London Ontario Real Estate News Blog

by Team Forster -

Dec. 5, 2019

10 Coolest Winter / Christmas Destinations About 2 Hours away from London, Ontario

Port Stanley Terminal Rail’s Santa Treats Train Ride

Are you looking to hit the road and explore more of Southern Ontario this Winter? London, Ontario has a lot to offer, but if you are considering a road trip, why not take in the diverse sights of the surrounding counties? Between camping, outdoor sports, spa days, and seasonal festivities and shopping, there’s a new activity right around the corner to add to your family’s winter tradition. The following 10 Day Trips are definitely worth the distance to reach them!

1. Take a Ride on Port Stanley Terminal Rail’s Santa Treats Train Rides

Our first stop is the one closest to London, the Port Stanley Terminal Rail. This tourist railway operates scenic tours of Elgin County by an old-fashioned train car. Some special experiences with the railway include seasonal activities and dining. One such special train is the Santa Treats Train, which is an especially wonderful way for children to meet Santa Claus. Tasty Christmas treats aside, the real treats on these trains are the heated cars, allowing passengers to enjoy the winter season from the comfort of a warm train. The Santa Treats Train operate over the last two weekends of November and every weekend in December until Christmas Day. If you are looking to make a weekend out of it, the Village of Port Stanley has as much to offer in the winter as it does in the summer. The beaches may be frosty, but that is all the more reason to sit down and enjoy your stay at many of the charming Port Stanley Bed and Breakfasts.    

Distance from London, Ontario: 40 minutes

2. Hit the Trails! Stratford’s Christmas Trail

Stratford’s Christmas Trail

Not all trails put you in the midst of the great Canadian outdoors! In fact, Stratford, Ontario is home to trails that are downright cozy. Through November and up until the week of Christmas, the City of Stratford offers a special way to complete holiday errands. The Stratford Christmas Trail consists of 25 stops, with most of the stores concentrated in charming downtown. The main benefit of the trail is the voucher system. For $30, trail-goers get six vouchers that can be exchanged for goods at the local artisan stores. Between each stop on the trail, visitors can also stop by the countless local cafés and restaurants to re-fuel for the next leg of the journey. The Christmas Trail is a seasonal event in Stratford, but other year-round trails can be combined together for a jam-packed day of Stratford goodies! Two other trails offered by the city are the Bacon & Ale Trail and the Chocolate Trail. Both trails are self-guided and have trail vouchers for $30 that can be exchanged for appropriate treats. If there’s a bacon, ale, or chocolate lover on your list, then it makes perfect sense to add those stops to your Christmas Stratford Tour. 

Distance from London, Ontario: 55 minutes

3. Winter Camping and Activities at Pinery Provincial Park

Winter camping at Pinery Provincial Park

If you thought the sandy beaches of Lake Huron for summer enjoyment only, think again! Pinery Provincial Park, located North of London in the Grand Bend area of Lambton County, is open all year long - and yes, that includes the winter season! This Ontario Park offers beautiful wintertime forests, dunes, and snow-covered beaches. More impressive than the scenery is the range of activities available even in the winter. Visitors to the Park can enjoy snowshoeing, tobogganing, and 38km of cross-country ski trails. Another popular activity is winter camping - or ‘glamping’ if you prefer, which can be done in an RV or in a nice, warm, yurt rental complete with furniture and electricity.

If winter camping isn’t your style, then consider checking in to the Oakwood Resort in Grand Bend. The resort is about 10 minutes away from Pinery and offers dining and spa packages alongside the relaxing rooms. Before leaving Grand Bend, be sure to check out the awesome spread of local shops and restaurants to make the road trip complete. 

Distance from London, Ontario: 1 hour

4. Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort, Kitchener

Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort, Kitchener

If you have mastered the slopes at London’s Boler Mountain and are looking for new hills and trails to descend, then Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort is just over an hour away from London in Kitchener, Ontario. Chicopee offers nine trails, which includes two easy, four medium, and three difficult hills. In addition to those nine, Chicopee also has an easy “Kid Zone” trail and a challenging “Racer’s Alley” servicing the downhill racing scene at the hill. A terrain park is also available for public use and for specific lessons about jumps, tricks, and freestyle. On the topic of lessons, Chicopee instructors teach both skiing and snowboarding to a variety of ages and a range of levels, including a “discover” course aimed at first time downhill explorers. Another of Chicopee’s specialties is the racing program, running lessons and leagues for both children and adults. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Chicopee also has a chalet for warming up and dining, a hill for Magic Carpet rides (with separate lifts), and a winter Disc Golf course. Lift tickets are available by day rate for a one-time adventure or by seasonal membership if Chicopee becomes a part of your winter weekend routine.

Distance from London, Ontario: 1 Hour and 10 minutes

5. Kitchener Christkindl Market: The Original German Christmas Market

Kitchener Christkindl Market: The Original German Christmas Market

The Christkindl Market is a four day festival and market in Kitchener, Ontario. The name comes from German and calls back to the Christmas traditions of Medieval Europe. This award-winning event has been running in Kitchener for over 20 years and spreading a traditional kind of Christmas cheer. In 2019, the festival is taking place between December 5th to 8th in an outdoor village and the first two floors of the Kitchener City Hall with free admission. This one-stop Christmas shopping destination has over 100 vendors offering gifts like local art, decor, traditional wooden toys, clothing, jewelry, and other handmade Christmas decorations. While you walk amongst the charming shops and decoration of this one-of-a-kind market, enjoy the venues entertainment featuring choirs, children’s shows, blacksmithing demonstrations, and other musical performances from open to close, all weekend long. It’s not a German Christmas Market without the baked goods! Many of those 100 vendors are bakers offering popular treats for the holidays like strudel, fritters, shortbread, and chocolate! You can snack on the treats as you go, enjoying them alongside a warm cup of apple cider or alcohol-free Glühwein, or tuck them away as the perfect holiday gift for later in the season!  

Distance from London, Ontario: 1 hour and 20 minutes

6. Keep Warm at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

Christmas at Cambridge Butterfly Conservator

If the winter, wind, and snow has got you down, then the tropical interior of the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory will be a great change of pace. The Conservatory facility is over 10,000 square feet, filled with thousands of species of butterflies, exotic plants, flowing waters, and other features designed to mimic the natural butterfly habitat. Other exhibits include crystals, art, other insects, and even some animals. No day-trip to the Conservatory is complete without a visit to the aptly named  Chrysalis Cafe which serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and other light lunch menu options for adults and children as well. All of those are just the year-round attractions of the Conservatory, there are also special events just for the winter season. First off is the special Milk & Cookies with Santa event with treats and crafts for children, then the Conservatory remains open on New Years Eve Day and Family Day with self-guided holiday activities. Another winter exhibit is the “Flight of the White” from December to January where the tropical Conservatory gardens are decorated with Christmas Poinsettia, lights, and the star of the show: Rice Paper Butterflies. The large, white wingspans of this friendly species imitate the falling snow outside.

