Preview Day

At Brescia’s Fall Preview Day, visitors will tour campus, meet with professors and talk with staff about admission, financial aid, residence, campus life, and more. Attend a mini-lecture on your favourite subject, hear about some international experiences current students have participated in, visit your future residence room and sample some delicious items prepared in our dining pavilion, Brescia’s Mercato.

Awareness Events

Brescia is all about empowering. They offer events throughout the year to raise awareness for issues such as sexual violence, food waste, crisis support, mental health awareness, and ways to stay safe.

Stress-free Events

From tea time and meditation to yoga and therapy dogs, Brescia offers events throughout the year for students to participate in that is meant to give students the opportunity to de-stress.

Fun Events to raise money

Brescia is all about giving back. They’ve had Ugly Christmas Sweater Day and Pajama Day to help raise money for United Way and other charities.

Building Skills

From events meant to help people practice English, to practical essay help, Brescia offers students events to help them build the skills that will be the key to their future success.

Brescia Ball

The very first Brescia Ball was held in 1938 and has been an annual event ever since. It has been an event held for over 80 years. The night is for students and faculty to get dressed up, eat delicious food, and enjoy a whole special night of fancy fun. The ball is usually themed and is one amazing memory for students to take with them for years and years to come.

Facilities

Of course a University is more than just the campus life, the values, and the students. It’s important for the facilities to offer students everything that they need to get the best education possible.

Transportation

Shuttle Bus

The shuttle bus is free for all students. The bus runs between Brescia Kings, with stops at Western’s main campus and Huron. The bus schedule is quite expansive and goes throughout the day for convenience to the students.

Brescia Bus

Bus Pass

All full-time students are given a year-round LTC bus pass.

Foot Patrol

Western Foot Patrol gives students peace of mind. Students simply have to call the number, give your location and a male and female pair of students from the patrol will come to you and escort you to your car, wait with you at a bus stop, or, if you live close to campus, give you a lift home.

Food Services

Mercato

The new state-of-the-art dining pavilion is open all through the week. With interactive menus and a wide variety, students can find something delicious to eat to suit any tastes and preference. They even have a soup and salad bar and the Grill open until late into the night. The whole thing is headed up by their Red Seal Chef and there is an emphasis on local foods.

Brescia Facilities - Brescia Food Services - Mercato

Starbucks Kiosk

If you’re in need of a jolt of caffeine throughout your week, you can nip into Clare Hall for a delicious Starbucks brew and a pastry.

Clare Hall

Clare Hall is a state-of-the-art residence building. Any student, whether first year or upper year, is guaranteed a place in residence. Classes are less than a five minute walk away, which is convenient for the busy student life.

The Mercato is located within Clare Hall so you’ll have access to made-to-order delicious food so close to your University home. Common areas also have kitchenettes, which have an oven, a microwave, a sink and a fridge so that you can also cook your own meals if you prefer.

The residence has a fitness room, laundry facilities, common spaces, and study rooms on each floor.

Clare Hall also has exclusive upper-year floors that rewards the responsibility, maturity, and independence of upper-year students with comfort that goes beyond what first year residents will be able to experience.

Brescia Facilities - Clare Hall

Mother St. James Memorial Building

Beryl Ivey Library

Beryl Ivey Library offers everything students need for studying, research, and academic help. The library has study rooms that students can book. Laptops, chargers, adapters and more are also available for students to book from the library and use.

Students have access to many print and online resources within the Library and if you think that the Library could benefit from a book that they don’t have, you can suggest a purchase because the Library strives to be as helpful to students as possible.

Computer labs are also available to students in the Beryl Ivey Library, as well as printing, copying and scanning.

For students that need extra help or could benefit from the use of a Librarian, students are welcomed to book one on one time with one of the very knowledgeable librarians.

Lounge Rooms

The Merici Lounge is a place to relax or crack some books. There are couches, tables, and beautiful views of the Brescia grounds.

The Living Room Lounge is a great place to kill time while still being in the hub of things. It’s located near the auditorium, the student’s council room, student services, as well as being close to faculty offices and classrooms.

Auditorium

The auditorium is where many exams are held as well as where events are often held. Large windows give you views to the stunning Brescia grounds.

Prayer Room

There is a Muslim Prayer Room off of the auditorium. It’s a sacred space for those who practice the faith to partake in their prayers in a safe and private space.

Brescia Facilities - Mother St. James Memorial Building

Ursuline Hall

If you want to see a building that inspires awe, reminds you of a deep history, and is absolutely beautiful to look at then you are going to want to see Ursuline Hall. It’s a castle. The architecture is stunning. It reminds you that Brescia is a university college that has been around for years, which means that they have learned a great deal about how to provide the best education for its students. It stands tall and proud at the peak of Brescia hill.

Brescia Facilities - Ursuline Hall

Lounge Rooms

There are four lounge rooms throughout the castle for students to relax and unwind in, or can study in. On top of those rooms, there is also the Rose Room and Oak Room, which can also be used to lounge in as well as events can be held in them. The Oak and Rose Rooms are absolutely gorgeous. The furniture is antique and full of history, each piece carefully selected or donated to create a feeling of warmth and luxury. The vases on the mantle over the fireplace in the Rose Room are made out of beautiful gold, copper and melted glass, which is famous in Byzantine art.

Chapel

The chapel in Ursuline Hall is open for prayer and quiet meditation and reflection to all whenever the castle is open to the public. They also hold mass within the castle at noon on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Roman Catholic Services are available in the chapel.

Residence

If you’ve ever wanted to live in a castle, as a Brescia student, that option is open to you. Within the castle, you’ll have access to the chapel, the cafe and cafeteria, as well as the laundry room.

Castle Cafe/Cafeteria

Grab a bite to eat and hang out with friends in the castle cafe or the cafeteria.

Academic Pavillion

Brescia is going to be celebrating its 100th year in 2019. To celebrate such an amazing occasion, the state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot Academic Pavillion will be built. This pavillion is to help with the climbing demand of women who have wanted to be empowered from the Brescia experience. The pavillions is going to include food and science laboratories, sensory and research laboratories, an active learning classroom which is designed to promote group work, multi-tiered classrooms, a counselling room, and a nice large student lounge and community space.

