Blog

Fanshawe Golf Course

Affordable quality golf, right in the city

  There is nothing that feels quite as invigorating yet at the same time as relaxing as a really good game of golf. You know you are on a good course when you are surrounded by perfectly maintained beauty with nothing but lush and manicured greens, tall trees that reach for the blue skies, stunning spots of sand, and beautifully incorporated water pieces. With a background like that, it’s hard to feel any kind of stress or anxiety. And if you’re on your game and you’re hitting those power drives and watching that little white ball fly through the sunny skies only to drop right on the green, how can you feel anything but exhilarated?
Fanshawe Golf Course is a wonderful course here in London located in the Cedar Hollow Park neighbourhood. You get quality golfing without the expensive membership fees, as it’s a pay and play type of course. Affordable golf with well-maintained courses is what you’re going to get at Fanshawe Golf course.
You don’t even have to leave the city to be able to enjoy quality golfing with your choice of two very different courses. The Fanshawe Golf Course is perfect for those weekends that creep up
on you and you realize that you actually don’t have any obligations or plans and your to-do list is actually quite manageable so the prospect of actually fitting a nice luxurious round of golf in your day is looking bright. You can simply take a quick drive over and enjoy an afternoon in the sun working on your short game.
Because Fanshawe Golf Course is close by and can be a quick play, it’s perfect for those who do not have a lot of time on their hands too and want to work on their game so that next time you go out on the course with your buddies, you’ll finally have a chance to beat Pete, who seems to always manage to find time to be out, working on his golf game and usually puts you all to shame.

The Courses

Fanshawe’s Golf Course has different courses designed for different skill levels and types of play so anyone can experience quality golfing, no matter your skill level. And the best part is that this golf is affordable golf!

 

Parkside 9

Fanshawe Golf Course is actually quite proud to be an inclusive golf course. The Parkside 9 was the first ever 9 hole golf course that was created to be wheelchair accessible in all of North America. As a par 28 with 900 yards, it’s a course that is great for beginners and golfers of any age and ability to enjoy. If you’re more than a beginner when it comes to golf but want a place where you can quickly and efficiently work on your chipping, wedge, and putting game, then you might want to try out the Parkside 9 course!

 

The Quarry

This course is known to be more of a laid back course, and is a great course for beginner golfers. It’s an 18-hole course with a links design. It has three different tee-spots for different skill levels. It has a slope rating of 117 and a 69.4 USGA rating. The Quarry is a very open course, so on a windy day, it takes a higher skill level to navigate this course. It’s made up of ten par 4’s, three par 5’s, and five par 3’s

 

The Traditional

This is usually the preferred course of the two main courses and is a more difficult course to play. It is an 18-hole course with tree-lined fairways and is made up of four par 5’s, eight par 4’s, and six par 3’s. It’s known for having more tricky par 3s to try and navigate. It has a slope rating of 116 and a 68.1 USGA rating. It also has three different tee-spots that people can use, depending on their skill level. You’ll have a beautiful view of Fanshawe lake from the first and second holes on this course.

The History

This course was built in 1958 because the Thames Valley Golf Course was the only public golf course in the city and it was too busy and was being overplayed. So the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and the London Public Utilities Commission took some farmland and converted it into a golf course. At this time is when they built the Traditional course. Interestingly, most of the Traditional course is still intact from that original construction in 1958. There were some shifts and changes to only a couple of the holes when the Quarry course was added on. 1991 is when four golf employees Mike Olizarevitch, Al Stoyles, Fred Kern and John Cowie were asked to add new land into the course design. They wanted to preserve as much as they could of the Traditional, which is how they came up with the idea to add the Quarry as a second course.

Reviews

Fanshawe golf course gets great reviews on golfing websites and apps. In fact, 97.1% would recommend the Traditional course to other golfers, base on golf advisor. People say that it has a great variety of hole layouts and that its courses are in great condition.
One golfer said that the Traditional course was a “personal favourite of all the city courses, open on some holes to let the driver go, challenging on others to force smart play.”
Another golfer said that the Traditional was a “Very good all around course, marks off all the boxes needed for enjoyment”.

Events

Golf is a great way to hose fun tournaments for workplaces, family reunions, churches, or as a way to raise money. Fanshawe Golf Course can handle events from 30 people to 300 people. The staff are helpful and informative and can provide the planner and the players with a wonderful tournament experience.
Whether you want a shotgun start or staggered starting times, they can help. If you want to have a dinner afterwards and want to have prizes for things like longest drive, or best foursome score, or best player, they can certainly help with that as they are very well equipped in both of those functions. They also have lunch options available like hamburgers and hot dogs or packed sandwiches.
Your tournament will include : • Closest to the pin / long drive markers • 20% off any prizes purchased from the pro shop • Scoring sheets • Your golfer’s names on personalized golf cart signs

Things to Know

  • There is a dress code for this course, but it’s not as strict as at private courses.
  • They have a clubhouse where you can buy drinks and some food items. There is also a vending area on the course where you can also buy drinks because we all usually want a beer while we’re golfing halfway through the course.
  •  You’ll probably see at least one gopher while you’re playing.
  •  The course is well maintained in the fall as well, so don’t restrict yourself to only visiting in the summer.
  • Golfers must get off the course at first sign of thunder or lightning. Rain checks will be provided if you get stormed out of the course.
  • According to Google, peak times on weekends are from 12-5 and people spend between 1-3.5 hours at Fanshawe Golf Course
  •  You can rent clubs there
  • As long as you’re 18+ and have a valid driver’s license, you can rent a cart
  If you’re a golfer or even just enjoy the sport on occasion, then you can rejoice. London has you covered with affordable golf and a quality golfing experience right here in our very own city. You get a choice of three different courses (one that is fully accessible) for various skill levels, a nice variety of hole layouts, stunning views of Fanshawe Lake, tree-lined fairways, and a variety of tricky par 3s to try and navigate.
The best part about Fanshawe Golf Course is that you do not even have to leave the city to enjoy all of these amazing features. You can fit in a round of golf whenever you found yourself with some time to spare. Whether the sun is shining or it’s overcast, you can be sure to find the experience to be enjoyable.

 

London Music
Hall

The Music Hub Of London

The London Music Hall is located in Downtown London and is one of the go-to venues for music lovers in London. It’s always packed full of amazing concerts from every music genre you could think of, so it’s a great idea to keep an eye on what is going down in the London Music Hall so that you don’t miss a thing. There have been some really big names that have performed at the music hall such as Snoop Dogg, Skrillex, August Burns Red, Calvin Harris, The Trews, and Killswitch Engage to name a few. It is also a great place that holds concerts for lesser-known groups. This is amazing for fans because you get a much more intimate experience listening to one of your favorite groups at a venue like this.
The London Music Hall has been a beloved part of the music scene and the downtown culture in London for so many years and recently went through a facelift that took it from a small event location to a medium-sized venue. People who frequent the London Music Hall concerts and events love it.
One of the things to note about the London Music Hall is that you’re not going to be able to access the main area from the front of building on Dundas street. Instead, you’re going to need to enter the venue from the Queen Street parking lot, which isn’t a big deal but it’s good to note when you go to a concert so that you’re not wandering around looking for the entrance. Security and staff that work at the London Music Hall are always very friendly and nice to interact within, so you’re sure to enjoy your time when you go!

The Rooms

Rum Runners

This part of the venue holds 350 people. It has a green room that includes a private bath and shower. It also has access to the sky view patio, which is absolutely beautiful on summer nights. It has two bar locations and five washroom locations.
When you see a concert here, the feeling is close and intimate. It’s a really great venue for music lovers and for when you’re really into the band and want to experience their music up close and personal. It is a great small size venue.
If you’re looking to rent out Rum Runners for an event, the venue is not too big where it will feel overwhelming to try and decorate and figure out logistics, but it still has all of the amenities and features that are great for your guests.
On Fridays, Rum Runners turns into more of a bar/club scene and plays rock music. On Saturday’s, if you’re into electronic music, you’re going to want to head to Rum Runners to hang out, drink, and dance there.