Distance from London, Ontario: 1 Hour and 10 minutes 

7. Celebrate a Canadian Treasure with the Icewine Festival 

Niagara Icewine Festival

You are probably familiar with Canada’s world-class reputation as a producer of maple syrup, but there is another bottled Canadian treasure that rivals even classic Canadian “liquid gold”. Canada is one of the world’s best makers of icewine and the Icewine Festival celebrated throughout the Niagara Region honours that legacy. Icewine, as the name implies, is made from grapes that were frozen on the vine, making chilly Ontario a prime growing region for the luxury dessert wine. The Icewine Festival takes place across the Niagara Region with events spanning January to February. The festival includes the Niagara Icewine Gala on January 10th, the Icewine Discovery Pass over several weekends in January, and the Snow Globe Soirée taking place January 16th to February 16th. The Discovery Pass will take guests on a tour of Niagara wineries to experience new food and wine pairings while the Gala and Soirée events offer unparalleled evening dining in view of the Falls. In addition to the main events, several towns in the region are offering their own spin on the season including Twenty Valley’s ‘Winter Winefest’ and Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Icewine Village.

Distance from London, Ontario: 2 Hours + Tour Time

8. Experience the Niagara Winter Festival of Lights

Niagara Festival of Lights

Another feature of the Niagara Region’s winter season is the award-winning Winter Festival of Lights running from mid November until January. During the festival, lights line the streets of Niagara Falls, some forming elaborate art displays and others leading the way to the Falls themselves colourfully illuminated. The route of lights runs along the waterfront, looping into more displays at Dufferin Islands. In addition to the nightly lights, the Festival also features special opening ceremony displays and New Years Fireworks. If you aren’t able to make it to either, a weekly firework show takes place every Friday evening for the duration of the festival.   

Distance from London, Ontario: 2 Hours and 10 minutes + Tour Time

9. Start a Christmas Tradition at Sloan’s Village and Tree Farm

Sloan’s Village and Tree Farm

Having a real Christmas Tree can both brighten and freshen the holidays. When it comes to choosing that perfect tree, consider visiting Sloan’s Village for a prime tree nursery and a Christmas wonderland experience for the enjoyment of all ages. Between its two village locations in Bothwell, Ontario (near Chatham-Kent), Sloan’s has an unparalleled selection of pre-cut and u-cut trees to suit any holiday tradition. After choosing a tree, you can also enjoy some of the village’s attractions and activities like the obstacle course, petting zoo, sand mountain, family camp fires, and the Village Express train ride.

Distance from London, Ontario: 1 Hour

10. Cross the Border: Winter in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan

Christmas in Windsor Ontario

The last destination on the list is more of a two-for-one. Many people know that Windsor, the third largest city in Southwestern Ontario, is about two hours away from London, but Windsor’s sister city in Detroit, Michigan isn’t that much farther. In winter, Windsor offers Christmas markets, festivals of lights, stage performances, and concerts alongside their year-long assets like restaurants, shopping, and galleries. Once you’re in Windsor, crossing the border into Detroit is a simple 10-minute trip that opens up a lot of great new holiday possibilities. Detroit can be a convenient destination for U.S. shopping, skating and dining at Campus Martius Park, or spending the afternoon and evening at the Detroit Zoo. The Zoo has a special holiday event running from November into January called Wild Lights, which features a total of 280 light-up displays of Christmas classics and zoo favourites alike, a skating rink, and a 4D Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer show.

Distance from London, Ontario: 2 Hours (Windsor), + 10 minutes (Detroit)

Ontario is a pretty big province, but because of the City of London’s central location, there are tons of great attractions about two hours away. So, take a road trip, enjoy the best that Southern Ontario has to offer, and make new holiday memories this winter!  


Posted in News
Nov. 28, 2019

10 Must-See Christmas and Winter Attractions In and Around London, Ontario

Christmas in London Ontario

As a recipient of Lake Effect Snow, London, Ontario can quickly become a wonderland in the wintertime. While frozen ponds and snow-covered forests are beautiful to enjoy at a distance, the cold weather tends to keep people inside where it’s warm. In an attempt to make the most of the holiday season and explore winter while it lasts, here are 10 fantastic destinations in and around London, Ontario for outdoor activities, holiday cheer, and family fun.  

1. See Downtown London and Victoria Park in Winter 

The first destination is a multi-stop tour of downtown London. The tour begins with the Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park around the end of the November. From then on to the end of December, the Park is illuminated nightly, setting the scene for a beautifully lit evening walk. Once Victoria Park’s “winter wonderland” is open, another draw is the free, public skating that turns the park into an outdoor skating rink. From December onward to March (weather permitting), skating is open daily with rentals and skate sharpening available as well. 

If you are downtown anyway, you might as well check out some of the other stops on the winter tour as well! Next is the Covent Garden Market, a year-round indoor market with all the benefits of shopping local in one convenient spot.  Throughout December, the market is also hosting a variety of special holiday events and concerts - not to mention an excellent selection of seasonal, local goods for gifts, entertaining, or personal enjoyment. While you’re there,  grab some tickets for a London Knights game at the next-door Budweiser Gardens! There are also plenty of restaurants and stores to make Downtown London a one-stop shopping destination for the holiday season! Even if you aren’t down there for shopping, the Museum London and the Grand Theatre are a memorable way to spend a winter afternoon.   

2. Step Back in Time this Winter with Fanshawe Pioneer Village

Fanshawe Pionner Christmas Village London Ontario

Located Northeast of London’s core, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is a living monument to the history of Middlesex County. The Pioneer Village strives to recreate an accurate representation of early rural communities using restored buildings, tools, and costumed staff members. Especially in winter, the village knows how to celebrate the holidays in style! Exemplified by a Christmas dinner right out of the 1800s or a breakfast with St. Nicholas himself, the village has a festive lineup of events to highlight the holiday season. Moving into February, the village decorates for winter and offers sleigh rides, wagon rides, maple taffy on snow, and other traditional seasonal activities! Fanshawe Village is worth visiting for the events alone, but the pleasant winter atmosphere and chestnuts roasting on an open fire provide an endless source of winter fun for visitors of all ages!

3. Skiing, Snowboarding, and Tubing at Boler Mountain 

As soon as the snow stays on the ground, it’s ‘go time’ for Boler Mountain! During its winter season, this hill in Byron in the Southwestern corner of London turns into a hub for local winter sports. Boler Mountain boasts fifteen downhill trails, four chairlifts, three tube runs, and a terrain park for freestyle play. The hill’s Snow School provides Ski and Snowboarding programs for children ages 5 to 15, a separate stream for adult lessons, and private lessons in skiing or snowboarding. With the holiday program, certain lessons and programs continue over the Christmas holiday and over March Break! Additionally, Boler Mountain is serviced by its very own Tech Shop which provides equipment waxing, sharpening, and adjustment on site. In 2017, a 16,000 square foot chalet was opened, providing a warm and relaxing spot to take a well-deserved break from the slopes. With family deals on season passes and holiday availability, Boler Mountain is the best place near London, Ontario to get your family and friends hooked on winter sports!