Brescia Facilities - Academic Pavilion

FireRock
Golf Club

Picture it: the morning dew still glistening wet on the lush green carpet that stretches out over every inch of the ground. A slight breeze brushing against the trees, the rustling sound filling the air with a constant, albeit relaxing, sea of noise. On the ground, a solid wooden white tee rises out of the green grass; on top, the infinite dimples of a Top Flite golf ball balanced perfectly on top of it. In your hands, a 1-wood driver is held, ready to carry that ball out into all that flowing lush greenery you see before you. All around you is the gorgeous vistas of FireRock Golf Club, a golfing destination near London, Ontario. The morning unfolds before you, as open and relaxing as the wind through the trees, as the dew quivering on the grass. You take your stance, rear back, and follow through. Your eye traces the path of the ball through the air as it arcs upward, peaks, and then falls up on the fairway, safe from the carefully sculpted vegetation on either side. The day is all around you, and in the London, Ontario region spending that day golfing is an easy proposition, except for one question. Which course to choose?

Golfing Around London

Golfing is an extremely popular pastime among people of all stripes, and this is especially true of the London, Ontario region. There are a large number of well-regarded and popular golf courses in the area. East Park, a pan-sport entertainment park, has a professionally designed and well-regarded course. Sunningdale, a private course, has a well-known adherence to the principles of both environmental sustainability and great golf. West Haven, a stellar course on the north-west side of London, has that upper-crust country club feeling to it. FireRock Golf Club, however, combines all the great aspects of the other courses and combines them with an affordable price and a stellar food experience. While it’s a relative newcomer to the London region golfing scene (having first opened in 2004), FireRock Golf Club offers the full golfing experience to golfers of all skill levels and membership needs.

You can find FireRock Golf Club on the north-west side of London, just a seven minute drive from the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Hyde Park. The golf club is located on the other side of Komoka Provincial Park, just outside of the village of Komoka. Komoka Provincial Park is itself a gorgeous landscape, a near-urban park located along the Thames River. The park itself is former agricultural land that has returned to meadow; the land closer to the river is mature-growth forest. FireRock Golf Club continues the ideas embedded there, carefully sculpting reclaimed land into an environmentally sound course design that balances the primal power of nature with a modern sports sensibility.

When FireRock Golf Club is referred to as being built from reclaimed land, this is the literal truth. Before putting in a golf club there, the land that was FireRock Golf Club was a sand and gravel mine, one of many located in and around the city of London. In fact, many of the mounds that pepper the holes at FireRock Golf Club started off life as gravel mounds from the mine. FireRock was not the first such reuse of formerly spoiled public land in golf course design, of course. Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta, Georgia was also a former sand mind, the kind known as a “borrow pit.” Wildcat Golf Course in Houston used to be a municipal dump. River Golf Club in North Augusta, South Carolina used to be an industrial rail yard. FireRock Golf Club, then, joined a burgeoning tradition of taking the wastes of the industrial era and turning them into new, carefully designed golf courses.   

Award-Winning Course Design

That golf course design comes to FireRock Golf Club courtesy of award winning golf designer Tom McBroom. McBroom’s design philosophy – evident from the design of FireRock Golf Club – is simple, yet extremely profound. That philosophy can be summed up as: “Play the land as it lies.” What this means is that the point of creating a golf course is not to dig up the land and force it to bow to the whims of the designer. Instead, the designer should accede to the way the land is structured prior to the idea of a golf course ever being there. In this sense, each course designed by McBroom’s architecture firm is separate and unique from any of the others. The design of the course is dependent upon the land itself, and no two sites are ever alike. His work has spread across North America and out into the Caribbean, Europe and now China.

Twelve of McBroom’s courses are in the top 100 courses in Canada, as ranked by Score Magazine; only one designer, the legendary Stanley Thompson (who designed one of Sunningdale’s courses), has more on the list. McBroom also has two courses in Golf Digest’s 100 Best European Courses as well, both incidentally in Finland. The idea of taking a used construction material site like that near Komoka was seen as a challenge by McBroom. In an interview with Golf Canada, McBroom explained his fascination with the design opportunities this area offered him.

“FireRock is explosive by nature and stunning by design,” he said. “One of the first elements that struck me at FireRock was the nature of the disturbed land – it had a really fascinating feel to it for us to explore. It presented a unique situation for us to build on and around the sand and gravel features.” Thus, the design of FireRock follows the layout of the Oxbow River Valley and the contours of the old gravel and sand pit. The spruce and poplar trees that populate the course are the same trees that have stood in that place since time out of mind, and the small tributary creeks of the Oxbow River have not been changed since they were first formed. The best example of the “play the land as it lies” philosophy is of course the aforementioned gravel mounds, found throughout the course marked off as “environmentally sensitive” areas.

The Golfing Experience

All of the design philosophy and award-winning architecture in the world, of course, doesn’t matter if the experience of golfing on the course isn’t fun. Thankfully, FireRock Golf Club is another example of a McBroom design that delivers an amazing golfing experience.

The very first hole – the very first shot – starts off with a challenge. It’s a par 5 with a double dogleg that requires the golfer to first carry the ball over a water hazard and then avoid the bunkers that line the approach to the green. The second hole ramps up the challenge factor by putting a gigantic water hazard over most of the left side of the fairway. The choice is clear: take an extra shot by hitting to the right or go for broke by lofting the ball over and somehow avoiding the bunkers that lie in wait just over the water line. Another interesting feature of the second hole is the fact that the hole is raised up on a plateau, a design feature borrowed from Stanley Thompson’s philosophy.

The fourth hole is a perfect example of letting the land set the narrative of the course. From overhead, the approach to the hole seems dimpled; playing the hole, however, reveals those dimples as serious traps for the unwary golfer. They are, of course, the old gravel mounds, covered over with lush fairway grass and ready to keep you from getting par on the hole. It’s on the fourth hole that you really get the full experience of what it means to let the land dictate the design of the course.

The sixth hole is a straight shot right to the green, as long as you can make it over the amazingly complex system of bunkers that lies between you and the pin. If you’re not hard up for breathing room, you can play it as a traditional dogleg, but the chance for a birdie is right there if you want it. You may want to bring a shovel, though. The seventh is extremely similar, except it replaces the maddening series of sand traps with a wide water hazard. It’s another hole where you can score an easy birdie – something even the designer notes – but it has the added bonus of swallowing your ball forever if you make the shot wrong. In golfing circles we call that “a good time.” Eight and nine are a little easier, although they don’t particularly let up on the amount of sand for you to suddenly find yourself in after a wayward shot.

