Victoria Park, London, Ontario

Last updated
Victoria Park
The Band Shell in Victoria Park
Victoria Park, London, Ontario
TypePublic park
Location London, Ontario
Area7.3 hectares (18 acres)
Operated byCity of London
Victoria Park Victoria Park, London Ontario011.jpg
Victoria Park
Women's Memorial LondonOntarioWomensMem.jpg
Women's Memorial
Cenotaph LondonOntarioCenotaph.jpg
Veterans plaque Veterans Plaque Victoria Park.jpg
Veterans plaque
Second World War tank Victoria Park WWII Tank010.jpg
Second World War tank

Victoria Park is an 7.3 hectare (18-acre) park located in downtown London, Ontario, in Canada. It is one of the major centres of community events in London.



The park was originally the site of the British garrison, as well as the cricket grounds. The garrison was expanded with new buildings during and after the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837. The British troops withdrew to Europe in 1853 to train for the Crimean War, but their barracks were used to house escaped slaves from the United States, as one of the end stations of the Underground Railway. The troops returned in 1861, fearing that the American Civil War might spread to Canada. In 1874, the park was transferred to the city and renamed Victoria Park, after Queen Victoria.

The park's original plan was the work of the landscape architect Charles H. Miller, chief gardener of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and designer of the American Centennial Exposition grounds. It is believed that the decision to hire Miller was strongly influenced by William Saunders' visit to the exposition grounds in 1876. [1] [2]

Although designated for recreational activities, the park was still used as a military garrison when necessary. As London was the centre of the Western Ontario military district (District No. 1), troops were stationed in the park during the Second Boer War, World War I, and World War II; there was some minor rioting in the park during the Conscription Crisis of 1944, when conscripts demanded to be sent to Europe.

In 1907, three cannons from the Crimean War were placed in the park, originally from Sevastopol. In 1912 a statue was built as a memorial to the Boer War, and an exact replica of the cenotaph in Whitehall, London, England was built in 1934. A Sherman tank (known as the "Holy Roller") used in World War II was placed there in 1950. [3] While the park once housed elaborate fountains and a lilypond, there are no water features remaining today.


Many annual events are held in Victoria Park. These include Sunfest, the Home County Folk Festival, The London Rib-Fest, The International Food Festival, LOLA and Fiesta del Sol. Since 2008 all events in Victoria Park are part of the Greening of the Festivals and required to have a waste management plan to eliminate unnecessary waste to landfill. This includes a suitable number of Eco-Stations (the place where attendees dispose of waste) and all food and beverage containers are required to be either recyclable or compostable. In the first year, these efforts led to an improvement from 5% waste diversion to a 50% waste diversion from landfill. The festivals were recognized Nationally with a Home Town Heroes Award, Provincially with a Gold Award from the Recycling Council of Ontario for Minimization of Waste and Municipally with the Pillar non profit Community Impact Award. Home County Folk Festival had the added initiative of offering reusable metal dishes, available on deposit which is repaid at the Eco-Stations, to eliminate one time use disposables altogether. With the EcoStations readily available for waste disposal, Victoria Park has been a cleaner park throughout the festival season. In addition, the festivals have educated hundreds of thousands of festival attendees on wasteful practices and inspired them to take these practices to their community events, birthday parties and church suppers.

Every winter, there is an annual vigil for the École Polytechnique Massacre, the trees in the park are decorated with Christmas lights, the "Lighting of the Lights" and Snowfest is held in February. The number and frequency of events has been a concern for the park with the resulting damage to the foliage, prompting some partial rescheduling to minimize the wear.

The park also has an ice skating rink in the winter, which has been built every winter since 1913. The bandshell was built in 1950 (rebuilt in 1990). The area in front of the bandshell now serves as a free, public skatepark, consisting of many metal benches and a stage drop. Near the bandshell is the Women's Memorial for the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, built in 1994.

The park is notable for the presence of a large number of melanistic (black) Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), and because of this, the recreational sport of squirrel fishing has developed in the area. However the squirrel population is not indigenous; they were first introduced to the park in 1914, when four pairs of squirrels were purchased. [4] In February 1961 a group of squirrels were taken to Kent State University, in Ohio, United States, where they have become firmly established.


  1. Morden, p.9
  2. Behr, p.A.10.xxxi
  3. Morden, p.11
  4. Morden, p.11

Related Research Articles

Morden Human settlement in England

Morden is a district and town in south London, England, within the London Borough of Merton. It is around 8 miles (13 km) south-southwest of Charing Cross. Morden adjoins Merton Park and Wimbledon to the north, Mitcham to the east, Sutton to the south and Worcester Park to the west.

Aldershot Town in Hampshire, England

Aldershot is a town in the Rushmoor district of Hampshire, England. It lies on heathland in the extreme northeast corner of the county, about 31.8 mi (51.2 km) southwest of London. The area is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council. The town has a population of 36,321, while the Aldershot Urban Area, a loose conurbation has a population of 243,344, making it the thirtieth-largest urban area in the UK.

Morden tube station London Underground station

Morden is a London Underground station in Morden in the London Borough of Merton. The station is the southern terminus for the Northern line and is the most southerly station on the Underground network. The next station north is South Wimbledon. The station is located on London Road (A24), and is in Travelcard Zone 4. Nearby are Morden Hall Park, the Baitul Futuh Mosque and Morden Park.