London Music Hall Main Room

The main room of the London Music Hall can hold 1,600 people. It has two different green rooms for the performers with a private bathroom and two showers. It has a three side mezzanine that looks out over the stage. There are five bars in total for you to acquire your beverages. There are even two bus parking spots with power for the traveling and touring bands. There are four large bathrooms in this area and of course, it also has access to the sky view patio.
Concerts here are pumping. They give you the vibe of a large venue without needing to squint to see the performance on stage. You’re still close enough to feel like you’re a part of the action, but the event space is big enough that you feel like you’re at a big concert.
My old workplace used to host our Christmas parties here, and let me tell you that it is an amazing space for big events. There is so much height and space to transform the hall into whatever you want to make it.

The Expansion

In 2013 the London Music Hall had a facelift that left it looking like a brand new building inside. They added a large new stage that can host bigger sets for bands and performers. They also added a second-floor mezzanine that surrounds the main floor so that you can watch from above if you want to get out of the crowd. They added three private boxes for those who get to be in the lap of luxury with the VIP treatment. And they also added more bars and exits. But the best part for the bands that come to play is the added greenroom.
The greenroom is a separated space for the band to relax and unwind in. At one concert that I went to in London Music Hall the lead singer actually mentioned the green room saying that it was a pretty swanky addition from the last time he played at London Music Hall, so you know when the lead singer feels so passionately about it enough to mention it on stage that it must be really nice.

Food and Beverage

There is an A&W attached to the London Music Hall and they have a window that opens into the venue so that while you’re enjoying your music or event and you get a little peckish you can order a delicious burger or fries, or get one of their heavenly ice-less root beers and when you’re full of adrenaline and excitement from watching an amazing band tear it up on stage, the fast food hit the spot perfectly.
The music hall has multiple bars open during events so that you won’t have too long of a line up to wait through to get your drinks. The prices are more on the higher side, as is expected at a venue like that, but on Saturdays, Rum Runner has cheaper drinks.
There are also a lot of really great restaurants close by since the London Music Hall is located downtown. So if you have a later show the best thing you can do is grab a bite to eat somewhere downtown and just walk over to the venue.

Events

Block Party After-Party

Block party is one of London’s best events of the whole year. It’s one giant party that starts in Harris park with amazing performances by the biggest and hottest names for performers. The music is pumping and the vibes are great and when it’s all over but you want the party to continue, the London Music Hall is the official after-party location so that the good vibes and fun don’t have to end.

Roch’n’Con

The ultimate rock and roll experience, you’ll be surrounded by other lovers of rock as you make your way through all of the rock and roll presentations and attractions. There are vintage guitars, rare vinyls, cool collectibles, and amazing merch for sale at this event. And there are of course concerts and special rock gods to get up close to. For any rock fan, it is the event to attend in London.

Forest City Metal Fest

Metal music lovers unite — this all-ages event is for every metal fan in London. It has great names in the metal world and brings them all to you in one venue.

Concerts

There are so many amazing concerts and performances here. Make sure you keep an eye out for what’s upcoming so that you don’t miss something that you love.
The London Music Hall really is a shining gem in the downtown core of London Ontario. It’s the place to be for music lovers and it is bringing a culture to the Dundas and Richmond area that is promoting a love of music and entertainment. It’s surrounded by great eats and fun things to do, so if you have an event that you’re attending there try and make a whole day of it! It’s also an amazing choice if you’re looking for a venue to suit all of your needs. Check them out!

Rock The Park
2018

London Ontario’s largest live music festival

It’s summertime in downtown London and you know what that means – Festival Season! The city hosts a wide array of themed events over several months, but perhaps none are a bigger draw than Rock the Park. The annual 4-day concert held during the last week of July offers something for everyone, no matter what their jam might be. So pick your night. Dig into the back of your closet and find that old Supertramp t-shirt or even a neon fanny-pack to pull together the perfect look for your bill of choice. Get your friends together, grab a few water bottles, and get to the park. This thing is going to rock.

History

Formerly known as ‘Hawk Rocks the Park’ from 2004 to 2008, London Ontario’s Rock the Park festival began as a celebration of classic rock, shaking the downtown area and enthralling live music lovers with a new bill of musical acts each summer. Fifteen years ago, with an eye on London’s Harris Park – a venue with enough space to support a large number of projected attendees, staff, sponsors, and vendors – The Jones Entertainment Group set about realizing their vision for a multi-day rock’n’roll spectacle that would put the city on the festival map. Today the event draws legions of live music fanatics from across Ontario and even the United States every summer, dramatically boosting the city’s tourism revenue. It’s safe to say that The Jones Entertainment Group succeeded in their mission. In recent years, Rock the Park has diversified from its original focus on classic rock, to help earn broader appeal from festival goers. In 2014, the festival dedicated one of its nights to country music performances for the first time in its history. Following the success of this shift in audience focus, the Jones Entertainment Group saw the value in splitting up the festival thematically, dedicating each night to a distinct musical genre or trend. In 2017, Rock the Park promoted a 90’s hip-hop night, announcing acts such as Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty by Nature, and Young MC among others, selling out in record time. This year, organizers have put together a bill that riffs on lasts years familiar themes, featuring the likes of Platinum Blonde, A Flock of Seagulls, Men Without Hats, and Cyndi Lauper, attracting similar numbers. At Rock the Park, nostalgia is always on tap!

A Legacy of Sponsors Rocking Out for Worthy Causes

At its inception, the event was the annual summer blast, presented by its lone sponsor, 103.9 The Hawk, and was the primary fundraiser for Bethany’s Hope Foundation, raising over 2.2 million in the fight against MLD (Metachromatic leukodystrophy) in its first 12 years. Eventually, the charity had plans to embark upon a more nation-wide awareness strategy (made possible in no small part by the funding generated by Rock the Park), and respectfully stepped aside as prime beneficiary in order to make room for other charities to benefit just as they had. In 2016, the event returned, with three new radio station sponsors sharing the bill – 98.1 Free FM, FM96, and the country station BX93. The number of charities benefited by Rock the Park has grown likewise and has included Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area, Make a Wish Southwestern Ontario, The Brandon Prust Foundation, and the ‘Children’s Health Foundation, also acting as sponsor to Western Mustangs Football, raising over $3 million for London area charities. Today, the festival is supported by their main sponsor, Start.ca, along with iHeart Radio, FM96, and 97.5 Virgin Radio, Palm Bay, Tourism London, Coors Light, Pizza Pizza, London Honda, The Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the London Free Press.

Headliners

An impressive list of indie, rock, hard rock, country, pop, and R&B acts have graced the Rock the Park stage since the festival’s inception, including Steppenwolf, ZZ TOP, Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Steve Winwood, The Tragically Hip, The Arkells, Stone Temple Pilots, and younger, up-and-coming acts like July Talk to name just a few. See the official Rock the Park entry on Wikipedia for a complete list of all headliners throughout the event’s 15-year history. Tens of thousands of rock’n’roll fans attend Rock the Park each and every year. Like most festivals of its size, it has overcome its setbacks. In 2007, one of the headlining bands was meant to be Boston – the band canceled all their tour stops after the untimely death of Brad Delp – but with Pat Benatar, Deep Purple, Nazareth, Cheap Trick, George Thorogood and Creedence, the event was hardly left lacking for a big name draw. Rock the Park’s promoters have done a great job over the years, not only in signing and promoting great acts for the festival but have also carefully considered the needs of their different audience members, offering flexibility and amenities to ensure that a safe and comfortable experience is had by all, no matter the size of your budget.

