The City of London has experienced solid, consistent growth throughout it’s history, and one of the key factors in this growth in recent years has been the Ironstone Building Company. Ironstone is a new home builder in London, Ontario that has been building since 2010 and has developed a reputation for quality builds and personal touches with home buyers. Managed by David Stimac (formerly of Stoneridge Homes) and Allan Drewlo (formerly of Drewlo Homes), Ironstone builds homes in accordance with a few key business principles that inform every aspect of their work. These include using the best skilled trades workers and giving them the highest quality building materials to work with. It also means giving home buyers personal contact with their home builder, letting them in on the process every step of the way.
One of the things that sets Ironstone above other builders is it’s use of specific interior finishing touches to mark out their new build homes as being of superior quality. These include a lot of little things that both home buyers and homeowners tend to take for granted. There are up to $700 of light fixtures in each home, allowing the interior to be lit in exactly the right way. All vanities include framed mirrors. The doorknobs on the interior doors are all contemporary satin nickel. Baseboards are all 5 ½” and are paint grade; drywall features rounded corner beads; closets are all fitted with wire shelving. The ceilings are, with the exception of the bathrooms, laundry rooms, and closets, all designed with the knockdown type of texture, which gives a similar effect as the popular popcorn texture but with more subtlety. Paint is customizable, with home buyers able to choose between three standard colours, with the option of paying a premium for other colour considerations.
Hickory Heights is located in the heart of North London, near the intersection of Fanshawe Park Road West and Wonderland Road. It’s surrounded by neighbourhoods of large, stately houses, modern amenities, and picturesque locations; is a prestige neighbourhood and the homes on offer there match that prestige perfectly.
The Manhattan is a spacious, airy design. The total space taken up in the design in 2,716 square feet, comprising four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The front entryway on the main floor opens up onto a gorgeous front hallway and main stairway; to the left is the perfect space for a front office with a street view and a lot of natural light. The main floor bathroom is also accessible off of the front entryway. The dining room is a separate room with a large window, letting natural light show off the spaciousness of the room. The family room is also a separate area, complete with a huge window that gives a great view of the back yard and a built-in fireplace. The kitchen is a combination cooking area and dinette, with wraparound counters and large corner storage space. The Dinette features a sliding glass door that leads out into the backyard and is the perfect space for casual weekday meals.
The upper floor features three large bedrooms centered around a full-size bathroom with combination bathtub-shower. Laundry facilities are also located here. The master bedroom is extremely roomy, has a long, spacious walk-in closet, and features a full ensuite bathroom with dual sinks, a bathtub, and a separate shower stall.
Fanshawe Park and Wonderland
Just twenty years ago, the intersection of Fanshawe Park Road West and Wonderland Road was largely farmland, the very edge of and even a bit beyond the practical limits of the City of London. Today it is a vital, growing part of the city, the perfect spot for people who want the comfort and proximity to shopping and entertainment of city living but also like the freedom and mobility of living in the country. With it’s close location to both downtown London and Masonville Mall, as well as the summer farm markets to the north, the neighbourhood offers a little bit to everyone no matter their inclinations.
Fanshawe and Wonderland connects to the rest of the city through two main routes. The first is the #19 Downtown – Hyde Park Power Centre line, which as the name implies will connect the Hickory Heights neighbourhood to the downtown core as well as the North London SmartCentre commercial hub just to the west. The #39 Masonville – Hyde Park Power Centre line connects Hickory Heights going in the other direction, toward Masonville Mall. From either stop, you can connect outward to other major points of interest in the city. For people who prefer to leave the car at home if they can, or for families with teenagers who want to get out to experience all that the city has to offer, Hickory Heights is in a perfect location to connect you to the entire city of London.
The local public elementary school tied to Hickory Heights is Sir Arthur Currie Public School, located a little ways to the north on Buroak Drive. Named for the general who strategically planned the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge, Sir Arthur Currie PS first opened in 2017 and is home to around 600 students. The mascot is the Coyote and the school’s motto is “Start unknown. Finish unforgettable.”