The tenth hole is an interesting design oddity, more than any other spot at FireRock Golf Club. Dogleg twists are a common feature in golf course design but the tenth hole at FireRock takes it to extremes. This is actually due to a quirk in using the land to dictate the design of the course. During the surveying and excavation phase of building the course, the planners discovered a field full of indigenous artifacts. Rather than disturbing the resting place of these items, McBroom and his associate designers decided to make the tenth hole have that gigantic jag to the right. It means that a shot from the tee will likely land blind on or off the fairway before the golfer has to reorient themselves toward the hole. It’s a serious challenge, and one that really hammers home McBroom’s design philosophy.

The thirteenth hole also shows off this design concept; the tee shot must carry over an out-of-bounds area composed of savannah grasses that are designated for environmental protection. The golfer must then follow a dogleg right and get the tee shot just right or end up out-of-bounds again, this time because of the rail line that runs alongside the left side of the green.

The last four holes follow similar paths: carry-over areas of protected grasses, narrow landing areas, and a return of the complicated series of bunkers. The eighteenth hole combines all of these and adds one final water hazard, albeit a smaller one than found elsewhere.

It’s a challenging, demanding course that strikes a great balance between difficulty and a great playthrough, and it provides a stellar examination of the concept of using what you have on hand to make a great golf course. The water hazards and former gravel mounds add a new level of challenge for the jaded golfer, but none of the glory offered by the course is out of range for the inexperienced up-and-coming golfer.

Play Options

Unlike some of the other upper-crust courses in the London region, FireRock has both yearly membership rates and the ability for the public to pay one-time green fees to play a full 18 holes. The rates are quite reasonable and are adjusted based on the time of year; it’s cheaper in the spring and fall than it is in the summer.

In addition to the usual membership options and one-time green fees, there is also a league option for men and women at FireRock. League play focuses more on the social features of golf; although scores are kept, the competition aspects of golfing are less important. Men’s league starts in April and runs for 20 weeks, while women’s league play starts in May and runs for 16 weeks.

The Pub

Another feature that sets FireRock Golf Club apart from other courses in the region is the presence of a full-service pub in the clubhouse. Most clubhouses sell a limited amount of food and drink, enough to keep golfers happy without shelling out additional expenditure on making something truly memorable. FireRock went in the opposite direction, however. The Pub at FireRock is a full, separate bar and grill experience open to the public. They keep twelve beers on tap, keep a full, impressive stock of wine and liquor, and (like all good sports-oriented pubs) have seven TVs mounted to keep you up to date on the score. The food menu is stuffed full as well, offering something for everyone with a few interesting twists, including Korean BBQ lettuce wraps and a stuffed Yorkshire pudding. It makes a great clubhouse for relaxing after a round, while at the same time it’s also another reason to visit FireRock Golf Club without needing to actually go golfing in the first place.

There are a number of great golf destinations in the London region, and it can sometimes feel hard for a particular club to stand out from the others. FireRock Golf Club manages to do it though, through the virtue of having an interesting, challenging, intricately designed course that offers a solid environmental message, and also through having a separate restaurant that is worthy of visiting all on it’s own. Regardless of whether your golfing skills are professional-level, intermediate, beginner, or non-existent, FireRock Golf Club has something to draw you in and show you a good time.

Fanshawe
Lake

The Secret to Summertime Health and Happiness

In a world that is more and more tied to a desk, a computer screen, and a chair, having blue spaces and green spaces within our cities that can bring us back to nature, and can positively impact our health is so crucial. We keep hearing more and more about the dangers of sitting all day for our mental health. We sit in a car and commute to work. We sit at a desk for eight hours. Sit in our car back to our home, and then sit and watch Netflix all night. It’s not good for our physical and mental health. Luckily, in London Ontario, we have so many amazing choices for ways to get off of our seats, enjoy the outdoors, and get healthy! One of those choices is Fanshawe Lake.

Fanshawe Lake has stunning views, encourages multiple types of physical activity, and promotes mental health. It’s a man-made lake that for decades has been giving Londoners a wonderful spot to “get away from it all” without having to leave the city. It’s a lake that offers so many wonderful options for things to do and see. It’s a place that can draw people out of their homes, away from their TVs to spend an afternoon making memories that you cannot make in front of a screen. It’s located in the Fanshawe Ridge area of our great city.

If you have not been out to see it yet, then what are you waiting for? It’s a beautiful lake that was created for this wonderful city that we live in. It not only protects our city, but it offers so many mental and physical health benefits. It offers Londoners things to do, while giving spectacular views. So go and check it out. It’s worth it, trust me.

History

One of the major aspects to London Ontario, and a thing that has made this city so wonderful to live in, is the Thames River. It flows like life-giving veins throughout the entire city and gives London amazing views, fills our city with incredible and unique wildlife, and gives us so many leisure pastime activities that are good for our health.

While the Thames River has brought health, prosperity, and relaxation to London, it has had a rocky past. There have been two times in history, in 1883 and 1937, when the Thames River had catastrophic flooding that was devastating to the city.

Naturally, a solution was sought after that would help to avoid this in the future. What could they do to stop flooding with heavy rains, and add to the London Ontario community? That is when the idea came along to control the water levels through a dam.

The construction of the Fanshawe Dam started in 1950 and took two years to finish. The dam cost $5 million and within the dam, the University of Western Ontario’s geology department placed a seismograph, which is an instrument used to measure motions in the ground.

The dam is 652 meters long, 30.5 meters high, and is located in northeast London. The hydroelectric generator from Fanshawe Dam can power 400 households with the energy it creates. The reservoir from the dam is now known as Fanshawe Lake. This man-made lake has the North Thames of the Thames River running through it.

London capitalized on the beauty, the healthy living, and the wonder that is Fanshawe Lake by creating Fanshawe Conservation area, which is approximately 3000 acres. The Fanshawe Conservation Area has been an immense benefit to Londoners by providing such a natural escape from the city back to nature within the city.

Within the Fanshawe Conservation Area, there used to be a beach on Fanshawe Lake that allowed swimming. The swimming aspect of the lake has been closed since 2009 because green/blue algae was found within the waters, which is not good for swimmers.

Things to Do

Boating

Fanshawe Lake allows power-driven boats on their lakes. The exception to this rule is that they do not allow battery powered electric propulsion motors or watercraft with 10 hp or less. This is great news for anyone who wants to spend a day in the sunshine on a beautiful lake with the blue skies above them, the sun shining down on them, and a leisurely boat ride to soothe their soul.