Canadian National Exhibition Annual Festival in Canada

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), also known as The Exhibition or The Ex, is an annual event that takes place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, during the final 18 days leading up to and including Canadian Labour Day, the first Monday in September. With approximately 1.5 million visitors each year, the CNE is Canada's largest annual fair and the sixth largest in North America. The first Canadian National Exhibition took place in 1879, largely to promote agriculture and technology in Canada. Agriculturists, engineers, and scientists exhibited their discoveries and inventions at the CNE to showcase the work and talent of the nation. As Canada has grown as a nation, the CNE has reflected the growth in diversity and innovation, though agriculture and technology remain a large part of the CNE. For many people in the Greater Toronto Area and the surrounding communities, the CNE is an annual family tradition.

Exhibition Place mixed-use development in Toronto.

Exhibition Place is a publicly owned mixed-use district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located by the shoreline of Lake Ontario, just west of downtown. The 197-acre (80 ha) site includes exhibit, trade, and banquet centres, theatre and music buildings, monuments, parkland, sports facilities, and a number of civic, provincial, and national historic sites. The district's facilities are used year-round for exhibitions, trade shows, public and private functions, and sporting events.

Morden Hall Park park in Morden, London

Morden Hall Park is a National Trust park located on the banks of the River Wandle in Morden, south London. It covers over 50 hectares (125 acres) of parkland with the River Wandle meandering through it spanned by numerous footbridges. The estate contains Morden Hall itself, Morden Cottage, two Snuff Mills and the restored Stableyard with a dog-friendly cafe, exhibition space and second-hand bookshop. Morden Hall Park is also home to the National Trust's only Garden Centre.

Motspur Park Human settlement in England

Motspur Park, also known locally as West Barnes, is a residential suburb in south-west London, in the New Malden district. It straddles the boroughs of Kingston upon Thames and Merton.

Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) siege during the Crimean War which lasted from September 1854 until September 1855

The siege of Sevastopol lasted from October 1854 until September 1855, during the Crimean War. The allies landed at Eupatoria on 14 September 1854, intending to make a triumphal march to Sevastopol, the capital of the Crimea, with 50,000 men. The 56-kilometre (35 mi) traverse took a year of fighting against the Russians. Major battles along the way were Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, Tchernaya, Redan, and, finally, Malakoff. During the siege, the allied navy undertook six bombardments of the capital, on 17 October 1854; and on 9 April, 6 June, 17 June, 17 August, and 5 September 1855.

Woolwich Common park in the United Kingdom

Woolwich Common is a common in Woolwich in southeast London, England. It is partly used as military land and partly as an urban park. Woolwich Common is a conservation area. It is part of the South East London Green Chain. It is also the name of a street on the east side of the common, as well as an electoral ward of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The population of the ward at the 2011 Census was 17,499.

Netley Hospital Hospital in England

The Royal Victoria Hospital or Netley Hospital was a large military hospital in Netley, near Southampton, Hampshire, England. Construction started in 1856 at the suggestion of Queen Victoria but its design caused some controversy, chiefly from Florence Nightingale. Often visited by Queen Victoria, the hospital was extensively used during the First World War. It became the 28th US General Hospital during the invasion of mainland Europe in the Second World War. The main building – the world's longest building when it was completed – was entirely demolished in 1966, except for the chapel and former YMCA building which still survive. The extensive outbuildings, which once occupied a vast acreage of land to the rear of the main building, finally succumbed in 1978. The site of the hospital can be seen and explored in Royal Victoria Country Park.

Toronto Works and Emergency Services

The Toronto Works and Emergency Services department was responsible for a variety of services.

CNE Bandshell

The CNE Bandshell is an open-air concert venue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Built in 1936, it is located at Exhibition Place on the Lake Ontario lake shore. It hosts the annual music program of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and is also used for festivals and picnic events, for which the "Bandshell Park" can be rented from the City of Toronto.

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site National Historic Site of Canada located in British Columbia

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site is a 19th-century coastal artillery fort on the Colwood, British Columbia side of Esquimalt Harbour,. The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. Both the fort and lighthouse are managed and presented to the public by Parks Canada.

Queens South Africa Medal British Second Boer War medal

The Queen's South Africa Medal is a British campaign medal awarded to British and Colonial military personnel, and to civilians employed in an official capacity, who served in the Second Boer War in South Africa. Altogether twenty-six clasps were awarded, to indicate participation in particular actions and campaigns.

Gage Avenue (Hamilton, Ontario)

Gage Avenue is a Lower City arterial road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It starts off at Lawrence Road at the base of the Niagara Escarpment (mountain) at the south end of Gage Park. It is a two-way arterial road that extends north through the city's North End industrial neighbourhood and ends at Industrial Drive.

The Wimbledon and Sutton Railway (W&SR) was a railway company established by an Act of Parliament in 1910 to build a railway line in Surrey from Wimbledon to Sutton via Merton and Morden in the United Kingdom. The railway was promoted by local landowners hoping to increase the value of their land through its development for housing. It was initially planned that services on the railway would be operated by the London Underground's District Railway (DR) by an extension of its existing service from Wimbledon.

Toronto Solid Waste Management is the municipal service that handles the transfer and disposal of garbage as well as the processing and sale of recyclable materials collected through the blue box program in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It also coordinates programs to help residents and business reduce their production of waste.

Penn Symons British Army officer

Major-General Sir William Penn Symons KCB was a British Army officer who was mortally wounded as he commanded his forces at the Battle of Talana Hill during the Second Boer War. While his forces won the battle, they had to abandon their position and fall back to Ladysmith. Symons and the more severely wounded were left to the Boers; he died three days later as a prisoner of war. A monument to his valour was raised in Victoria Park, Saltash, Cornwall, UK.


See also

Royal eponyms in Canada

Coordinates: 42°59′20″N81°14′55″W / 42.9890°N 81.2486°W / 42.9890; -81.2486