Different Ways to Enjoy the Show

The different types of passes available will determine how you can enjoy the show: Gates open at 4 pm each day of Rock the Park, with live performances scheduled to begin at 5 pm. General admission passes are specific to the general admission area, with access to two large beer gardens and an expansive, standing area right up against the stage. The VIP Reserved Table Passes are a nice touch for people who like to be entertained in style. These passes guarantee you a seat in a special, reserved- seating table area, also close to the stage. The VIP area is equipped with its own washroom facilities, a separate entrance to help avoid the crowds, and food and bar service at designated stations. VIP pass holders are also welcome to stand for their favorite acts (if they prefer) at a VIP standing area. The VIP Standing Room Only Pass gets you into the VIP standing area but does not reserve you a chair among the tabled seating. For those seeking the royal treatment for themselves and their party, concert organizers have ‘suites’ available. These elevated and covered areas look like miniature outdoor stages themselves and provide up to 40 attendees with private bar service and washrooms for the duration of the show. Any interested parties are asked to contact Jones Entertainment Group for pricing. A raised, designated seating area is always available for attendees with physical disabilities and their companions on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Rock’n’Roll (with Rules)

Due to the size of the park and the need for organizers to keep spaces open for large, moving crowds, there is no camping allowed at the park. Lawn chairs are likewise prohibited. Other similar regulations apply to what festival-goers may bring:
  • No umbrellas longer than 24 inches
  • No lawn chairs
  • No blankets
  • No selfie-sticks
  • No pets
  • No professional cameras / cameras with removable lenses
  • Outside food or beverages will not be allowed into the park
  • Bags, backpacks, and coolers will be confiscated by staff
  • Attendees may not leave and re-enter the park
The event website also says that sound and video recording devices are strictly prohibited, but presumably, smartphones are OK so be sure to capture lots of great moments with you and your friends – share them on social media, tag #rockthepark, and show everyone how you like to rock out!

Area Conveniences

London’s downtown area is home to multiple attended parking lots that offer overnight pricing if you plan to stay with friends. If you and your party would prefer to have your own base of operations for the duration of the festival, downtown London features numerous hotel and Airbnb options that are guaranteed to suit your needs – all within walking distance of Harris Park. Grab a last-minute bite to eat at any number of London’s downtown eateries, pubs, and bistros, only steps from Harris Park. Check out the Covent Garden Market for snacks and fresh produce. And if you’re still not satisfied after the show, hit up FitzRays or the Richmond Tavern for more late-night rock’n’roll. Visit the London Tourism website for Rock the Park to see a great list of nearby options. Richmond Row, Downtown London, Ontario

Tickets and Lineups

Tickets for the event have been on sale since March 3rd. The cost of passes ranges in price depending on which nights audience members wish to attend / how much of the four-day festival they wish to see. Different tickets are good for different days, so pay attention when you’re purchasing, or you could well end up seeing a very different lineup than the one you were anticipating!

Two Day Rock Pass (July 11th  and 14th) – $120

Wednesday – Shinedown, Chevelle, Machine Gun Kelly, The Lazys, Bobnoxious Saturday – Rise Against, Three Days Grace, Theory (formerly Theory of a Dead Man), Pop Evil, Texas King

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday – FM 96 Presents

General Admission Pass – $70 *including HST and service charges VIP Pass (reserved tables – SOLD OUT) – $125 *including HST and service charges VIP Pass (standing room only) – $125 *including HST and service charges

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday – Mixtape Rewind

General Admission Pass – $70 *including HST and service charges VIP Pass (reserved tables – SOLD OUT) – $125 *including HST and service charges VIP Pass (standing room only) – $125 *including HST and service charges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday – Bring Back the 90s

General Admission Pass – $70 *including HST and service charges VIP Pass (reserved tables – SOLD OUT) – $125 *including HST and service charges Saturday VIP Pass (standing room only – SOLD OUT) – $125 *including HST and service charges

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday – FM 96 Presents

General Admission Pass – $70 *including HST and service charges VIP Pass (reserved tables – SOLD OUT) – $125 *including HST and service charges Saturday VIP Pass (standing room only – SOLD OUT) – $125 *including HST and service charges   Attendees have two ways that they can pick up wristbands, regardless of which nights they wish to attend. If still available, they can be bought at the Harris Park gates on the evening of the show but buying them in advance is strongly recommended. The box office at Centennial Hall is the only point of sale and credit card holders must be present at the time of purchase. We have a large box office/will call tent at the main entrance where passes can be picked up. Check with Centennial Hall for their box office hours and note that the box office is always open late during evening performances. Unfortunately, the box office is not able to mail out wristbands or replace lost or stolen wristbands.

Last-Minute Checklist

While there are a lot of things that you cannot bring into the park, there are definitely a few key items that you should in order to ensure that you have a safe and happy experience attending the best music fest in the west.

Water

And more water. The event is scheduled to run rain or shine, and while we all hope for clear skies, this can also mean hot sun and dehydration – especially if you’re planning to consume alcohol. Be prepared to have your bottles inspected upon entry into the park. Like many other outdoor concerts, security may only permit you to bring in unopened bottles of water.

Sunscreen

Of course, dehydration isn’t the only risk the sun poses. Keep you and your friends safe with a high-SPF sunscreen and bring it with you so that you can reapply.

Sunglasses & a Hat

Why not spend the show NOT squinting at the stage – and look cool at the same time. Shades and hats are music festival staples, people! Don’t forget them.

Rain Poncho in a Pouch

Rain or shine, the show must go on! Stay dry to maximize your comfort and help guarantee an enjoyable experience.

Hand Sanitizer

Don’t trust dispensers on premises to NOT run out, and don’t expect everything you need to touch to be clean. Rock’n’roll can be a dirty business. Stay healthy.

Bandana

Another great reason to bring water is to soak a regular old bandana and wrap it around your neck for a great way to beat the heat. It’s an old lifehack, but one that really works. Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.

Portable Charge Pack

Losing touch with your friends at a music festival because of a dead phone is never advisable. Bring a portable charge pack and take all the photos you want.

Toilet Paper / Tissue

Again, don’t expect necessities like these to NOT run out. When nature calls, you want to be ready. London Ontario’s Rock the Park just keeps getting better, bigger, and badder. If you’re a local live music lover, you know where you want to be during the last weekend in July. If you’re an out-of-towner, start making your plans now. Sure, Toronto’s got some big festivals that bill big names every summer, but attendees must contend with traffic, enormous crowds, precious little parking, and over the top prices for food and drink. Why not take a short trip down the 401? Order your wristbands today. Book a nice place to stay, sleep, and relax between the four days of Rock the Park and check out everything else that’s happening in downtown London, Ontario. Work on your air guitar moves, sport that old band t-shirt, and remember to bring the right necessities to ensure that you have a great time, no matter the weather, at Western Ontario’s premier music festival. See you at the park.

The First Steps to Making Your House a Home

Buying a new home is exciting, but it is only the first step on a long and wonderful journey of home ownership. Once the ink is dry and the keys are officially in your hand, the work has just begun. Now it is time to turn that foreign building into a place you love by making your new house a home. Whether you have purchased a new build, an older residence, or condominium, you will want to make changes to the property that will reflect your style and taste. This can include painting, remodelling, buying new furniture, and setting up your existing belongings just right so the room feels good when you are in it.  No matter how big or small they are, one of the first things you should do is make changes to turn your newly bought house into a welcoming, warm sanctuary that you want to live in. Your home should be a place that represents you. It should be a home that you want to go to and spend time in; a space that reflects what you like and value. Creating that feeling takes some work. Just moving furniture into the home is not enough to make your house feel like a home. Adding your own personalized touch to the interior and exterior will help turn your new place into your own private paradise. From the smallest to the largest details, every area should loudly and proudly scream you. There are many ways to make your house look like a home, no matter what your budget is. Whether you plan to buy all new furnishings or work with what you have, these simple tips will help you transform your new residence into your own personal haven.

Personalize Every Room

A modern interior design (bedroom).   First and foremost, it is important to personalize each room to reflect who you are so you feel good spending time in every section of your new place. Whether it is the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, bedroom, or living room, spend some time in each area designing it the way you want it to look. Take your time to choose paint colours, furnishing, rugs, and other flooring, appliances, and other accessories that will showcase you and meet your needs. Plan your layout and set up so that the room feels comfortable and functional.

 

 

Wall Colours

  One of the first things people do when they move into a new place is to change the wall colours. Painting is one of the easiest and most economical ways to completely transform a room. If the room’s colour scheme does not match your furnishings or décor plans, change it. By adding the hues that you choose to the space, you will quickly change the tone of the room to reflect you.

 

 

Furnishings

Whether you are buying new furniture or bringing in existing furnishings, it is important to take time to set up your possessions so you like how the room is arranged. To make your new house a home, the furniture should be what you want and like, not what someone else has chosen. The setting should be arranged to fit the space so you can move easily and freely. If you have furnishings given to you by others, slipcovers and throw pillows are a useless and inexpensive way to change the look of the sofa or chair so it better represents your likes and wants.      