4. Winter Season Skating at Storybook Gardens

Skating Trail Storybook Gardens London Ontario

Springbank Park is beautiful in every season, but there is another reason to make the trip to the forested path along the Thames River this winter. Storybook Gardens, the family park themed after nursery rhymes and fairytales, can be found right on the banks of the Thames in Springbank Park. In warmer months, Storybook Gardens offers rides, play structures, and splash pads for visitors to enjoy all while promoting literacy for children. Beginning in December and spanning the remaining winter months, Storybook Gardens opens its outdoor skate track, complete with a pit-stop for beavertails and hot chocolate. Other events in the Gardens include the Snowybook Village and a special New Years Celebration with an early countdown, crafts, and campfire for younger skaters.

5. Experience a Victorian Christmas at the Eldon House

Snowfall on the historic Eldon House in downtown London paints a stunning picture of Christmas seasons passed. Though it has been in the City of London’s care since the 60s, Eldon House is one of the oldest homes in the city and has been preserved as a perfect time capsule in the heart of the otherwise bustling city. In addition to its rich heritage, Eldon House also functions as a bit of a museum, offering education tours and other activities to teach residents of London and visitors about the history of the elegant house. Starting in November, special events at the Eldon House begin to take a festive turn with holiday table setting workshops, Victorian Christmas decorations and exhibits, Christmas Tea, and a Christmas Ghost Tour of the house. In January, with Christmas festivities out of the way, Eldon House is also offering a New Year's celebration in the drawing room and even more events into the New Year.    

6. Complete the Christmas Market Tour in and Around London, Ontario

Christmas Markets London Ontario

Between November and December, London and the surrounding area play host to Christmas Markets and Holiday Craft Fairs in a variety of local flavours. First is the Old World Christmas Market held at the end of November. Taking place inside the Bellamere Winery, this market invites visitors into the past with period-appropriate costumes, local artisans, hot beverages, a lunch room, and carolers. Right on the last weekend of November, the London Christmas Craft Festival takes over the Western Fair District for four days! This all-ages festival boasts a roster of 200 vendors from across Ontario and Quebec as well as family entertainment like meeting with Santa Claus. In mid-December, the Covent Garden Market hosts its “Christmas Merry Makers Fair” selling a variety of local, handmade decor, jewelry, clothing, and more -  just in time for the Christmas season! What better way to enjoy the festive season, tackle that extensive holiday shopping list, and support your local community? Whether it is a bazaar at the nearest church or community centre or a larger multi-day spectacular, Christmas Markets are a truly magical gathering of local talent and holiday enthusiasts!

7. A Canadian Tradition: McLachlan Maple Syrup and Pancake House, Komoka, Ontario

While Maple Syrup is a staple in Canadian kitchens and stereotypes alike, seeing how the sweet, sweet topping gets made can be turned into a fun family outing. Maple Syrup is collected and processed in the later part of Winter, but come February  - usually just in time for Family Day - McLachlan Maple Syrup and Pancake House opens to the public! Have you ever seen the white plastic jugs depicting a quaint winter scene in your local grocery store and wondered where it came from? Well, the McLachlan family farm is actually only a 25 minute drive West from the centre of London, in nearby Komoka, Ontario. The farm offers Horse-drawn wagon rides, tours of the tapping and boiling facilities on the farm, a delightful pancake house serving a Canadian Maple breakfast, and a small playground for the children visiting the farm. If you are curious about the journey of Maple Syrup or looking for a full afternoon with the family, a sugar bush is just the sweet treat you are looking for!

8. Visit Santa’s Cabin at Apple Land Station, Thorndale

Santa's Cabin Appleland Station London Ontario

Apple Land Station, a great Fall destination, changes with the seasons and becomes an equally awesome winter fun land for families. The farm is located in Thorndale, Ontario, just a 20 minute drive from downtown London. While the apple picking orchards are closed for the winter, a new area called Santa’s Cabin opens up. Accessible by a train ride, Santa’s Cabin is a chance for younger children to meet and chat with Santa Claus as well as a unique photo opportunity for parents. While Santa and the train ride are certainly the main attraction, the winter area includes a tree barn where families can go to pick out their Christmas Tree for the holidays. The apple harvest from the fall can still be enjoyed by visitors in the form of fresh baked goods or preserves and chutneys in the farm shop. The bakery serves fresh sweet and savoury pies alongside hot soups all made without the use of preservatives for an authentic farm taste. The best way to combat the cold is with one of Apple Land Station’s hand-made mile high apple pies! 

9. Find New Trails at Circle R Ranch, Delaware

Just because there is snow on the outdoor trails doesn’t mean that they close for the season! Outdoor facilities like Circle R Ranch actually take advantage of the winter snowfall to create new opportunities for fun and physical activity. The Ranch is located 20 minutes Southwest of London in Delaware, Ontario. During the winter season, Circle R Ranch grooms 13km worth of trails through their land to enjoy both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. They offer six different trails ranging in difficulty from “easiest” to “more” and “most difficult” at the top end. Facilities at the Ranch include a ski maintenance area, a lunch room and snack bar, and a shop for equipment sales and rentals. It can be difficult to go jogging or play outdoor sports in the wintertime, but individuals and families can stay active and learn new skills by picking a pair of skis or snowshoes. So bundle up, enjoy the picturesque forest in wintertime, and hit those trails!

10. Pick the Perfect Christmas Tree at Tree Lane Farms, Ilderton

Tree Lane Farms Ilderton Ontario

Nothing beats the fresh smell of pine that comes from a real Christmas tree in the living room. If it’s a longstanding family tradition or one that you are curious about starting, then consider paying a visit to Tree Lane Farms in Ilderton, Ontario. Open from November through December, this unique winter experience is only a 25 minute drive North of downtown London. The farm offers White Spruce, White Pine, Fraser Fir, Serbian Spruce, and Korean Fir in pre-cut or U-cut options. What is a U-cut tree? That is a special opportunity for customers to not only choose this year’s special tree, but also to cut it down themselves. Talk about memorable! In addition to the trees, the farm also offers wagon rides, campfire settings, and live reindeer and alpacas as entertainment for guests of all ages. No trip to Tree Lane Farms is complete without visiting the retail store for a whimsical selection of Winter Seasonal and Christmas decor to personalize your new tree! 

In Canada, Winter lasts longer than most places. In many cases, our snowfall can start as early as November and persist until the end of March! Hopefully this list has provided some appealing alternatives to waiting for the weather to improve. Whether it’s attending festivals or fairs to prepare for Christmas and the holiday season or enjoying some wholesome winter activities, there are plenty of reasons to embrace the cold weather this winter in London, Ontario. 