For families looking for an education in the London District Catholic School Board, the neighbourhood of Hickory Heights is halfway between two Catholic elementary schools: St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Elementary School and Saint Marguerite D’Youville Catholic Elementary School. St. Catherine of Siena is closer to Masonville Mall, on Quarrier Road near Plane Tree Park.St. Catherine of Siena is a school that stresses tolerance and acceptance while providing daily affirmation of Catholic faith. The patron saint, St. Catherine of Siena, is the patron saint of Italy, who died in Rome in 1380 and was canonized in 1461. Saint Marguerite D’Youville is closer to the North London PowerCentre, on Hawthorne Road between Fanshawe Park Road West and Gainsborough Road. Saint Marguerite D’Youville Catholic Elementary’s mission is to support healthy development, and to walk a balance of both faith and reason. This is in keeping with their adoption of Pope John Paul II’s quote that “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”
If French Immersion schooling is what your family is looking for, then Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School is what you’re after. Located on Belfield Street near Windermere Road and Adelaide Street North, Louise Arbour offers full French Immersion from Senior Kindergarten up to Grade 8. Named for former Supreme Court of Canada Justice and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, the school provides second language learning that cultivates an appreciation for diversity and an enhanced understanding of global issues.
The local secondary school for the Hickory Heights neighbourhood is Sir Frederick Banting, known colloquially to students and staff as “Banting.” Having first opened in 1969, Banting has proved itself to be a powerhouse London school in terms of arts, athletics, and music. The school is, of course, named after Sir Frederick Banting, the Nobel Prize winning research scientist who invented insulin to treat diabetes. Banting is home to over 1,300 students, and their mascot is the Broncos. For those parents who put their children into the Louise Arbour French Immersion school, rest assured that Banting has an excellent French Immersion program that continues instruction in the French language through the secondary school years. Banting is also home to a series of excellent Physical Eduation Programs wherein students can earn secondary school credits for specialized programs in hockey, aquatics, and dance. In addition, Banting offers specialized industry-focused programs in both Physical Education and Business. In these programs, students can complete the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Curriculum while focusing their studies on one of the two offered industries, giving them real-world experience as well as theoretical knowledge that gives them a major advantage upon graduation.
For parents looking to emphasize learning the skills to succeed in technology in the future, the Hickory Heights neighbourhood is also within the attendance district of Montcalm Secondary School, one of London’s designated “Emphasis Technology” secondary schools. All of the Thames Valley District School Board schools offer some technological training; Emphasis Technology schools, however, offer all of the training programs. These tech programs include: Communications; Computer Technology; Construction; Design; Exploring Technology; Green Industries; Hair and Aesthetics; Health Care; Hospitality and Tourism; Manufacturing; and Transportation. These programs are all designed to give students a big advantage after graduation, both in their professional and academic lives, and as such Montcalm should be a factor in any academic decision-making for parents looking to live in Hickory Heights.
Hickory Heights is close to many major religious centres in the city of London, Ontario. Catholic families have a number of places to choose from, including Holy Family Parish (connected to Saint Marguerite D’Youville Catholic Elementary) on Valetta Street, just south of Oxford Street and Wonderland Road, and the Church of St. Jude at Fanshawe Park Road East and Adelaide Street North. For Protestant families, St. Ansgar Lutheran Church in on Wonderland Road just south of the Sherwood Forest Mall; Trinity Presbyterian Church is nearby on Gainsborough Road, and West Park Church, a non-denominational Christian church, is just down the street. Anglican families will find the Church of the Transfiguration tucked away in the middle of the nearby neighbourhood of Orchard Park. The Goodness & Mercy Baptist Church is located just to the southwest in Hyde Park, on North Routledge Park.
Families adhering to the Jehovah’s Witness faith are in luck; the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses is practically across the street from the neighbourhood of Hickory Heights. Islamic families will find the London Muslim Mosque near the Cherryhill Mall, along Oxford Street West. Jewish families will find a synagogue no matter what their religious inclination. Reform families will find Temple Israel of London just to the east along Windermere Road. Conservative families will find the Or Shalom Congregation on Huron Street near Richmond Street and Adelaide Street North. Orthodox families will find Beth Tefilah Synagogue on Adelaide Street North just south of the Thames River. All three are in the same basic area around the Thames.