It’s also great news for people who enjoy fishing off of a boat. Fanshawe Lake is great for fishing, as mentioned below, and any good fisherman knows that there are only so many fish you can catch standing on shore banks. You have to get on the water to get the best fishing experience.

Fanshawe Lake is also home to the Fanshawe Yacht Club and Sailing School. The Fanshawe Yacht Club and Sailing School offers courses for adults and students to learn how to sail. There is no better place to learn such an awesome skill than on the beautiful and peaceful Fanshawe Lake.

The Fanshawe Yacht Club and Sailing School offer casual racing experiences for those who do know how to sail to participate in. You can either bring your own boat or lease one of the many that they own there. They also host formal sailing races and competitions.

Fishing

Fishing is plentiful and fun on Fanshawe Lake. Of course, anyone doing fishing needs to have a valid fishing license on them and should respect fishing seasons and restrictions. You can do boat fishing as well as shore fishing from Fanshawe. The lake is home to many different kinds of fish, including perch, bass, pike, and walleye. For those who are wondering about eating the fish that they catch, the Government of Ontario has a great guide to help you decide what fish from our waters are good to eat and what ones to avoid. This guide can be found here.

Personally, what I love most about fishing is the ability to spend time in beautiful spots, taking in the gorgeous scenery around you, relaxing, and then experiencing the adrenaline rush and thrill of landing a fish. Fanshawe lake is a perfect place for fishing because the atmosphere there is serene and calming and the views are absolutely spectacular. You can enjoy your day while waiting to get that really big catch.

Canoeing/Kayaking

The Fanshawe Lake is also a perfect spot for canoeing and kayaking. Canoeing and Kayaking are both really great low-impact activities that are great for your health. They can improve your flexibility, your strength, as well as your aerobic fitness. The rowing is going to strengthen muscles in your arms, back, shoulder and chest. The balancing and moving around and twisting is going to strengthen your core and your legs. Canoeing and Kayaking is also great for your cardiovascular health since it gets your heart rate up and gets your blood pumping. All of this you get while having minimal wear and tear on your joints!

Of course the other benefits to this kind of activity is the peaceful enjoyment that you get from being on the water. When it’s quiet out and all you can hear is your paddle dipping into the cool waters and the gentle sound of your boat being pushing forward through the lake, you find yourself in a tranquil state of rejuvenation. Your mind is at rest and you cake breathe in the beauty of views around you.

Canoeing and Kayaking is also great because you can take it at your own pace. Do you want to have a leisurely ride that is peaceful and restorative? Or do you want to push yourself and your muscles as you fly across the water, feeling the wind in your face? It’s totally up to you and both are just as enjoyable.

Rowing

The London Rowing Club uses Fanshawe Lake during the on-water season. The London Rowing Society also hosts provincial rowing championships on Fanshawe Lake. Rowing is an amazing feat of strength and endurance. It’s amazing exercise. Watching a rowing competition is thrilling as you watch the muscles ripple and the brows become furrowed in concentration. The boats make these amazing lines across the glass-like water. And at Fanshawe Lake the beautiful trees, shores, sun and blue skies all send you in a dizzy of delight.

Hiking

Fanshawe Conservation Area has beautiful paths that wrap around Fanshawe lake, giving you beautiful views that can take your breath away. You’ll get to see all kinds of birds and wildlife throughout your hike. The trail around the lake goes through different terrain as well so you’ll get to walk through meadows and mature forests, and canopied areas and wide-open views of the lake.

Hiking is great for the body and the mind. There have been studies that show that if you disconnect from tech while you’re hiking, you can boost creative problem-solving, which means that you can do your best thinking while on a hike. Studies have also shown that hiking can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in kids, so be sure to take your family with you! Lastly, studies have shown that hiking can reduce obsessive and negative thoughts associated with many mental health issues.

For your health, hiking can strengthen your core and balance. It lowers your risk for heart disease and improves blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It also boosts bone density and strengthens your glutes, legs, and hips! What better way to get all of these benefits than to hike around the beautiful and serene Fanshawe Lake?

Biking

Fanshawe Conservation Area has an amazing 22–25 km bike path that wraps around Fanshawe Lake so that you get beautiful views of the lake that you can enjoy while mountain biking. There are optional parts of the path for more experienced mountain bikers. You can do the loop at a pretty leisurely pace in about 2 hours, but the faster you go the more of a challenge it is and more experienced bikers can get it done in around one hour.

There are multiple terrains to keep it fun and interesting as you ride along. I’ve done this trail once before and must say that it was an incredible work out. You engage your whole core as you navigate and balance over roots and rocks and you don’t even notice how hard you’re working because the view of Fanshawe Lake is so distractingly beautiful.

Camping

Of course who doesn’t love camping near a lake? There is something that helps you sleep on the forest floor when nighttime falls and the only sounds that you can hear are the soothing sounds of water. Spend your day hiking, fishing and canoeing on this stunning lake and then spend your evening enjoying the benefits of a really good camping experience.

Benefits of Fanshawe Lake

We’ve been hearing more and more lately about bringing green space into urban environments because more and more studies are showing the profound impacts that your working and living environments have on your physical and mental health. Luckily, in London Ontario, we happen to live in a city that has everything we want and need from a city, as well as having a plethora of stunning parks and forested areas all around us.

But did you know that “blue space”, or visible water spaces such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, is also amazing for your physical and mental wellbeing as well? The author of Blue Mind mentions that being near water allows us to enter into mindfulness very quickly.

A study recently showed that in a capital city, those who had access to blue space had lower psychological distress than those who did not. I think that most of us can agree that being near water has a calming and rejuvenating effect on us. It helps to clear our minds, get away from our daily stresses and relax, which is why Fanshawe Lake is such a great place to visit. It’s serene. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. It gives your mind a chance to re-energize.

Having a lake like Fanshawe Lake is also great for our city because of the physical activity it encourages: rowing, sailing, canoeing, fishing, hiking and biking are all amazing for your physical health and are made that much more appealing when they’re all set on or around the beautiful views of Fanshawe Lake.

The Thames
River

The Thames River Is The Lifeblood Of London Ontario

Running throughout all of London Ontario as veins carrying the lifeblood of this beautiful city is the Thames River. It could even be argued that without this beautiful and picturesque river, there would be no London Ontario.

John Graves Simcoe, who was a lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, named the river the Thames in 1793 after the River Thames in England. He also declared the forks of the river as the capital for the colony (although it did not end up being the capital).