Posted in Ilderton, Komoka, Thorndale
Sept. 23, 2019

Moving To Port Stanley? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Port Stanley [2019]

Living in Port Stanley Ontario

Many people fantasize about waterfront vacations: drinks on lakeside patios, relaxing with family on sandy beaches, having round-the-clock access to high quality water. Well, the Village of Port Stanley in southwestern Ontario meets all of those dream expectations and more. If you are thinking about making the move, then check out this ultimate guide to Port Stanley to see what this village can offer you!

Where is Port Stanley? What is the Population?

Map of Port Stanley, Ontario

Where is Port Stanley? Right on the water, of course. Located right on the shore of Lake Erie, this village really couldn’t get any more “waterfront”! In terms of land, the Village of Port Stanley is one of the communities that make up the Central Elgin Township in the larger Elgin County. Port Stanley occupies 3.3 square kilometers of land and houses a population of just over 2,100 people. The population of Port Stanley alone is 17% of the total population in the Central Elgin Township. The village is under 30 minutes from the 401 Highway, which connects it tidily with the rest of Southern Ontario. Its closest urban neighbour is St. Thomas, Ontario which is 16 km to the North. Even further North is the larger London, Ontario at about 40 km away.

Living and Working in Port Stanley: Real Estate and Services

Port Stanley, Ontario Real Estate

When comparing the Real Estate markets in the Central Elgin area, Port Stanley comes out on top for number of homes for sale and overall market activity. There is something special about a waterfront town that draws people in like nothing else. In Elgin County, the market has picked up in 2019, seeing 25% more homes listed and 1% more homes sold than in 2018. The average listing price of a home in Elgin County is around $360,000, which is also rising in 2019.

In Port Stanley, homes are for sale as low as $350,000 and as high as $1.3 million dollars with an average price in between of around $560,000. Housing options include rural cottages, lakeside vacation homes, and year-round residential properties. Two new developments are in the process of being built in Port Stanley, Sunset Bluffs and Kokomo Beach Club. Sunset Bluffs is currently building its fourth Phase, offering bungalows and two-story homes starting in the $200,000s. Kokomo Beach Club is a newer development right on the waters of Port Stanley Beach with single family homes starting in the mid $400,000 range and condominium suites starting around $300,000.

Homes for sale in Port Stanley

The Commute

As a desirable destination in the Great Lakes region, Port Stanley employs a lot of people locally in the tourism and hospitality sector. However, if work takes you to St. Thomas or even London, Ontario, the commute from a lakeside property in Port Stanley is still manageable. Heading North, St. Thomas is 20 minutes away and London is a slightly further 40 minute drive. 


Port Stanley falls under the jurisdiction of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. There is one public school within the village called Kettle Creek which takes students from Kindergarten up to Grade 8. After elementary school, children in the public board need to travel to secondary school in St. Thomas. Both extended and French Immersion programs are offered in St. Thomas as well. All options for the Catholic school board are located in St. Thomas.


Thames Valley District School Board

Kettle Creek Public School (JK to Grade 8), Port Stanley

Éva Circé Côté French Immersion Public School (SK to Grade 8), St. Thomas

Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion Public School (Grade 7 to Grade 8), St. Thomas

Arthur Voaden Secondary School (Grades 9 to 12), St. Thomas

Central Elgin Collegiate Institute (Grades 9 to 12), St. Thomas

Parkside Collegiate Institute (Grades 9 to 12), St. Thomas


London District Catholic School Board

St. Anne’s (JK to Grade 8)(English and French Immersion), St. Thomas

St. Joseph’s High (Grades 9 to 12), St. Thomas

Mother Teresa Secondary (French Immersion) (Grades 9 to 12), London

History of Port Stanley and Area

history of Port Stanley, Ontario

What do Port Stanley and the NHL Stanley Cup have in common? They are named after the same family! Originally, the area of Port Stanley was known as Kettle Creek, but it was changed to Stanley in honor of Edward Smith-Stanley, a member of British nobility and parliament. It was Smith-Stanley’s son, Frederick Stanley who would later provide the name of the coveted hockey trophy.

The original settlement, Kettle Creek, was founded in the early 1800s by Lieutenant-Colonel John Bostwick. Access to the waters of Lake Erie ensured that Port Stanley was a historically significant area in Southwestern Ontario. Since its completion in 1832, Port Stanley’s harbour was essential for the commercial fishing industry, marine trade, and as a port of entry to Canada. The settlement continued to develop, the London and Port Stanley Railway arriving in the 1850s, and more railroad development on the horizon. In the decades to follow, Port Stanley would begin to cultivate its reputation as a vacation destination - one that it enjoys to this day. By 1874, Port Stanley was formally incorporated as a Village. In 1998, the Village of Port Stanley would join the Village of Belmont and the Yarmouth Township in forming the municipality of Central Elgin.

Things to do In and Around Port Stanley

Things to do in Port Stanley, Ontario

Public Beaches:

The most important part of any waterfront community is the water! All of Port Stanley’s beach access is to the waters of Lake Erie. Lake Erie is the second-smallest of the five great lakes and the one with the shallowest and warmest water. Port Stanley offers four public beaches, Erie Rest Beach, Little Beach, Pumphouse Beach, and the Port Stanley Main Beach. The Main Beach has been designated a “Blue Flag” Beach, which means that it has been recognized for its environment, safety, and management. This popular beach is well groomed, featuring sandy-bottom lake water and a rescue service on duty during the summer. Because of the wind in the lake area, the waters of Port Stanley can be the ideal environment for sails and boards alike.

Do you prefer looking at water without necessarily being on a beach? Then consider taking a stroll down Port Stanley’s recently reopened pier. The walkway takes pedestrians out over the waters of Lake Erie all the way to the Port Stanley Lighthouse at the end. After walking all that way, the reward is a stunning view of the shorelines from out on the water.


Local Attractions:

Port Stanley has activities for everyone to enjoy in just about every season. Spring and summer attract a lot of attention as the weather warms up and Southwestern Ontario begins to emerge from hibernation. Port Stanley is no exception: in addition to their beaches, the Port Stanley Festival Theatre kicks off its Summer Season with shows and workshops. Golf courses change from white to green as the local clubs open their doors: Kettle Creek Golf & Country Club, The Bluffs Golf Club, and Redtail Golf Club are all a short drive from the beaches and shopping in the core of the village. Visitors and residents can also enjoy a ride on the Port Stanley Terminal Rail, a scenic trip through the village and surrounding area that changes depending on the season. The Terminal Rail even offers special festive cars like the Easter Egg Hunt Train, The Pumpkin Train, The Halloween Murder Mystery Train, and the Winter’s Santa Treats Train. 