 

Storage Space

Moving is a messy job that takes time to unpack, arrange everything and settle in. But once the boxes are emptied and your belongings are in their proper place, now it’s time to assess the storage space. When unpacking, it usually doesn’t take long to figure out if your home does not have enough adequate closet room to stow your stuff. Nothing will make your house feel more uncomfortable and less homey than walking into a cluttered, messy place. To reduce the piles, go through your place to see where and how you can add extra storage room. This can include building extra closet space or installing additional shelves and cabinets. If neither of these options is doable, there are different types and styles of furnishings and accessories you can purchase to tuck your belongings attractively out of sight.

 

Pictures and Wall Art

Bare walls can look very cold and impersonal. Adding artwork to the empty surface can brighten up a room while filling a void. If you do not have a favourite art piece to hang on your barren wall scape, there are plenty of ways you can create your own personal wall displays. Frame your top travel and event photos along with family and friend images, to create a collage made of beautiful memories and loved ones in your room or hall. Hanging framed calendar pictures or images taken from an old book or magazine will also add to the personal beauty of your place.

 

 

Area Rugs and Mats

  Cold, hard, and impersonal floors can be given a warm upgrade by adding an area rug and doormats to the room. Applying mats will easily make your house feel like a home because the vibrant colours and patterns bring all the décor together while covering an empty, blank space. The right area rug will turn any room into a comfy, warm, and welcoming place.

 

 

Fixtures

Some structures cannot be easily replaced or removed such as cabinets, doors, and some appliances. If you cannot paint or change the permanent features to better reflect your décor wants, you can still change the look of the surface by replacing the fixtures around or on the room. Changing doorknobs, taps, light switch casings, and other fixtures is an affordable and easy way to remove someone else’s impersonal choice and add your own. These simple adjustments are easy to complete but can have a huge impact on making your first house feel like your home.

 

 

Landscaping

While the exterior of your new home is not as important as the interior when making your house look like a home, it still needs your attention. Your yard shows the world what type of person you are and is the first sight you will see when you approach your property every day. The exterior should feel just as welcome, inviting, and comfortable as the inside. You can easily turn your yard into your own personal space by adding flowers, shrubs, foliage, flowering pots, ornamental garden accessories, lighting, and outdoor furniture. By personalizing your front and backyard, you can create an outdoor area the makes your new house feel just as much like your home as the interior décor does.   Buying a new house is one of the biggest and most exciting ventures you will take. But purchasing the property is just the beginning. Once you have bought the house, it is time to turn your new abode into your very own home; a place that you want to and enjoy spending time in. Inside and outside, your new house is your private sanctuary. It is a place that should feel like it belongs to you. To make your new house feel like a home, it is important to spend time in each part, designing the rooms and spaces to reflect your style, taste, and personality.  Whether you are on a limited budget or have lots of free money to completely transform the residence, you want to put your personal stamp on the interior and exterior layout to create a joyful, homey atmosphere that is all you.

Os &
Oakes

ABOUT  

Meet Erika Oakes – Mom, entrepreneur, and the co-owner and co-founder of the children’s apparel brand, OS & OAKES. She started this business 2 years ago with her brother Michael Lipari after finding inspiration from working in the Entrepreneurial Services at Fanshawe College. Erica Oakes founder of Os & Oakes Os and Oakes is a children’s clothing company that takes a simplistic approach to their design. They are Canadian made with organic bamboo cotton which is an incredibly forgiving material. Their pieces are extremely fashionable, but they understand that kids are still going to be kids. Because the fabric is so soft and comfortable, your kids wont want to take it off! Many of their products are neutral coloured, unisex styles so that you can pass them down. Os & Oakes Childrens Clothing

 

Contact Os & Oakes

https://www.osandoakes.com/

Email: info@osandoakes.com

          

 

The Best Hair Salons and Barber Shops in London

In London, and across the world in all honesty, going to a hair salon or barbershop to get a cut has always been a somewhat dreaded experience. If you have bad luck and get a bad cut, you basically have two options: shave it all off or wait weeks, if not months, for your hair to grow back out and look normal. Since the former is an incredibly bold statement most people aren’t willing to make and the latter is awkward as can be, the best solution is to get a good haircut in the first place. Finding the perfect hair stylist can be like looking for love. It takes time and effort to search for “the one.” You might get a bad cut or two on the way, and that might make you want to give up, but you persist on your search. Finally, you find him or her, and it’s a match made in heaven. At any of the salons and barbershops on this list, you’re in great hands. The scissors, clippers, and razors are handled with precision and care, guided by the stylist’s expert eye. In their care, you’ll have no problems getting the perfect new style to stun family, friends, and the folks at work.

Vanity House

Neighbourhood: Downtown London 124 Dundas St. (map) https://www.vanityhouse.ca/

Facebook icon transparentinstagram icon transparent

We might be biased on this one since Vanity House is the place that Santa himself, Matt Santagapita, gets his hair cut and styled. That’s right, a select few people have been afforded the opportunity to work on Santa’s majestic mane, and owner/stylist Aran Beattie has been Matt’s go-to stylist for over half a decade, since the salon opened their doors. Vanity house, found on Dundas in the heart of downtown, offers one of the most luxurious hairstyling experiences out there. Upon your arrival, you will be offered either French pressed coffee or freshly brewed tea – on the house, of course. Every appointment includes a consultation with a stylist and a fresh wash, regardless of the service you’ve chosen to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. The boho-chic aesthetic of exposed brick, full length mirrors with ornate frames, and chandeliers dotting the ceiling give the salon a high class feel while still being warm and comforting. The time and effort going into the look and feel of the salon is an indicator of how much effort will go into your new hairstyle. The handful of stylists at Vanity House are experts at their craft, offering a wide range of innovative and exciting styles for everyday life or special events. Whether you’re looking for a simple trim, an extravagant updo, or a crazy new colour, these guys will make your vision a reality and make it look fantastic. The service and skill of the stylists at Vanity House is unparalleled, such that customers are driving in from as far as the GTA for appointments with Aran and his team. For your next haircut, why not go ahead and treat yourself to the Vanity House experience?

Whistling Dick’s

Neighbourhood: Old East Village 760 Dundas St. (map) https://www.whistlingdicks.com/

Facebook icon transparentinstagram icon transparent

For a haircut that feels like a blast to the past, Whistling Dick’s is the place to go. Whistling Dick’s emulates the style and feel of a 1930’s barbershop, from the tunes on the stereo to the straight razors they use to shave their customers. Whistling Dick’s harkens back to the good old days, where the barbershop was an institution, a safe haven. When you cross the threshold into their Old East Village shop, the feel of the place beckons you to leave your everyday stress at the door and relax as you’re pampered with high quality service and products. The vibe in Whistling Dick’s is rustic and as masculine as can be. Stained wood, brick, and leather comprise most of the surfaces in the place, with vintage tools and other flair adorning the walls, all because the owners, John Parlow and Gregory Kahnert, believe a haircut should be more than just an errand, it should be an experience. No fancy ombres, highlights, or hair dyes of any kind will be found in this establishment. All these guys do is cut, trim, and shave. They don’t offer a whole lot of variety, but they are masters of their trade. Scott Wilkins and Jose Interiano are both educated and experienced barbers with seemingly more years of experience than there are hairs on a head. Being primarily a men’s barber, Whistling Dick’s focuses on shorter hairstyles. So fair warning to those with luscious, flowing locks: you might not get the hairdo they desire unless you’re looking for something drastically shorter. The feel and experience of Whistling Dick’s is more than enough reason to go, but the fact that you can get a great new hair style in the process just makes the prospect worth its weight in gold.