Of course, if you have actually been to England to see the River Thames, John Graves Simcoe was being more than generous in declaring it so, but the Thames River is still a beautiful part of the city that has brought with it economical and ecological significance.

Over the years, London Ontario has seen the Thames River used for transportation and mills. It has brought industry, trades, and independence to the city. The Thames River has seen tragedy. Wars have been fought here. It brought commercial farming. And it has connected the city with nature.

London Ontario is a beautiful city that is known for being the Forest City. It’s because of the river banks and the plants and wildlife that it brings that helps to shape London into being a city that is industrious and successful while also being a city that is connected with nature.

The river connects us with our past. So much of the Thames River still looks like it did over 200 years ago. We’ve protected the rare wildlife that lives here because of the river.

The Thames River has been so much more than just a beautiful and picturesque waterpiece to look at in the city. It has been the lifeblood of this great city, flowing like veins through every part. It’s part of our quality of life here. It’s part of our economic growth here. It’s part of our past, it’s what we enjoy in the present, and it’s essential for our future.

The History

The Thames River has had an interesting history that has not always been positive and sunny. It was a significant location during the war of 1812. In fact, one of the battles was named The Battle of the Thames. On October 5, 1813, American General William Henry Harrison fought against the British General Henry Proctor, who was also joined by his Native American ally, Chief Tecumseh. Chief Tecumseh’s life was claimed in battle.

Then in 1881 a river steamer named “Victoria” sank. There were 182 passengers that died that day. Luckily, after that, a law was made that prevented all ferries from carrying anything that was above their max capacity.

Years later still, in 1883, there were heavy rains that flooded the Thames river. One ferry called “Princess Louise” ended up going over the Waterworks Dam because of the flooding and capsized. Seven people were killed in the accident.

In 1899, a propeller boat that was named “Thames” caught on fire and sunk.

The bad luck on the Thames continued in 1937 when the Thames River was flooded, reaching historical highs. This flooding resulted in 5 deaths and more than a thousand homes being destroyed.

The last of the bad luck for the Thames River happened in 1950 when another boat capsized, taking with it the lives of 4 passengers.

Finally, in 2000, the Thames River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River.

Ecological Significance

Rivers are not just park of the aesthetics of a town. Back in the day they were part of the reasons why people chose to settle in a place and were part of the economics and wealth of townsteads. More than that, rivers are part of the ecology of the land around them. They bring vegetation and wildlife that are essential parts of nature. Here are some of the ways that the Thames River contributes to our natural surroundings.

Wetlands

One of the natural occurrences that take place when there are large bodies of water is wetlands. Wetlands are basically just places that are either always or seasonally flooded by a bit of water or where the water table is close to the surface, and it creates swamps, marshes, bogs and fens. Wetlands are so important for the environment. Because of their ecological conditions, wetlands are home to all kinds of plants and wildlife that need that specific state to grow and thrive.

The Thames River has 31 provincially significant wetlands, and 35 of the wetlands are locally significant. The Sifton Bog, which is located in the Oakridge neighbourhood, is a wetland that has been labeled as an Environmentally Significant Area. Sifton Bog has a 2.7km trail and a 370 meter boardwalk which leads to the center of the bog for viewing.

The Banks and waters

The banks and waters of the Thames is teeming with a diverse spectrum of species and and plants. It’s shores are lined with tree species such as sassafras, paw paw, and Kentucky coffee. The conditions that the Thames River provides for fish and wildlife is perfect for many species that are rarely found anywhere else in Canada. Some of those species include the queen snake, the black redhorse, and the eastern spiny softshell turtle. A number of these rare species are also At Risk species, and there are committees designated to try and protect them, which is why it is always important to respect the River and the lands around it.

Fishing

Fishing in the Thames River is completely acceptable as long as you have a valid fishing license on you. The best spots for fishing on the Thames are at Fanshawe Conservation Area, Wildwood Conservation Area, and Pittock Conservation Area. You can fish from boat or from the shore at these places. That being said, you can fish from anywhere along the Thames River.

Personally, I’ve experienced a lot of success fishing from the shore in Kains Woods. I’ve even had success fishing off the Thames River in Springbank Park. You’ll be able to catch perch, bass, northern pike, and walleye in the Thames in a variety of different sizes.

Fishing is a great hobby. It gets you outdoors and enjoying nature. It keeps you connected with the earth. It’s fun—who doesn’t love the thrill of landing a really big fish and fighting it to shore? And it can be a great way to practice eating local.

Biking

One of my absolute favorite things to do from spring to fall is bike outside. London is lucky enough to have bike paths that go across the city, through parks, and run along the Thames River. There is no better motivator to get out there and bike, or to keep biking if you’re already out, than stunning views of a picturesque park with a glittering river flowing beside you as you cruise along.

The Sites

In London, we have a bunch of unique and interesting ways to view the Thames River. Since it flows and winds through our city, you can enjoy the river from different locations and avenues. Here are some of the best ways.

Kains Woods

Kains Woods, which is located in the Riverbend neighbourhood, is one of the most beautiful wooded areas to walk through in London. It is located right behind the Riverbend Golf Club and takes place along the bend of the Thames River. It’s filled with wildlife. The deer are pretty friendly are not skittish. The view of the river from beneath a canopy of trees is absolutely beautiful. Kains Woods even has one small rock-beach section if it’s a hot day and you feel like dipping your toes in the cool and refreshing river.

It’s also an amazing place to Kayak or canoe. The sun sparkles off of the gorgeous river as you kayak down with stunning forest views on either side of the shore: who wouldn’t want that for a summer afternoon?

Komoka Provincial Park

Komoka Provincial Park is a large green space with absolutely breathtaking views of the river. It has elevated parts that are high up and give you a bird’s eye view of the Thames below. There are horseback riding trails, hiking trails, fishing spots, and even mountain biking trails. It’s in the Kilworth neighborhood, so you do not have to drive far or even out of the city to experience a beautiful provincial park nestled along the Thames River.

Fanshawe Conservation Area

Fanshawe Conservation Area is an absolute must-visit for anyone in London who wants to head back to nature without leaving the city. It has stunning hiking trails (one is a day-long 20km that is shared with bikes, while the other is a shorter 3.4km and is for hikers only) with beautiful sites of the Thames River.

They also have an absolutely stunning 20km mountain biking trail for those who love a little thrill. You’ll be going through rooted areas, meadows, up hills, and riding along the gorgeous Thames River. There are even a few technically difficult areas that are optional for skilled mountain bikers.