Homes for sale in Port Stanley

Top 5 Restaurants in Port Stanley

Restaurants in Port Stanley, Ontario

1. Barnacles Beerhouse and Eatery

Considering its proximity to the water, it would be a crime not to include a seafood specialty on this list. Barnacles serves deep-fried appetizers, burgers, wings, and other finger food, but the best part of their menu is the seafood section. They offer fresh Perch and Pickerel meals as well as beer-battered fish and chips. If you’re in the mood for just beer, Barnacles has a selection of local brews that are delicious alone or paired with items on the menu.

2. GT’s on the Beach

Who needs a poolside patio when you can have one on the beach? GT’s is only open for the summer season, but when better to enjoy beach volleyball, the sound of the waves, and a nice, cold drink? Alongside the absolutely MASSIVE drink list, GT’s also offers a full menu of refreshing fusion flavours and taste-breakers - and naturally, seafood right out of the lake.

3. Village Square Coffee House

 If you need a break from the sunshine or a warm drink on a colder day, then the Village Square Coffee House needs to be on your radar. They offer hot coffee, iced coffee, espresso, and smoothies - whatever you need to battle the weather in any season. They have daily specials on meals, serving soup, chili, stir fry, and lighter options like sandwiches. If you are after something sweet, nothing goes better with coffee than this coffee house’s collection of homemade baked goods.

4. SoLo on Main

Fresh ingredients, colourful plating, and a charming atmosphere all come together in SoLo on Main. Take a step back from the beach and appreciate the Village of Port Stanley through its local flavours. SoLo offers a curated menu for both lunch and dinner each of which features an extensive selection of premium dishes from both land and sea with a wine to match. The clean-looking menu also clearly highlights gluten-free and vegetarian options. 

5. The Kettle Creek Inn

This inn was built in 1849, intended as a summer getaway home originally; it was converted into an inn 70 years down the line. Kettle Creek has been restored and maintained, but never lost its quaint, country charm. Even if you’re not looking for a place to stay in Port Stanley, the Inn is worth visiting for the dining alone. Guests can choose to enjoy the elegant, full-course menu in the parlor, dining rooms, pub, or under the gazebo.

Port Stanley has been promoted as a prime getaway spot since the 1800s and with everything it has to offer, it’s not hard to see why. It is a rare gem of a village which marries rich, southwestern Ontario heritage with warm, sandy beaches. With the recent subdivision development in the area, there is no better time to investigate a piece of the Village of Port Stanley for yourself.

Homes for sale in Port Stanley


Posted in Buying
Sept. 20, 2019

Moving To Ailsa Craig? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Ailsa Craig [2019]

Incorporated in 1874, the Village of Ailsa Craig is known as the origin of a couple of decorated racers. Despite their famous, fast-paced residents, this quiet village is the picture of peace of mind. If you are looking for a community in Middlesex County with access to both a big city in London, Ontario and the beaches of Grand Bend, then consider sticking around to learn more about the great village of Ailsa Craig.

Where is Ailsa Craig, Ontario?

Map of Ailsa Craig, Ontario

The village of Ailsa Craig is one of the communities in the municipality of North Middlesex (Middlesex County). North Middlesex is North-West of London, Ontario and South of Grand Bend and the coastline of Lake Huron. The municipality has a total population of 6,352 people over nearly 600 square kilometers. It is largely rural, with pockets of small urban settlement like Ailsa Craig.

The Village of Ailsa Craig itself is located 34km South of Grand Bend. It was founded on the Ausable River which runs through the village and empties into Lake Huron. The nearest bigger cities are Strathroy 24 km South-West, London, Ontario 38 km South-East, and Stratford 55 km to the East.

Find your dream home in Ailsa Craig

Living and Working in Ailsa Craig, Ontario

Ultimate guide to living in Ailsa Craig, Ontario

North Middlesex is quiet as far as real estate markets go. Without much in the way of new developments, a lot of what is for sale in Ailsa Craig and the surrounding area is either farmland or older homes on substantial acreage. In Ailsa Craig and the nearby Parkhill, it is possible to see homes built within the last 10 years on the market, but they are quite a rare sight. The Real Estate climate in Middlesex County overall has improved somewhat since 2018, boasting more homes sold after fewer days on the market. The average price for a home for sale in Middlesex County is just under the $500,000 mark.

The village of Ailsa Craig is in a central location to conveniently access a number of commuting destinations where the job market is larger. It is 22 minutes away from Strathroy, 35 minutes from London, and 45 minutes from Stratford. A little further East, Ailsa Craig is an hour away from Woodstock.

For children in Ailsa Craig, there are two elementary public schools located in the village boundaries and other options in the surrounding communities in North Middlesex. The municipality is considered part of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. Additional services and program options can be found in the nearby towns of Strathroy or London.

Thames Valley District School Board

McGillivray Central Public School (JK to Grade 8), Ailsa Craig
East Williams Memorial Public School (JK to Grade 8), Ailsa Craig
J.S. Buchanan French Immersion Public School (SK to Grade 8), Strathroy
North Middlesex District High School (Grades 9 to 12), Parkhill
Strathroy District Collegiate Institute (Grades 9 to 12), Strathroy

London District Catholic School Board

Sacred Heart (JK to Grade 8), Parkhill
St. John French Immersion (K to Grade 8), London
Holy Cross Secondary (Grades 9 to 12), Strathroy
Mother Teresa Secondary (French Immersion) (Grades 9 to 12), London

Find your dream home in Ailsa Craig

History of Ailsa Craig

Grand Trunk Railway Ailsa Craig, Ontario

The community of Ailsa Craig was founded in 1861 by David Craig and W.G. Shipley. It shares a name with an uninhabited, volcanic island off the coast of Scotland which is a bird sanctuary today.

The newly completed line of the Grand Trunk Railway running through the area brought interest and settlers with it and Ailsa Craig began its early growth. Eventually, the community grew enough to be formally incorporated as a village in 1874. In 2001, Ailsa Craig joined together with McGillivray, East Williams, West Williams, and Parkhill to form the Municipality of North Middlesex during a period of restructuring in the County.

Ailsa Craig is also the once-home of two successful racers, John Duncan Campbell and Earl Ross. Campbell, a harness racer, was born in Ailsa Craig in 1955 and is featured in the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and the London, Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. He holds the honour of over 10,000 races won and being the youngest entrant in the American Hall of Fame. While born in Prince Edward Island, Earl Ross was a celebrated resident of Ailsa Craig until his death in 2014.   He was a NASCAR driver who achieved fame for being the first Canadian to win the Winston Cup and won Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 1974. His achievements are celebrated in the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, FOAR SCORE Hall of Fame, and the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame.