Salon Entrenous

Neighbourhood: Downtown London 579 Richmond St. (map) http://www.salonentrenous.com/

Facebook icon transparentinstagram icon transparenttwitter icon transparent

Found in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Richmond Row, Salon Entrenous has been cutting London’s hair for over a quarter century. The award winning team is committed to making sure you leave happy and looking fantastic with your new style. The vibe is clean and stylishly minimal, offering a welcoming open space that is devoid of clutter and mess, even at their workstations with all the tools of the trade. The staff always aim to ensure their customers are as relaxed as they can be and enjoying their time in the salon. Salon Entrenous is committed to making sure you get the style you want, including a thorough consultation with all services, alongside a scalp massage, and a blow dry. And they have a multitude of services from classic cuts to colouring to texture treatments for relaxing and smoothing your hair or adding permanent waves. In the salon, they also offer an extensive variety of shampoos, conditioners, and styling products for you to grab on your way out to keep your new do looking pristine days, even weeks, after your appointment. All of their products are professional grade with endorsement from the Salon Entrenous stylists, so you know you’re getting the good stuff. Ask your stylist which product will work best with your hair type, they’re highly informed and can give excellent recommendations for your needs. The award winning stylists at Salon Entrenous make it a prime choice for your next haircut.

Love Alchemy Lifestyle Boutique & Organic Hair Studio

Neighbourhood: Old East Village 764 Dundas St. (map) http://lovealchemy.ca/

Facebook icon transparentinstagram icon transparent

Love Alchemy’s organic and holistic approach to hairstyling and beauty is a welcome addition to London’s Old East Village. Opening their doors in February of 2017, Love Alchemy offers haircuts, styling, colouring, and holistic therapies like reiki, blue matrix, and massage therapy. Long or short, curly or straight, natural or dyed, Love Alchemy is a great spot for your trim, cut, or style if you’re strongly eco-conscious. Every single product in their salon is socially sustainable and ethically sourced, making it the perfect spot to stay stylish while reducing your carbon footprint. Love Alchemy’s number one goal is to keep the Earth as beautiful as they make you. With the help of their partners at Green Circle Salons, they recycle every bi-product they possibly can, such as empty colour tubes, foils, and leftover hair colour. This prevents the plastics and other non-biodegradables from entering landfills. Even your clipped hair gets put to good use, with their partner Matter of Trust, they use clippings to make hair booms for cleaning up oil spills. Their dyeing services are extensive, from full colour to balayage to root touch ups, all without harmful chemicals, toxins, or carcinogens. Whatever you need, these ladies will be able to provide. And if you’re looking for some ethical fashion to match your new hairdo, Love Alchemy has a selection of clothing, accessories, and home décor that proudly features local, national, and international brands that are all sustainable and ethical. For eco-friendly, guilt-free hair, Love Alchemy is definitely the place to check out.  

Nova Vita Hair Studio and Esthetics

Neighbourhood: Downtown 740 Richmond St. (map) https://novavita.ca/

Facebook icon transparentinstagram icon transparenttwitter icon transparent

“Nova vita” translates to “new life” and the stylists at Nova Vita Hair Studio and Esthetics will do just that. You will feel like a new person after the pampering and styling that you receive at Nova Vita. Whether you’re looking for a basic trim, a designer cut, or even a perm, the stylists at Nova Vita will be able to give you a hand. Hair of all lengths and textures are welcome and will get the attention they need. Their skilled hair stylists will have you looking ready for a photoshoot, or at least to take on the day with newfound confidence from your new hairdo. Customers are always ecstatic when they leave Nova Vita, excited to flaunt their new style. This Richmond Row salon offers more than just hair styling though. They offer a variety of other services, including massages, airbrush tanning, waxing, and makeup application. Despite having so many options under one roof, their attention to detail is incredible, and the end results of every service is always top tier. Regardless of what you’re there for, at Nova Vita, the best is the only option, and anything else is unacceptable. From the products to their expert stylists, there is no second rate. Premium service, premium products.

West Haven Golf and Country Club

When it comes to golf, there are few places that can compare to the sheer amount of courses on offer than the London region. Searching for golf in London can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed – there are in truth too many options on display to be able to easily sort through them all. The locals all have their own favourites, as do those who grew up here and have since moved away. When my brother came down to visit he brought his clubs, stating that there were a few courses that he’d always wanted the chance to play but hadn’t ever gotten to. Among these courses were the ones that all the locals eventually get around to mentioning on their stories of golf carts and conquests: places like Echo Valley, Sunningdale, and West Haven. We decided to give West Haven a shot since the course always came up in the conversations we would have growing up with our father, grandfather, and uncle; our grandfather, especially, was a regular at both Echo Valley and Nilestown but had played West Haven as a guest with a member before and had nothing but good things to say. You have to be a member to play, of course (or, crucially, the guest of a member) but we luckily happened to know a member and decided to find out if we could twist his rubber arm and get a round of eighteen holes accomplished. Asking him if he wants to play a round of golf in the summer, as it turns out, is like asking him if he wants to breathe. West Haven Golf Course is located on the north-western side of London, on the edge of the neighbourhood of Hyde Park, between Hyde Park and the little village of Melrose. Hyde Park was, when my brother and I were young, a little village on the outskirts of London, a collection of a few houses and some rustic retail shops surrounded by the endless expanses of farmer’s fields that characterized life outside of the city in those days. Now, it’s a vibrant, growing part of the city of London itself, a neighbourhood of gorgeous new housing subdivisions and sprawling big-box retail complexes and all the restaurants, both chain and independent, that you could ever ask from one neighbourhood. On the western edge of the neighbourhood lies West Haven, on a rambling, stunningly beautiful expanse of greenery that is maintained to exacting professional standards. Entrance of west haven golf course in London Ontario

The Facilities

The first impression one gets of West Haven as they drive up, park, and head into the club house is that West Haven is a well-built, well-maintained, classical type of course, where the staff and facilities are equally at home in hosting formal events as they are in hosting lineups of casual and executive golfers. Walking into the clubhouse has a strange feeling, akin to walking into a church. This isn’t necessarily because West Haven is some sacred golf destination like St. Andrews, of course; it has more to do with the fact that the Great Room of the West Haven club house features a gigantic vaulted ceiling, much like the main part of a cathedral and that the feeling that both evoke is that you are a small part of the greater whole that is the experience, be it religion or golfing. It’s an airy feeling and it gives the whole club house a feeling of class and sophistication over and above many other courses. Everything in that vaulted Great Room focuses on a classically built flagstone fireplace, a behemoth of elegance that lends its grace well to the rest of the room. It’s the sort of clubhouse where you can imagine holding a non-golf related banquet, or a wedding. In fact, there was a wedding there at the time. It was a sweltering weekend, the kind of summer day in Ontario where I can honestly phone up friends in Tupelo, Mississippi and tell them that it’s actually hotter here than there. The bride was resplendent, the white of her dress seeming to shimmer in the searing heat. The West Haven club house also features sizeable patios and a big deck, all of which were being put to good use despite the soaring humidex of the day. The staff on hand at West Haven are consummate professionals for any situation that presents itself at the course, and they are especially good at turning their golfing-oriented club house into a dream wedding venue. The view helps, of course. The view on the way into the club house is carefully manicured, with expertly placed stands of mature trees and professionally maintained gardens that mark West Haven out as a place of exceptional class. Inside, the windows of the club house look out onto a sweeping expanse of the course, juxtaposing the carefully wrested structure of the golf course with the wilder, rougher parts that lie between the fairways. It’s an amazing viewpoint and one that complements any sort of formal occasion that is taking place inside the club house proper. West Haven Golf Course's Banquet Hall For such formal occasions, the club house can hold a maximum of 160 people, perfect for any type of mid-sized wedding. The staff isn’t just for simple serving, either; the West Haven team can handle nearly all of the planning and coordination that goes into putting together the best wedding possible. The staff can handle decorations, planning out seating arrangements, set up and display of wedding flowers, sound and lighting, and can even provide entertainment if required. They also provide full-service catering, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Their catering service extends to specified menu design as well; their catering staff will work with you to provide the exact special menu you request, regardless of what sort of meal plan is necessary for your wedding. Nearly every aspect of your wedding can be accounted for. Of course, one of the problems inherent in weddings is that inevitably either the bride or the groom will start getting the “wedding jitters”; that is, they’ll start getting nervous and need counselling before they can go through with the most important moment of their lives. While the staff on hand at West Haven isn’t licensed to provide that kind of counselling, that’s what the golf course is for. Once you start swinging a driver it’s hard to freak out about anything else that isn’t the fact that you sliced your ball into the rough and you now have to try to figure out how to best angle the next shot to make it to the green in two.