Fanshawe Conservation Area is also great for enjoying the water. They have kayaks and canoes for rent there, or you can bring your own. It would also be a great place for paddle boating. There is nothing that makes me think of a picturesque summer day like canoeing down the river with the sun shining on my face and gorgeous landscapes on either side of me.

Fanshawe Conservation Area also has camping, so you can enjoy all the fun of the river for more than just one day.

Downtown

The Thames River skirts along the edge of Downtown London Ontario, giving many of the highrise buildings and office buildings in downtown a lovely view.

Michaels on the Thames is a restaurant on the edge of downtown that was smart enough to take full advantage of this gorgeous aspect of the city. Their restaurant has giant windows that look out over the river as you sip on wine and enjoy delicious gourmet meals inside.

Parks

One of the things that I love best about living in London Ontario is the plethora of beautiful parks that we have access to. There are numerous parks scattered throughout the city so that no matter where you live, and no matter what kind of park that you enjoy going to, there is something for everyone.

Luckily for us, since we have the Thames River flowing through the city, many of our parks are located on or near the River, giving us beautiful, picturesque views, as well as giving us enjoyable water activities such as fishing, boating, or admiring the water wildlife.

Some of the parks that you can find with stunning river views and fun include: Springbank Park, McKillop Park, Greenway Park, Ivey Park, Riverside Park, Harris Park, Waldorf Park, Ann Street Park, Gibbons Park, Kilally Valley Park.

Labatt Park

London’s own baseball stadium is located right on a fork of the Thames River, giving baseball loving fans a beautiful view. The stadium has 5,200 seats and is a natural grass field. The park is actually the “oldest continually operating baseball grounds in the world”, which is impressive. Clearly someone had a brilliant idea to build it right near the river, giving London a baseball stadium to be proud of operating.

Learn more about London’s baseball history here.

Medway Valley Heritage Forest

The Medway Valley Heritage Forest is an area of cultural significance. It was once an Attawandaron village over 500 years ago. Then in the 19th and 20th century Europeans settled and farmed along there. You can even see remnants of a mill dam that was stationed there. The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority has acquired and been donated the land over the last 40 years. It’s been labelled as an Environmentally Significant Area. It has 10.6 kms of trails. The Medway Valley Heritage Forest is teeming with incredible wildlife, including muskrat, mink, beavers and flying squirrels. The waters are filled with over 43 species of fish and the trees are filled with birds that range from Warblers to Osprey.

The Thames River is such a vital part of what makes London Ontario such a great city to live in. It has been essential to establishing London as a city. It has brought great economical advantages, such as mills, farming, and transportation. It has been essential to our ecological well being, being home to rare species and creating the conditions necessary for plants and wildlife. It has been part of our general enjoyment, giving us beautiful views, stunning places to relax, and bringing nature into the daily city life.

Masonville
Mall

More than Just a Shopping Center

Whenever I need to get some serious shopping done, I head to CF Masonville Place, also known as Masonville Mall. It’s the only mall that comes to mind when I know that I have a lot of people to buy for or a lot of different kinds of gifts to purchase. There’s a reason why the parking lot is jam-packed full during the Christmas season: people love shopping in this mall. It’s packed full of all of the hippest stores and has managed to pack a wide variety of types of stores inside its walls. Whatever I need, I know I can find inside of Masonville Mall. It has all of your shopping essentials and then some.

But the thing about Masonville Mall is that it’s not just a shopping center, it’s an entertainment mecca. You can easily spend an entire day being entertained to the max at the mall without even realizing it from being distracted with all of the fun things that there are to do there.

It’s a two story mall with lots of parking and a bus station where a multitude of the LTC buses stop at. It’s located in the Masonville neighborhood and is absolutely the place to go when it’s too hot to be outside and you want to spend a day being entertained, or shopping until you drop. It’s also the place to go when winter is going strong and keeping you in doors but you’re going stir crazy and the prospect of another night of Netflix is just not looking appealing. It’s also the place to go when fall starts and the prospect of new clothes and distraction are beckoning at you.

Trust me when I say that Masonville Mall is so much more than a shopping center. It’s a place to be entertained. It’s a place to spend your days. It’s a place to get delicious food. It’s a place that you’re going to want to check out if you have not for a while, because it has been updated and is amazing.

Shops

What I love most about this incredible shopping center is that they have everything you could possibly want in this place. Some of the biggest and hottest stores can be found here such as H&M, Hot Topic, Zara, Forever21, Build-A-Bear, Lindt, Sephora, Lush, The Disney Store, HomeSense, and Marshalls.

Dining

The Food Court

Who doesn’t love the variety of food things that you can get at the food court. It’s amazing if your friends and family that you go with have different tastes. I love going and getting different things and then sharing things so that you get to taste a little bit of everything. Of course if you’re looking for something sweet, no mall is complete without a Cinnabon or a Dairy Queen.

The Keg

Who doesn’t like a great steak? And the sides at the Keg are something to write home about. If you want a really delicious meal after a day of amazing shopping and being highly entertained, you don’t even have to leave the Mall. Head over to The Keg and enjoy a truly indulgent meal.

Milestones

Milestones has amazing brunch, so head to the mall on weekends and enjoy a delicious brunch to fuel up for a long day of exploring this amazing shopping center and being entertained at this entertainment mecca. Of course there is also great lunch and dinner options, but I adore the brunch here so much, I highly recommend it.

Java fuel

If you’re finding your energy waning and you need a little caffeine jolt to wake you up and keep you moving, Masonville has a couple of great options for you. If you have not tried Aroma Espresso Bar, you need to. Their coffee is absolutely divine. And there is always Starbucks for those who love their Caramel Macchiatos.

Rec Room

The Rec Room has amazing food. Three10 has amazing woodfired pizzas, delicious burgers, and amazing entrees. They also have incredible fun food for sharing like wings, dip, calamari, and giant pretzels. If you’re looking for amazingly delicious food while you’re being thoroughly entertained, then you’re going to want to hit Three10.

The Shed is for incredible snack foods to curb the hunger. They have to-die-for poutine and the most mouth-watering gourmet donuts like fireside s’mores and strawberry cheesecake.

Entertainment

One of the best things about Masonville Mall is that it’s not only an incredible shopping center, it’s also one of the best places to be truly entertained in London Ontario.

Silver City

If you’re looking for a high quality theater with luxurious leather seats, lots of legroom, and an arcade front, then head over to Cineplex. You can pause your shopping to enjoy watching the latest movies and enjoy the most delicious concession foods while you do. This theater has giant screens and amazing surround sound.