In more recent racing history, 2010 marked a year of controversy for the village. Since 1974, Ailsa Craig had held an annual “Turtle Race” where wild turtles were removed from the Ausable River in order to compete in contests of speed. The controversy began when the event was featured in a Toronto newspaper piece, which garnered more attention than it had ever received before. In the midst of outcry and backlash, the Ministry of Natural Resources stepped in and ended the practice. Since then, the village’s annual celebration: the Gala Days has had to march on without the Turtle Races, but they still use the mascot to commemorate the history of the event. In the spirit of the original Turtle Races, community organizers now host “Rubber Turtle River Races” instead.  

Things to Do In and Around Ailsa Craig

Ye olde towne hall Ailsa Craig, Orlando

Enjoy Local Scenery:

The Ailsa Craig Main Street is where all of the errands get to run in the village. A nice collection of stores and services line the main street that runs through the village. The local pub: The Crown & Turtle, a gas station, a hardware store, the grocery store and LCBO, as well as a few other offices and stops along the way. The village has just enough that you don’t have to leave Ailsa Craig to do your shopping, so you can avoid those weekend parking lot battles in the larger cities.

Also on the main street is the Ye Olde Towne Hall, the community centre which doubles as a theatre. They host local parties, events, and meetings like any community centre, but they also offer concerts, theatre performances, and interactive dinner theatre. The beautiful old building is also an Ailsa Craig heritage treasure, so it’s worth seeing for the exterior too. 

Ailsa Craig Gala Days:

Since Ailsa Craig’s centennial celebration in 1974, the Gala Days event has been a tradition in the village. The weekend of July 19th, 2019 marked the event’s 45th anniversary of running. What started out as Turtle Racing has evolved into a huge, multi-day celebration of community and heritage. Community groups and volunteers work together to provide activities for children, a parade, a race, a pet show, a beer tent, and much more over the course of the weekend.

Grand Bend:

The beaches of Grand Bend are only 25 minutes away from the Ailsa Craig main street! If sand, sun, and swimming don’t appeal to you, then there are plenty of other attractions to inspire a day-trip to Grand Bend. The summer season is this area’s peak with restaurants, wineries, markets, galleries, and antique stores to enjoy.

Despite this little village’s racing claims to the hall of fame, residents of Ailsa Craig take the time to soak in the beautiful rural scenery of their village. A quaint, local scene and access to prime day-trip destinations should put Ailsa Craig on your roadmap. So, if you are looking to make Ailsa Craig more than a pit stop, take a look at properties for sale in the village and the nearby North Middlesex municipality.

Find your dream home in Ailsa Craig

Posted in Buying
Sept. 19, 2019

Moving To Belmont? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Belmont [2019]

Part with water Belmont, Ontario

Belmont is a village in Elgin County located between London and St. Thomas, Ontario. As southwestern Ontario has shifted and changed, Belmont changed with it. The little village has been a part of two different counties and two municipalities over its 168 years of life. These days, it’s considered a bedroom community to London. With easy access to St. Thomas, Port Stanley, and its own amenities, this bedroom community has an excellent view. 

Where is Belmont? What is the Population?

Map of Belmont, Ontario

The Village of Belmont covers an area of just under 1 square kilometer. It is a part of the Central Elgin Township in Elgin County. The population of Belmont is 1,140 people as of 2016, which equals 9% of Central Elgin’s total population (Belmont, former Yarmouth Township, and Port Stanley).

Belmont is located about 7.5 km South of the 401 Highway. London, Ontario is 24 kilometers North-West and St. Thomas is 20 kilometers South-West. Belmont’s Lake Erie waterfront neighbour, the Village of Port Stanley, is 35 kilometers away.   

Real Estate in Belmont: Live Here

Real Estate in Belmont, Ontario

Apart from the early settlement boom in the 1800s, Belmont didn’t see any sudden population increase until the 1980s. Because of that, homes in Belmont are either part of a development in the last 40 years, or they were built even earlier than that. The most recent housing development in Belmont is called Robin Ridge Estates, a trendy, new, and desirable area in the village featuring homes built in 2017 onward. The subdivision has two phases of single family home development with one or two-story options in addition to a condo phase.

Home for sale in Belmont, Ontario

Work and School

Commuting to and from Belmont is a great option for those who work in London, St. Thomas, or another of Belmont’s neighbours. Thanks to quick access to the 401, Belmont is only 15 minutes away from the White Oaks area of London and 25 minutes total away from downtown to the North. South of Belmont, St. Thomas is about a 20 minute drive away. Many of the schools that service Belmont are in London or St. Thomas. There are also several schools between both boards located in Aylmer, which is 17 minutes South-East of Belmont.

Public schools in Belmont are in the Thames Valley District School Board while Catholic schools are in the London District Catholic School Board. Students in Belmont don’t have a close school yet, but the public Board is proposing a new Kindergarten to Grade 8 school for the village of Belmont in the near future. In the meantime, students can attend schools in the nearby area:


Thames Valley District School Board

South Dorchester Public School (JK to Grade 6), Belmont

Davenport Public School (Grade 7 to 8), Aylmer

East Elgin Secondary School (Grade 9 to 12), Aylmer

Éva Circé Côté French Immersion Public School (SK to Grade 8), St. Thomas

Pierre Elliott Trudeau French Immersion Public School (Extended French Program), (Grade 7 to 8), St. Thomas

Parkside Collegiate Institute (French Immersion and Extended French Programs), (Grades 9-12), St. Thomas

Arthur Voaden Secondary School (Grades 9 to 12), St. Thomas


London Catholic District School Board

Assumption (JK to 8), Aylmer

St. Anne’s (French Immersion)(K to Grade 8), St. Thomas

St. Joseph’s High (Grades 9 to 12), St. Thomas

Mother Teresa Secondary (French Immersion)(Grades 9 to 12), London

History of Belmont

History of Belmont, Ontario

Did you know…

There are “Belmont” towns and villages all over the world! Besides in several Canadian provinces, there are “Belmonts” in Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States of America. Belmont was also the fictional town in Italy where Shakespeare set The Merchant of Venice. But what about Belmont, Ontario?

Belmont was first surveyed in 1851 and the village experienced a modest growth over the next 30 years as businesses and new residents arrived. Belmont’s biggest boon in those early days was its proximity to St. Thomas which allowed the local business to experience some of the traffic. 

Elgin County, which includes Belmont now, was originally part of Middlesex County, but separated in 1852. Belmont remained a part of Middlesex County until 1948 when the village became a part of Elgin County as the result of joining with South Dorchester. In the 1980s, Belmont began to see more and more people moving to the village. This was because people were starting to realize just how close Belmont is to London, earning the designation of a “bedroom community”. Over a decade later, Belmont became a part of Central Elgin alongside the Township of Yarmouth and the Village of Port Stanley when the municipality was formed in 1998.

Homes for sale in Belmont, Ontario

Things to Do In and Around Belmont, Ontario

Things to do in Belmont, Ontario

            In Belmont:

 This village has plenty of local attractions to check out...