The Golfing

On that note, of course, it bears stating that the main attraction at West Haven Golf Course is, in fact, the golf. This is the key measure of any golf course, after all, and in this respect West Haven certainly does not disappoint. It presents a stellar balance between giving experienced players a challenge and giving a lift up to players who are just starting out with regard to their level of play. The course starts off in exciting fashion, with a dog-leg fairway that hooks to the right and lays a series of sand traps on the left-hand approach to the green. Trying to overpower those bunkers with a one wood is a terrible idea, as it turns out, since there are also nasty bunkers on the other side of the green that will take some decent skill with the sand iron to chip out of. Once you’re through that, the second hole kicks it up a notch. If you have a slice in your shot you’re definitely going to want to cure it before taking on this hole, because there’s a bunker so deep on the right side of the fairway you’d think you’d actually spent the afternoon taking the family to the beach. Luckily I have a shot that stays more or less where I’d like it to go. My brother, as well, thankfully has a bit of a hook to his shot; instead of digging out the beach he spent some time kicking around the heavy rough on the left side of the fairway for his ball. There are three par 5’s on the course, and the second hole is one of them; you can easily run up the score by going to far to either side of the green, since there are bunkers guarding those areas. If you aren’t used to the particular approach on this hole I’d say you’re doing well to come out of it with a bogey. Luckily the pressure eases off a little on the third hole, a pretty straightforward par 3 where you can make up some ground on your score. The fourth is also easy enough to figure out, although if you’re like my brother and you have that hook you’re going to be taking your second shot through a heavy section of trees with no real indication of the exact position of the green. The fifth hole is also like this at first, until you get to the green and realize that chipping the ball to the wrong spot will leave your ball rolling severely straight off the green. It’s a tough one, a real challenge for an experienced golfer: you have to get your ball to the exact right spot below the hole, where there’s a flat area, and putt from there. Putting from anywhere else requires you to be able to read a green at a glance, which is a skill I for one have yet to acquire. I also apparently have yet to acquire the skills for the sixth hole, which requires a short game a little more advanced than mine; there is a little hill on the front left of the green and a plateau on the back that requires you to chip it just right in order to avoid three-putting the hole. West Haven Golf Course in London, Ontario If your driving game is on point, at least, the seventh hole shouldn’t be too bad; sure, you have to carry the ball nearly 200 yards over a water hazard but on the other hand you have to shoot it straight to avoid the rough. The eighth hole removes the water hazard but keeps the necessity of shooting it straight; having to play this hole more than a few times would be an effective inducement to cure any slice or hook your drive might be suffering from. Don’t worry, however, the ninth hole leaves little traps all over the place for you, including a hidden bunker that prevents you from making a useful approach from the right and several that make an approach from the left rather difficult as well. After a rest and a couple of discreet drinks in that gorgeous, expansive club house, the back half of the course feels a little easier, or at least more approachable. There is a more sedate pace to play here, right up until you get to the thirteenth hole, which is easily the most challenging hole of the entire eighteen. Your tee shot has to be dead on to avoid having to scrounge in the woods for the ball and your approach has to be just as careful, given the sheer amount of hidden bunkers near the fairway and bordering the green. It’s the sort of hole designed to run up the score, where getting par can feel like a major achievement. A close runner-up would be the seventeenth hole, a par 3 that feels much longer, the sort of par 3 where you need to make a fairway shot just to make it to the green without getting stuck in the sand. West Haven Golf Course in London, Ontario The course is challenging but fair; it’ll take all of your skills to make par but it never once feels like a frustrating experience. While membership is, again, a necessity to playing the course, the price is competitive with many other clubs in the region and if you plan on spending spring through fall golfing on a fairly regular basis then it’s well worth the outlay. The landscape of the club is expansive and breathtaking, the club house is easily one of the most comfortable and well-appointed in the province of Ontario, and even though you’ll never make par on the fifth without putting your time in, it’s still a worthy challenge for the experienced and a great learning situation for golfers looking to develop their skills.

The Best Places to Watch Fireworks in London

Canada Day is coming up this weekend, and it is tradition across the country to celebrate with fireworks. These dazzling displays bring awe and wonder to the faces of children and adults alike in commemoration of another year of Canada’s existence as a country.

Harris Park

Neighbourhood: Downtown 530 Ridout St. N (map) https://www.londonheritage.ca/canadadaylondon

Facebook icon transparentinstagram icon transparenttwitter icon transparent

Photo By Scott Webb

Head on down to Harris Park for an event-filled Canada Day. A 12-hour extravaganza of Canadian and multicultural celebrations beginning at 11AM, fun for the entire family. There is a new act performing basically every half hour throughout the day, ranging from First Nations drumming and singing to interactive Bollywood dancing to Hells Bells, an AC/DC cover band. There is bound to be something for everyone throughout the day. Don’t worry about the kids either, they’ll be plenty entertained. The Kids Zone will have bouncy houses, face painting, airbrush tattoos, and other activities to keep the kids busy until the sun goes down and the sky is dark enough for fireworks. There will be an array of food vendors to grab snacks and meals while you hang out and enjoy the day. For the adults, a beer garden opens at 8PM serving a variety of cold and boozy beverages. Their fireworks show begins at 10PM and promises to be a colourful display to dazzle and astonish all. If you’re looking for a full day of fun in the heart of downtown London, head on over to Harris Park.

White Oaks Park/South London Community Centre

Neighbourhood: White Oaks 1119 Jalna Blvd. (map) http://southlondoncanadaday.com/

Facebook icon transparent

This Canada Day celebration is a whole day event, beginning at 2PM and running into the night. With a variety activities for children and the family, this south end celebration is bound to be exciting. Live musical acts play throughout the day, with acts such as Big Bang, Men Without Cats, and the Night Crew. The kids will be kept busy with inflatable rides, a spray pad, and a movie in the gym of the community centre in the early evening, all for free! They also have a variety of food vendors selling their wares and a cake cutting ceremony, so you won’t go hungry. Their firework display begins at 10PM and is intended to be 20 minutes in length. For a fantastic, budget friendly, family-oriented day, the South London Canada Day celebration is a great spot to check out.

Argyle Arena

Neighbourhood: Argyle Park 1948 Wavell St. (map) http://www.eastlondonoptimists.com/

Facebook icon transparenttwitter icon transparent

The Optimist Club of East London is hosting this celebration, and it promises to be epic. This is a two-part event: an indoor vendor fair and an outdoor activity area and stage. The event’s opening ceremony begins at 1PM, followed quickly by a cake cutting. Music starts after the cake has been sliced and continues on into the evening. The musical acts include rock and country artists such as Kill Effect and Truelove Ways. This celebration has some of the most interesting things for the kids to get up to, including face painting, a reptile show, and mad science exhibits, all for free! There are also carnival games with prizes and a raffle, so don’t miss out on your chance to win. The vendor fair features local businesses such as Baby-Bee Design, Karen’s Kreations, and Metal Man Mike. So peruse at your leisure and maybe even grab something if it catches your eye. We always admire supporting small businesses. Fireworks begin at dusk, so keep an eye on the sun as it sets so you can get a prime spot to watch.

Outside of London

While we typically prefer to keep our recommendations in London, there are also some excellent firework displays outside of the city limits in surrounding townships and municipalities. Even though this would require some more driving, they’re definitely worth checking out.

Grand Bend

Neighbourhood: Grand Bend Lambton Shores (map) http://canadadaygrandbend.ca/

 

Grand Bend is a beach town to the northwest of London on the shores of Lake Huron. Their event consists of an evening of music, featuring Jessica Allossery, Vintage Flight, and Highway 21. This, of course, is all an opening act for the pyrotechnics. The fireworks begin at 10PM after the singing of the national anthem. The show that Grand Bend puts on is the largest in southwestern Ontario and is visible from mostly any point in the town, but the prime seating is definitely on the beach. Best of all, the whole event is completely free, except for public parking!

Port Stanley

Neighbourhood: Port Stanley William St. (map) http://www.portstanley.net/

Facebook icon transparent

Port Stanley is a lakeside town to the south of London, offering Canfest, an event that runs the entire long weekend, from Saturday June 30th to Monday July 2nd. Basically the whole town participates, but the centre of the action is on the main beach, where you’ll find live music, a kids zone, and other events throughout the weekend, such as a BBQ on Saturday evening, a parade on Sunday morning, and of course, fireworks on Sunday night. Their fireworks being at 9:45PM, just after the sun has set and people can stop worrying about sunburns. The fireworks are sure to impress as the colours reflect off the water, making it seem like twice as many explosions of colour than there actually are. It’s a truly wonderful experience and heading out there is highly recommended.