Silver City Cineplex Movie Theatre London

Rec Room

The Rec Room is truly an experience. You can play nostalgic games like skee ball and bean bag toss. They have fun fair games that are infuriating and fun like trying to get the bottles down with a ball. They have energetic games that get your heart pumping like this one where there is a giant wall of buttons and the buttons will light up randomly, and you whack-a-mole the buttons as they light up as the timer counts down the precious seconds that you have. You can also play this game as a race against another person beside you to see who is faster.

There are also the arcade games that give you “tickets” (although since the Rec Room is very up-to-date with the latest technology the tickets are virtual tickets that are tracked on your wristband) which are both nostalgic and incredibly addicting.

If you’re more of a racer, there are many different kinds of racing games, both car and motorcycle. They come in big line ups so that you can race with your friends. Just, be warned that one of the games takes your photo before the race and if you’re not ready for it then everyone racing during the game can laugh at the unprepared look on your face. The Rec Room also has shooting games, if that is more of your fancy. There is even one shooting game that is in a booth. It is a full sensory game with surround sound, a seat that shakes, it’s even in 3D and even has air that blows out at you when doors burst open and Zombies lung at you.

If you’re dying to experience VR there is a VR section where you and a few friends can go in and wander around with the headsets on, experiencing video games in a way that you’ve never experienced them before. You’ll be right in the action, seeing it first hand as if you’re actually there.

If you’re more into pool, there are beautiful tables to play on. And if you happen to be in a more adventurous mood then you can try your hand at axe throwing, which is a lot harder than it actually looks.

History

This wonderful mall has been with London since 1985 when it was built by the Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited. Then in 1991 it expanded with 75 new stores added to the building. They also then added an indoor mini golf course. If you ask Londoners who were around back then about the course, you’ll be greeted with bouts of nostalgia.

The golf course had water elements and beautiful sand traps. There were bridges and people loved that it was was much more of a real miniature golf experience than one of those mini putt courses with spirals and loops.

They built a Zellers in the mall in 1994 which was exciting at the time. The Zellers was replaced with Target in 2013, which then closed a few years later and in 2017 Marshalls and HomeSense then filled the empty space.

Development

In 2016 and 2017 CF Masonville Place announced that they would be developing the mall and investing around $106 million into the mall. Their goal was to give their “guests a vibrant destination that offers the best shopping, dining, and entertainment in the region.”

They added in The Rec Room, H&M, Hot Topic, Zara, Disney Store, Freshii, Michael Kors and so many more stores to make the mall the place to be.

Events

Campus Night Throughout the year Masonville Mall hosts Campus Nights for anyone in post secondary education. They offer free shuttles from the University to the Mall and shuttles back at the end of your shopping adventure. They offer amazing discounts at a variety of stores and as long as you bring your student card you can participate. They also have student ambassadors in the mall to give participating students giveaways.

Pop-Ups Look out for random pop-up shops to happen throughout the year to bring you stores that you normally cannot find inside of the mall. These pop up shops usually have great offers for the short time that you can find them in the mall. Keep an eye open on their Facebook page to make sure that you don’t miss our on any of these pop up shops.

Sales Masonville Mall’s events page often highlights big sales that are happening throughout the mall, so it’s a great idea to keep an eye out so that you know when you can go to save big time.

Delaware
Speedway

The sun, slowly lowering in the western sky, sending painted tendrils of red light streaking across the horizon. A crowd gathered on the hills, sitting on seats or else spread out on blankets on the grass, their eyes to the wide oval laying out before them. Below, on that oval, a wide, chaotic variety of cars wait as their drivers and their mechanics pore over them; inside the oval, trailers stand shoulder to shoulder as people mill in, out, and between them. There is a nervous energy lying over everything, a quivering feeling that means that the night’s entertainment is about to begin. Later, there will be racing, stock cars vying against each other for bragging rights and even a small prize. For now, though, over Delaware Speedway, there is the delicious anticipation of seeing the raceway come to blazing, speeding life.

History

Delaware Speedway is a half-mile long oval stock car race track located in Delaware, Ontario, approximately twenty minutes west from London, Ontario on Highway 402. The speedway is built along a series of small hills, giving the track a shape much like an amphitheatre, which is something of a rarity among stock car race tracks. The race track first opened in 1952, built by Hugh Brodie as a quarter-mile dirt track for stock racing. Later, in the 1970s, this quarter mile was expanded to a half mile and the dirt track was paved over with asphalt so that super-modified stock racing could be added to the list of events offered at Delaware Speedway. While this ended up being a popular attraction (and a great way to introduce a number of other, more intense events to the lineup), super modified racing was taken off of the event list in the mid-1980s and didn’t return to Delaware Speedway until 2006.

During that period when the track was expanded and paved, it also became known as the “home of CASCAR”, the Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Established in 1981, CASCAR was the supreme governing body for both amateur and professional stock car racing in Canada. CASCAR was similar to NASCAR in the beginning, although with different rules; as an example, NASCAR rules dictate that modified stock cars must use steel-bodied shells, while CASCAR rules allowed for fibreglass shells that were covered by customized tube-frame racing chassis. CASCAR’s success during the 1980s and 1990s led to its purchase by NASCAR in 2006, and it’s rebranding as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, which features a dozen races held between May and October. In 2015 that series was rebranded the NASCAR Pinty’s Series after Canadian Tire dropped its sponsorship of the series and Pinty’s Fine Foods picked up the sponsorship. A number of races in this series have been held at Delaware Speedway over the years, and the race track has become a solid destination for Canadian NASCAR hopefuls of all skill levels to practice and compete.

 Weekly Racing Events

Delware Speedway is host to a number of weekly division races. One of the most popular of these is the Late Model division, which is well-attended for its often close races and its high breakneck speeds. Late Model stock cars are a catch-all term for car designs and build that are from recent years; this is to differentiate them from the early model, or “classic” car designs. Late Model cars come in three categories: super late models, late models, and limited late models. The categories indicate the performance level of the car: super late models are the highest performance vehicles, while limited late models tend to be more underpowered when compared to the other types. Super late model racers are typically built with engines rated at over 600 horsepower and the entire chassis normally weighs somewhere around 2700 lbs. Late model racers are heavier, typically around 3100 lbs, but deliver less horsepower. The engines are typically rated around 400 horsepower and can either be crate engines (that is, non-stock engines built in factories and dropped in to replace the stock engine) or custom-built engines by the specific garage the car belongs to. Limited late model cars are similar to late model cars, but their engines generate less than 400 horsepower. Late model cars of any type are normally the highest level of stock car racing at most racetracks, and Delaware Speedway is no exception to this. Individual racetracks often have different rules as to what constitutes the specifications for late model racing, although NASCAR-affiliated tracks will often have identical sets of rules so as to keep racing series easy to maintain. The late model racing series at Delaware Speedway uses the rulebook from the APC Series Late Model Championship Racing series.