Starting with the food: grab breakfast at the Belmont Diner, enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet on the weekend at Belmont Town Restaurant, then top it off with a drink at The Barking Cat! Do you like to golf? Belmont Golf Club has an 18-hole course for you! Built up from a bean field in 1961, the club has been expanding steadily into the neighbouring farmland over the years.


Belmont is close to the White Oaks area in the South side of London. In fact, it shaves 10 minutes off of the drive to London to run errands in White Oaks. Without having to drive into the core of the city, the White Oaks area offers access to Victoria Hospital, the 160-store White Oaks Mall, and so many more stores and restaurants along Wellington Road in between.

            St. Thomas:

Another neighbour, St. Thomas, has an exciting collection of outings, shopping, and restaurants, making for a great day-trip. Nature-lovers can pay a visit to the Dan Patterson or Dalewood Conservation Areas for picnics, trails, and a dog park. History buffs can spend hours going through the Elgin County Railway Museum, the Elgin Military Museum, and paying their respects to the “Jumbo the Elephant” Monument. As for restaurants, St. Thomas’ lively collection includes specialty, family, and taphouse establishments - whatever your interest, you can find it in St. Thomas.

Looking for more St. Thomas? Check out our ultimate guide to St. Thomas from 2018.

            Port Stanley:

Nothing is better than a Summer getaway to the water. With the shores of Lake Erie so close to the Village of Port Stanley, Belmont is only half-an-hour away from fun in the sun. The following four beaches, Erie Rest Beach, Little Beach, Pumphouse Beach, and Main Beach are all open to the public and have rescue services on duty during the Summer. No trip to Port Stanley is complete without stopping to shop and dine by the waterfront before you go.

If you want to know more, consider reading up on Port Stanley in our guide to the village: Our ultimate guide to the village of Port Stanley.

Belmont has a lot to offer potential residents who are in the market for a great community and location all bundled into one spot. With new housing developments helping to keep the market current, there’s a lot of modern charm to this growing village.

Homes for sale in Belmont, Ontario

Posted in Buying
Sept. 10, 2019

Moving To Thamesford? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Thamesford [2019]

thames ontario splash pad

In the wide assortment of desirable small towns in Southwestern Ontario, Thamesford is set apart by its key location and vibrancy. Sitting at a cross between a branch of the Thames River and Dundas Street/Highway 2, Thamesford is about halfway between London, Ontario and the City of Woodstock. If a charming community outside of bigger Southwestern Ontario cities is something you are seeking, then this guide to living in Thamesford is for you!

thamesford ontario map

Where is Thamesford? How big is it?

Thamesford is a village, one of a handful of settlements that makes up the Zorra Township. It is located East of London along Dundas Street/Highway 2 and West of Woodstock along the same road. The Township stretches over urban and rural areas alike, occupying nearly 530 square kilometers in Oxford County and boasting a population of just over 8000 people. For comparison, the village of Thamesford had a population of 2,116 people in an area of 2.76 square kilometers as of the 2016 Canadian Census.  

thamesford ontario real estate

Real Estate in Thamesford: Living in Thamesford

Homes for sale in Thamesford can be divided into two groups. First are the older, more traditional houses that have been long-standing parts of the village. These homes are rarer to see on the market. The other group is made up of new developments and brand new or to-be-built properties as recent as 2019.

The most recent development is the subdivision of Thames Springs. The development, currently on its 8th phase, spans 94 acres of land in Thamesford. There are 10 different builders involved in the project building a variety of single-story and two-story homes with 2+ bedrooms. Prices in the area for a finished home begin in the low $500,000s and range to almost $700,000 at the top end.

There is potentially more development on the horizon for Thamesford. In 2018, Maple Leaf Foods permanently closed the doors of its Thamesford facility, leaving the factory and the 100+ acres of land that it sits on vacant. In the Summer of 2019, the Zorra Township announced that it  has entered a conditional agreement to purchase the site. Their proposed plan for the area includes diverse residential and mixed-use community developments.

Thamesford offers plenty of convenience for its residents. A lot of errands can be done locally, from the post office, to pharmacy trips, Tim Hortons, or eating out. On top of shopping, Thamesford also has a Public Library on Dundas Street and six public parks located throughout the village - including on the banks of the Thames River. Parks provide handy community access to picnic areas, sports fields, and play structures.

thamesford highway 2

The Commute: Work and School  

On a map, Thamesford is right between London and Woodstock. What does that really mean when you get into your car to drive to either city? Reaching London is pretty straight-forward, if you continue West along Dundas Street/Highway 2, after about 22 km - or 25 minutes, you would arrive in the core of London. Before driving into London, the London International Airport is only 15 minutes away, making long-distance travel accessible too. The core of Woodstock is 22 km away by taking Dundas Street/Highway 2 in the other direction. The drive to Woodstock is a little bit shorter than the drive to London time-wise, clocking in at about 20 minutes. Another nearby town for shopping, work, and school, Ingersoll is also a short 15 minute drive away. 

Thamesford is serviced by the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. In the public board, students attend the local public school up until Grade 8, after which they move into Ingersoll or Woodstock for High School depending on their program. In the Catholic stream, students will start in Ingersoll and move into Woodstock for Secondary School. Below are the schools available to residents of Thamesford, their grade levels, and location. 

Thames Valley District School Board:

London District Catholic School Board:

thamesford mill thamesford ontario

History of Thamesford and Township

The Thames River, the namesake of Thamesford, was a bountiful place for early European immigrants to put down new roots. As a result, many settlements like Thamesford, adopted its name into their own. Before it was Thames River, it was named Akunesippi “Antlered River” by the First Nations Peoples in the area, then La Tranche by French explorers. But where did the Thames name come from? In the 1790s, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe borrowed the name of the River Thames which runs through London, England for this Ontario river. In 2000, the Thames River was named a Canadian Heritage River, recognizing the national appreciation for the storied body of water.

At first, Thamesford was a village in the Township of East Nissouri. In the 1800s, the village was marked by the presence of a mill which used the water of the Thames to power the early processing of flour. The Thamesford Mill remained operational in some capacity until the late 20th century, being demolished in 2007. While it was milling flour and feed for farms, the Mill drew settlers toward it and into Thamesford. In 1862, the St. John Anglican Church and accompanying cemetery were built. The beautiful original stone church is still standing and servicing Thamesford. 

The Townships of East Nissouri and Zorra respectively were surveyed in the early 1800s, but would not be settled in earnest until later. The first set of land grants were given to veterans of the War of 1812 and there were more to come. Soon, British (particularly Scottish) and American refugees would accept the conditions and establish their new homes in the Townships. The arrival of railroads in nearby communities ensured that settlement of the area would continue throughout the 19th century.