The London Majors

They call baseball “America’s Pastime”, but the truth is a little more complicated than that. The sport’s history and resilience in southern Ontario is as vital a part of the history of the game as it’s more-ballyhooed history in New England, Ohio, and Michigan. Despite this, Ontario’s history as a baseball hotbed has been largely left out of American accounts of the game.  Regardless of this glaring oversight, the game of baseball, played on an amateur or professional basis, has remained a highly popular pastime in Ontario. This is especially true of London, Ontario. Equidistant between Detroit and Toronto, London has always been a hotbed of Detroit Tigers fans, and the expansion of Major League Baseball to Toronto in 1977 brought even more fans into the game. While London has been perennially passed by in terms of major league play, there has almost always been a home town team for fans to cheer for. Since 1925, that team has by and large been the London Majors, playing in the Intercounty Baseball League. That team, their home stadium, and the history of the game in the London region itself are all items worthy of further examination.

The History Of Baseball In London

For years, the commonly accepted origin story of the game was that, before winning fame and glory for basically saving the Union at Gettysburg, General Abner Doubleday had invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. There were more than a few problems with this story, however. The roots of this origin lie in a letter that an Ohio mining engineer named Abner Graves wrote to the Akron Beacon Journal in 1905. Graves claims to have been in and around Cooperstown at that time and had witnessed Doubleday drawing out a baseball diamond and setting out a game based on the English game of townball that involved eleven players per team and four bases. Conveniently, however, the diagram that Graves claimed to have that Doubleday had lost had since been lost, and the players at that mythical first game were all determined to have since passed on. Some quick math also showed that Graves would have been five years old when the supposed first game was played. He was also, as it turned out, virulently anti-English and would go on to spend some time in an asylum for the insane. There was also the inconvenient fact that, in 1839, Doubleday himself was a first-year cadet at West Point and not likely to be in Cooperstown either. No one who knew Doubleday could say that he’d ever breathed a word about inventing baseball, which was during the last decade of the man’s life a rather popular game in his native New England. Doubleday himself couldn’t refute anything either, since he’d been, by 1905, dead for fifteen years. Crucially, however, a homegrown account puts the supposed origins of baseball a year earlier. Dr. Adam E Ford wrote a letter to Sporting Life in 1886 that was an account of a game of “base ball” played on June 4th, 1838 in Beachville, Ontario, a small town about 40 minutes east of London.  This has become an essential bit of national myth-making in it’s own right, much as the Doubleday myth was originally used to stoke sentiment of baseball as a purely American-made, American-played game. The welcome sign for the town of Beachville is designed around the idea that baseball was invented there, and the staff at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary’s, Ontario fervently support this idea. It wasn’t exactly baseball, of course; the game Ford described had eleven players rather than nine, five bases rather than four, and bats that more closely resembled the flat bats we think of as cricket bats but were likely adapted from the centuries-old English picnic game of rounders. This was the “Ontario Game”; the origins and rules of early baseball are messy enough that every region has it’s own particular take on the game. Shortly before the American Civil War the game began to be standardized under the more modern, nine-player four-base version of the game (the “New York Game”); Ontario largely adopted this version around 1860. Whatever the origins of the game, the growth of baseball in Ontario kept pace with the growth in America. A pair of local London baseball clubs – the Forest City Base Ball Club and the London Base Ball Club – merged in 1868 to form the London Tecumsehs, sponsored by the Tecumseh House Hotel that then stood on the corner of York and Richmond. The team would spend a decade playing other regional teams in exhibition games and tournaments before becoming an inaugural member of the International Association of Professional Baseball Players in 1877. The International Association, a collection of Canadian and American baseball clubs in a league designed to act as a rival to the first recognized major league, the National League (the same one that would go on to make billions and still exist today). The London Tecumsehs would end that season at the top of the heap, winning the pennant in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Allegheny. That season would also briefly pit London’s star pitcher, Fred Goldsmith, against his rival (and future Hall of Famer) Candy Cummings of the Lynn Live Oaks, before the Live Oaks folded part way into a dismal season of play. Both Goldsmith and Cummings would claim credit for the invention of the curveball and would display it during that season. Unfortunately, after winning the pennant (and being offered a spot in the National League), the London Tecumsehs found themselves in deep debt and were forced to fold before the 1878 season; the International Association would follow suit in 1880. The Tecumsehs would return in 1888 when the International Association was resurrected; their star outfielder Patsy Donovan led the league in hitting and would go on to play in the National League. Despite the International Association again folding after the 1890 season, the London Tecumsehs would again be brought back in 1920 for the Michigan-Ontario Baseball League. The Tecumsehs dominated the first season of the league, easily clinching the pennant and breaking attendance records for minor league teams. That 1920 team is ranked as one of the hundred best minor league teams to have ever existed.

Labatt Memorial Park

For their storied 1877 season, the London Tecumsehs moved from practicing and playing at the Western Fair Grounds to their own home field, which was then dubbed Tecumseh Park. It was state-of-the-art when it was built, featuring a 600-seat grandstand for spectators, piped-in water, and official spaces for scorekeepers, reporters, and telegraph operators. It’s placement at the forks of the Thames River was likely no accident; the area had been used as a common area for as long as a settlement at London had existed. This placement has also proved to be problematic at times; a flood of the forks in 1883 led to the destruction of the original grandstands, and a second flood in 1937 destroyed the grandstands again. The first flood in 1883 led to a change in the position of home plate; originally in what is now left field, home plate was moved in order to orient the diamond so that it faced downtown London. This led to some controversy many years later. Since there are comparatively few sports structures remaining that were originally built in the 19th Century, it is a commonly cited fact that Labatt Memorial Park, having been used by ball clubs every year since 1877, was the oldest continuously operating baseball grounds in the world. This is true in so far as it is recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records as of the 2009 edition. However, Fuller Field, in Clinton, Massachusetts, claimed the title since it had operated since 1878; since Labatt Park moved it’s home plate in 1883 following the flood of the Thames it was alleged that it wasn’t the same park. This argument led the record keepers to give Fuller Field the title for many years, before people finally realized what a convoluted bit of logic that was and rightfully gave the nod to Labatt Park. The fact that it is “continuously occupied” of course means that baseball has been played there year after year, and quite naturally then a number of teams have held court at Labatt Park. The most high-profile of these was London’s short-lived AA farm team affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, the London Tigers. While only staying in London from 1989 to 1993, the team racked up an impressive record at first, winning the Eastern League championship in 1990 and featuring such players as future Detroit Tigers third baseman Travis Fryman and hitting coach Phil Clark. The team was also managed by Yankees legend Chris Chambliss, lending the team some serious star power. Despite this, waning fortunes and declining attendance led the Tigers organization to move the team to Trenton, where it eventually switched affiliation to become a part of the Boston Red Sox organization. This experience was London’s sole encounter with professional Major League baseball since the end of the Second World War. Since then, efforts to put independent professional minor league teams have mostly fizzled, such as the London Werewolves (of the Frontier League) who moved to Canton, Ohio after the 2001 season and the London Monarchs of the Canadian Baseball League, which folded halfway through it’s inaugural season. Labatt Park - Home of the London Majors