Late model racing is the highest level of racing at most racetracks largely because they go fast, especially in comparison with other racing series. It’s one thing to see a nice car zipping along Sarnia Road at a good speed, it’s quite another to see them pushed to go all out in a setting where they’re allowed to hit their limits.

Delaware Speedway also features a class of Super Stock racing, a form of street stock racing. Street stock cars are literally that – cars that are available to you and me, out there at the dealership and ready to drive off the lot. “Dealership” is often a bit of a misnomer, though; a lot of street stock cars are purchased second hand and are often decades old. It’s not any surprise to watch a street stock race and see a 1983 Monte Carlo going toe to toe with a 1994 Cavalier; it’s more about the subtle modifications you do to the stock body than any aesthetic concerns. Delaware Speedway’s Super Stock racing events are races that feature street stock cars whose engines have been modified to get far more power out than you would from normal crate racing engines. Superstock racing engines typically get between 500-550 horsepower, approaching the kind of power you get from high-end late model racers.

Similar to the Super Stock racing events, Delaware Speedway also features a Trucks division, where modified, purpose-built pickup trucks vie against each other in a fast-paced, close-race competition. Truck races at Delaware Speedway often resemble driving on Wonderland, only the pickup truck drivers are supposed to be there and you don’t mind them driving at high speeds and cutting people off. The same could be said of the V8 stocks, in a way, in that people like to take Wonderland on as though they had V8 engines revving in their cars. The V8 races at Delaware Speedway, though, are something to behold. Those engines put out some serious power, and watching them blast their way around the oval is the kind of edge of your seat excitement for which Delaware has been known for decades.

Bone Stock Racing

A lot of these stock racing divisions can cost a fair bit of money to get into. The late model cars often cost upwards of $30,000 and while the super stock cars cost a bit less, the engine modifications can drive the price up a bit. The cost of entry to these races is why Delaware Speedway also features what they call a Bone Stock racing division. Bone Stock cars are just that – cars brought in off the street and given the barest modifications to provide for safety.     Bone stock cars can be any car, as long as they have front wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine. The maximum horsepower rating on the engine is 180 and if the car can complete a lap faster than a specific time weight has to be piled in the car in order to provide an even playing field for all racers. When it comes to the Bone Stock division, then, the focus is on the skill and daring of the individual driver, rather than how much money the driver can pour into the vehicle to give it a competitive advantage. The cars cost on average around $2000 dollars but you can get a car up and running for Bone Stock races for much less as well; Delaware Speedway mentions that at minimum you’ll be spending $500 to get something that can compete without making you look too terrible and that the 2011 champion car for the Bone Stock division was put together for $1000. It’s a great division for people looking to get into racing for the first time, or for hobby enthusiasts to test the mettle of their home-brew builds.

One of the most beloved yearly traditions at Delaware Speedway is the annual Pumpkin Smasher event, which caps off the year’s regular season of racing. For the annual Pumpkin Smasher, fans are invited to bring pumpkins to the raceway; shortly before the second 50 lap race of the final day, fans are then invited to toss those pumpkins down onto the oval track. The pumpkins arc up, and then down, and finally smash into a wild orange mess all over the track. The Bone Stock racers then have to race through the tangle of pumpkin guts, to everyone’s general amusement. Some drivers like to roll cautiously through the pumpkins; some drivers like to go all out, letting reaction time and sheer strength of will keep them from skidding out and hitting the wall. It’s a test of nerve and endurance that separates the champions from the merely fast. The Pumpkin Smasher is often followed up with the end of year Demolition Derby where drivers smash their cars together until there is one final winner standing.

 The Junior Racing League

In addition to the weekly racing divisions, Delaware Speedway also features a Junior Racing League, for area youth looking to get into racing as well as building cars in general. Divided into two levels (Junior, for those between the ages of 8 and 12, and Senior, for those aged 13 through 17), the Junior Racing League provides a well-rounded education for youth on all aspects of racing. There is on-track driving experience, of course, guided by expert, experienced instructors, but it goes further than that. Students in the Junior Racing League are also given theoretical experience through classroom sessions, as well as hands-on experience with the technology and engineering that goes into turning a mouldering scrap heap of a car into a fit, fighting stock racing car. It’s not just about the mechanics and the driving skills, either. The League focuses on the “complete racer”, where students are also given skills that will serve them well in all aspects of their lives. This includes lessons on maintaining focus, clear communication, conflict management, stress management, and being able to recognize and learn from mistakes. The cars used in the Junior Racing League are custom designed late model racing cars built at a half-scale to standard late model racers. Part of the customized design involves outfitting them with properly sized safety equipment, of the same type used in regular late model racing vehicles: full steel roll-cages, five-point safety harnesses, window nets, padding, and a rear firewall. Part of it involves a customized engine that puts out nine horsepower; the cars can go to a maximum of around 100 kilometres per hour, although for educational purposes the instructors typically keep the pace at around 40-50 kilometres per hour. The Junior Racing League costs a bit of money to get into, with car purchases and the cost of outfitting being the biggest expenses, but Delaware Speedway notes that the cost of getting into Junior Racing is often less than the cost of getting into minor hockey.

What if you’re over the age of 18 and want the experience of car racing without any of the outlay costs to buy and equip a racing vehicle? Delaware Speedway also partners with Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, which gives the average person the chance to drive a race car in a controlled environment for far less than the cost of building your own car from the ground up. You don’t get the visceral thrill of winning a race with a vehicle you patched together with your own two hands, of course, but you do get the thrill of driving one of these sleek speed machines for a period of time.

Delaware Speedway is the home of stock car racing for the London, Ontario region, and on any given week during the racing season, you can find an exciting, thrill-a-minute event to satiate your need for speed. Whether you’re looking for those high-end late model racers, you want to watch some streetcars rumble for the prize, or you’re young and looking to learn the ins and outs of racing, Delaware Speedway has got exactly what you’re looking for.

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