Hickory Heights has some of the best restaurants in the city of London within a quick drive. For those in the mood for Vietnamese or Thai food, Ben Thanh is right at the corner of Fanshawe Park Road West and Wonderland Road and has some of the best green Thai curry you will ever experience in London, bar none. Tahini’s, in the Sunningdale Village Plaza just south of Hickory Heights, offers an excellent array of Mediterranean food, including a full platter that offers a little bit of everything you could want. If breakfast is more what you’re looking for, there are two options: basic, homey, filling breakfast at the Early Riser Café on Aldersbrook Road; or an array of fancier breakfast dishes at The Singing Chef. Sushi lovers will be glad to know that Sushi Galore is just down the street as well, near The Signing Chef at the northwest corner of the North London PowerCentre; the sushi buffet has great food and also a huge aquarium to observe while eating. Buffet lovers in general will note that the city’s newest Mandarin is located nearby, just south of the North London PowerCentre, and is a regular spot for birthday dinners and other celebrations. For Pakistani fare, Nemat’s at the Sherwood Forest Mall has a wide array of food with great family deals every day of the week.
If having an intimate local pub with a great kitchen is closer to what you’re looking for, the Black Pearl Pub just west of Wonderland Road on Fanshawe Park Road West has one of the best pub kitchens in the entire city. Another option along those lines is Bernie’s Bar & Grill, a London tradition located at the Sherwood Forest Mall; it’s like the local version of a big chain pub, all of the menu breadth with none of the more unfortunate manufactured aspects.
For a close-by spot for date night, the Veta Wine and Pasta Bar offers delicious authentic Italian cuisine paired expertly with the right wine; the food is spot on and the atmosphere makes it perfect for those in need of an intimate dinner.
Nature lovers should keep an especially close eye on the Hickory Heights neighbourhood, as many of the lots back right onto the Medway Valley Heritage Forest. Medway Valley is the best spot for long walks in the entire city (although Springbank Park of course comes a close second). It has all of the feeling of being in the middle of the woods away from civilization without ever having to actually leave civilization. For those in need of a good walk but who aren’t looking to sink several hours into exploring a natural wonderland, the Walnut Woods Trail between Fanshawe Park Road West and Gainsborough Road is a hidden gem of a nature trail in the middle of residential suburbia. Helen Mott Shaw Park, located east of Medway Valley, also has some very spacious, very beautiful walking trails.
Sports fans will note that Nor’West Optimist Park, located southwest of Hickory Heights, is home to a number of baseball diamonds and other athletic facilities. The Canada Games Aquatic Centre, across the street from the Sherwood Forest Mall and right next door to Sir Frederick Banting, features several swimming options, including a full-scale competitive diving pool. The Medway Arena next door is the perfect spot for skating and minor hockey.
Hickory Heights, situated right at the intersection of Fanshawe Park Road West and Wonderland Road, is in the perfect spot for getting all of your shopping done. To the east is the North London PowerCentre, anchored by Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire and featuring a wide array of shopping including clothing, shoes, electronics, and furniture. To the west is Masonville Mall, the premier commercial hub of North London, and all of the varieties of shopping that surround it. In addition to these two major shopping destinations, there are neighbourhood malls. London is a city that is marked by neighbourhood malls, some struggling, others thriving. For Hickory Heights, the closest neighbourhood mall is Sherwood Forest Mall, which is where you’ll find Bernie’s Bar & Grill and Nemat’s, and near to where you’ll find Banting, the Medway Arena, and the Canada Games Aquatic Centre. Other neighbourhood malls that are close by include the London Mall at Oxford and Wonderland, which features a grocery store catering to Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and the Cherryhill Mall, which has probably the best fresh donut shop in the city in its food court, but you have to show up early to get any.