LONDON MAJORS

That’s not to say that there isn’t great baseball being played right here in London, Ontario. The longest-running club to play at Labatt Park is the London Majors, who have occupied the forks of the Thames regularly since 1925. The Majors, currently a perennial contender in the Intercounty Baseball League, maintain a semi-professional ranking, attracting retired or otherwise unemployed professional players as well as up-and-coming NCAA college baseball players and local Ontario talent. The Majors have been a mainstay at Labatt Park for decades, although not always under the same name. They were originally known as the London Cockneys on their formation in 1925, and since then have played under names such as the London Winery, the London Silverwoods, the London Army Team (during the Second World War), the London Majors from 1944 to 1959, the London Chester Pegg Diamonds, the London Majors again from 1962 to 1963, the London Pontiacs, the London Avcos, and the London El-Morocco Majors. As you might imagine, the name of the team changed often depending on who was sponsoring them during that period. Since 1975, however, the team has been consistently known as the London Majors, and at any rate they have torn up the Intercounty Baseball League under any and every name. The Majors have won twelve pennants in the Intercounty Baseball League, and have taken a number of historic championships in other tournaments, including the Senior A Ontario Baseball Association championship four times and the Canadian Baseball Congress championship four times. The London Majors have been a popular destination for players at all levels of their career; some of the bigger names to have come through the club include colourful former Tigers pitcher Denny McLain (the last man to win 30 games in a major league season, in 1968), former Cubs pitcher, Cy Young winner, and two-time Harlem Globetrotter Fergie Jenkins, and former Tigers pitcher Dave Rozema. The most effective of these big names remains former Tigers reliever Mike Kilkenny, who capped off his nine-year Major League career by going 9-0 for the London Majors in the 1975 season and being the driving force behind the team’s championship win that year. The grand old baseball grounds at the forks of the Thames is a time-honoured place to spend a Friday night watching the home team strive for victory; if you’re more of the type to crawl the Richmond Row at that time, it’s also a time-honoured place to spend a Sunday afternoon. There’s always baseball going on down there, and that fits squarely into Ontario’s traditional love of the game. A sunny day, a hot dog or two, and a game of baseball at a local landmark like Labatt Park – if there’s a better way to spend a few hours, I don’t know it.

Sunfest

What do you think of when you see or hear the word Sunfest? Does it conjure up images of laying on a beach at a nice Caribbean resort? How about thoughts of a warm sunny day sitting on the deck at the cottage overlooking a lake with some nice music playing in the background? Or perhaps a movie from the 60’s of a stereotypical group of long haired types worshiping the sun, jamming with their guitars and bongos while enjoying friends, fellowship, food under the warmth of the sun. Everyone would have a different thought or image from the word Sunfest. Whatever the painted picture your mind creates when it hears,‘Sunfest,’ it is likely not far off from the actual event of one of the most successful and popular summer happenings in the heart of Downtown London. If you did choose one of the three scenarios listed above you would be very close as to some of the activities that take place over four days encompassing the very first weekend of July at Victoria Park every year. If you truly think of it, the name Sunfest is quite fitting. Why? Because it is a cross cultural event. If you trying to weave a common thread through every race or culture there is nothing more recognized in the world than that of the sun. We all see the sun at some point during the day or parts of the year. We all use the sun for the growing of food. Everyone enjoys the heat of the sun. Many plan events surrounding the sun being visible, after all no one wants to have a gathering of people in the rain. The sun is there to provide light, heat and joy. What one thing can you think of that gives us more joy then being out in the sun? Quite simply, nothing. Sunfest is a perfect word and title for an event that ties us all together, such as the one held at Victoria Park in Downtown London. This non-profit community, referred to as Sunfest, is an arts group focused on creating and presenting cross-cultural awareness using music, visual arts, dance, food, fun and fellowship. Sunfest in London, Ontario will be celebrating 24 years at the 2018 event of hosting the annual festival of food, culture, art and music. This is one of the must go to, outdoor festivals in Downtown London. It’s free admission to everyone, which includes the baby in the stroller to the canine variety on a leash. The event attracts over 300,000 visitors during its four-day run from Thursday to Sunday and is open from 11AM to 11PM. Why go you say? There is not event of this magnitude within the City of London at your doorstep that offers international cuisine, music of all types and flavours, handmade crafts that will absolutely knock your socks off, plus a place to bring the tots, toddlers and tweens and teens to expose them to other cultures, music, food and carnival rides and atmosphere. This is a family friendly event that has something for everyone. Here are some facts to validate the reasons to attend the Sunfest!

Music

Music is performed daily by a myriad of cultures on 5 stages throughout the day. Live performances from over 36 musical groups (4 of which are affiliated with London) from around the world. If you love any style of music you can find it here. It’s a common occurrence to be overtaken by the upbeat, cross cultural, National, International, Reggae and Caribbean styles of music performed by musicians with an infectious stage presence to make you get off your chair or stop walking to get your groove on. What a better place to dance your unique style where not many onlookers don’t know who you are or will never see you again. However you might embarrass your family. There are many festivals that recycle their musical talent. Not Sunfest as they like to find new performers each year with the exception of Five Alarm Funk who have played at the festival for over 8 years. The goal is to curate a list of accomplished international performers to discover and who would like to come perform and entertain at the Sunfest. Sunfest doesn’t depend on mainstream performers to draw the crowds and contribute to the success of their events. The goal is to have the success of Sunfest come from the experience itself.

Food

There is no better time to dance to a different beat then to tango your tongue and taste buds with delectable food from around the world. The international food at the festival is fast becoming one of the major draws of the Sunfest. With International Cuisine from menus around the world, gives you the opportunity to please your palate from delicacies from around the world without ever leaving Downtown London. You can treat your tummy to food from South Korea to Canada, then over to a Caribbean island and back over to Italy all within walking distance.

Family Friendly

Sunfest is for all ages. There are carnival rides and bouncy type places for children of all ages to laugh and put a smile on their face while the adults can watch in enjoyment while munching on a Taco with the sounds of a Reggae band in the background. It’s also perfect to bring Fido along. What a nicer place to be on a sunny afternoon going for a stroll with one of the most sensitive of noses on a leash beside you. Your dog will enjoy the walk while their nose is sidewalk surfing looking for droppings from a passing enchilada.

Crafts

No better time to begin Christmas shopping and certainly not a better place. Handmade crafts from beads, clothing, musical instruments and so much more from over 300 artists. Think of how your love ones will remember because you thought of them as you travelled around the world to bring home a gift from another country. All of this and so much more at our lovely Victoria Park in the heart of Downtown London.

Volunteers

There are so many people in the City of London who want to be part of this event. Every year there are over 400 volunteers who help from setting up and tearing down the displays and making the entire four-day event run smoothly. Sunfest also employs 6 part time students to assist in organizing the event.

History

Now that we know what to expect, how did all this begin. Alfredo Caxaj, who is the founder and event organizer, came to Canada from Guatemala in 1985 and initially settled in Toronto. What he saw in the GTA was a city which was thriving in diversity and art. This was Alfredo’s initial thought of what all communities were like in Canada until moving to London. He saw the city as being diverse but nothing was happening to bring people together and celebrate the blending of the community. Being a performer himself, he fostered a vision and created what he thought London was missing. When he arrived in Canada, one of the first things Alfredo did was start up a Salsa band and played in his community. It was very hard to come to a new country, so music became his therapy. It helped him face the daily challenges, discrimination and social pressures. This was also how he entertained his family by taking them to see live music rather than taking them to theme parks. Now 24 years later the event called Sunfest has mushroomed from very humble beginnings to one of the top ten international and multicultural festivals in Canada. Alfredo refers to the Sunfest as a global village as the music, food, festivities, crafts and carnival type atmosphere appeals to everyone. More than 25% of the attendance come from outside Southwestern Ontario and there are those that travel from the other side of the world just to attend this event.

Off the Cuff Tidbits

One less known fact is that Sunfest runs some musical events throughout the year at different venues such as the Aeolian Hall. His global village has a huge following of sponsors and advertisers over the past few years. TD is now the official corporate sponsor of the event with Alfredo being the integral key to Sunfest every year. In 2012 Alfredo was honoured by being on the list of 2013’s 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians. This is the first time a Guatemalan has ever received this distinction.

Fast Forward for Sunfest

Sunfest is already bursting at the seams of Victoria Park with plans in the works for 2019 to block off the streets surrounding the park in Downtown London to make the event larger for vendors, musicians and patrons. Alfredo Caxaj has been quoted as saying, “There’s nothing better than live music; no question. Live music is the most beautiful reflection of life. A community without live music is a community without a soul. Instilling and promoting the spirit of live music is my legacy to my family – and to us all.” Attending Sunfest is like going on a trip around the world through music, arts and crafts and of course international food. Come soak up the sun, sounds, food friendly smells at the Sunfest, and bring people together. Oh, and Admission is Free!!!