In 1975, the Townships of East Nissouri, West Zorra, and North Oxford were amalgamated into the Zorra Township as it is known to this day.

thamesford ontario calithumpian

Things to Do In and Around Thamesford: 


What does that mean? A Calithumpian has meant a lot of things over the years, but what they all have in common is merriment and noise-making. It refers to a gathering, a parade, or a celebration. In Thamesford, Calithumpian is all three! Over the Victoria Day long weekend, residents of Thamesford gather together to mingle and celebrate their community. The festivities usually include a parade, shows, games, contests, food, and entertainment for all ages. In 2019, the Thamesford Calithumpian celebrated its centennial anniversary in a big way: a 4 day event returning to the roots of the festival to bring together new residents with those who have many Calithumpians under their belts already. 

Highland Games Weekend

The Highland Games are held in Embro, another village in the Zorra Township about 15 minutes North-East of Thamesford. They began in 1856 when the Embro Highland Society was founded to preserve the Scottish heritage of immigrants in the area. After a hiatus from 1888 to the revival of the Society in 1937, the Highland Games returned to Embro and have been held in the tradition ever since. The Games consist of team Tug-of-War, foot races, stone put, hammer throw, and weight over bar contests. Alongside the traditional highland athletics, attendees of the Games are treated to Scottish music, a (bag)pipe band performance, and a variety of different Highland dance competitions featuring talent from around the world.

Thamesford and its neighbours in the Zorra Township are famous for two loud and rowdy festivals, but don’t get the wrong idea. Life in Thamesford is an escape from London’s metropolis and even Woodstock’s smaller-city bustle in favor of a village that is peaceful, quaint, and comfortable. With recent developments and the potential for more, Thamesford is emerging as a popular commuting option in Southwestern Ontario. 

Posted in Buying, Selling, Thamesford
Sept. 3, 2019

Moving To Kilworth? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Kilworth [2019]

If you are looking to live outside of London, but Komoka is too far away at 18 km, then consider Kilworth, Ontario as a contender for compromise. Kilworth is just 14 km - 20 minutes - away from the core of London and its proximity to both Komoka and London’s West Side allows it overall access to necessities and conveniences that both locations offer. 

Real Estate in Kilworth: Living in Kilworth, Ontario

Kilworth Heights Real Estate

Kilworth is a part of the township of Middlesex Centre, in Middlesex County. It is located West of London and East of Komoka, another part of Middlesex Centre. The Thames River wraps around the East and South of Kilworth with the Komoka Provincial Park on the opposite side of the riverbank to the South. In the 2016 census, Kilworth was considered together with Komoka for a total population of 1,754 residents.   

“Old” Kilworth: The older areas in Kilworth are more rural. Whether it’s the historic Kilworth United Church or secluded stone cottages, many of the homes here are quite storied or even designated heritage properties.

Optimist Park Kilworth

Kilworth Heights: A newer area closer to Komoka. Developments in Kilworth Heights are detached, single-family homes being built alongside new neighbourhood planning. Residents of this area have easy access to the conveniences in Komoka as well as the beauty of the Komoka Provincial Park. The newest development taking place in Kilworth is the Kilworth Heights West site, with 6 builders collaborating to create the neighbourhood from the ground up.  

Kilworth has no schools of its own. It falls within the coverage of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. Schools in London and other surrounding Middlesex Townships are accessible to residents of Kilworth depending on their preferences.   

Find your dream home in Kilworth

Komoka Wellness Centre

Things to do In and Around Kilworth, Ontario

Events and activities are not as far away from Kilworth as you might think. Being in between London and Komoka, Kilworth actually has a great deal of potential to draw upon from both communities.

Community Recreation 

Since newer developments in Kilworth are pushing West, recreation in Komoka is closer than ever before. Nearest to the Kilworth Heights development is the Komoka Wellness Centre at 1 Tunks Lane. The Centre houses 2 rinks with arena seating, a fitness centre, and a YMCA gym. Also included with the community centre is a branch of the public library which is constantly active with programs and events to service the community. 

Komoka Provincial Park

Komoka Provincial Park is due South of Kilworth with the main parking facility just 3 minutes away on Gideon Drive. This massive forest of mature trees and trails runs alongside the Thames River. It is an all-season park open to the public for a variety of activities. The main attractions of the park are the scenic trails. They total 11km in length, but are colour-coded with their own specific rules. The most restrictive is the White trail, which is for walking and hiking only. However, the Blue, Yellow, and Orange trails can be experienced on a bike, on horseback, by cross-country skiing, or on foot. Visitors to the park can also enjoy the Thames River by fishing and canoeing in its waters.

Boler Mountain

Bolar Mountain

Boler Mountain has been providing all-season, outdoor recreation in Byron for over 70 years. Their 15-trail ski resort operates all Winter, complimented by a tubing park and snow school lessons for all ages and abilities. The rest of the year, the mountain’s “Green Season” begins and the mountain becomes a destination for mountain biking adventures, cycling races, and rentals. The mountain’s latest addition to the Summer Season is the Treetop Adventure Park where guests can experience new heights with zip-lining, swinging bridges, and rope courses.

Storybook Gardens

Within the Byron access to Springbank Park, Storybook Gardens is open year-round, but they offer more programming in the peak Summer season. Guests can enjoy the wildlife and greenery of Springbank Park alongside daily programs, shows, and climbing structures for children. Seasonal activities include a splash pad in the warmer months and an ice-skating trail in the winter.

Find your dream home in Kilworth

Restaurants and Shopping Around Kilworth

Kilworth itself is almost entirely housing neighbourhoods. Residents need to visit London or Komoka for their shopping and dining needs, but thanks to new developments in Komoka and the timeless presence of Byron Village, resources are not that far away after all. 

Nearby in Komoka…

Right between Kilworth and Komoka, a new shopping complex is in development. The designated area is only 2 minutes west of Kilworth Heights. As of Summer of 2019, the site is hom to a brand new LCBO, a Dollarama, and a Foodland grocery store. With all of the planned space in the development, there is much more to come in the future!

Further into Komoka, there are even more opportunities for events and activities. 

Byron near Kilworth Ontario

Byron Village

Byron is now a neighbourhood in the South-West of London. Before being added to London in 1961, Byron had been an independent village since 1804. At 6 km away, it is a shorter drive from Kilworth than going all the way into London. Byron Village in particular is a useful retail and community hub for the residents of Byron and nearby townships. It has everything you might need from a library branch, several banks, take-out and dine-in restaurants, pharmacies, and even a grocery store. 

Looking for more London, Ontario? Consider reading up about this great Southwestern Ontario city in our Living in London Guide!

In Kilworth, beautiful, newly developed neighbourhoods surrounded by nature do not come at the expense of convenience. The area is developing rapidly, making Kilworth an elegant solution for those who are considering the commuter alternative to bigger-city life.

Find your dream home in Kilworth

Posted in Buying, Kilworth, Selling
Sept. 3, 2019

Moving To Ilderton? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Ilderton [2019]

Heritage Park in Ilderton, Ontario

Ilderton is a small village in Middlesex County, officially a member of the Middlesex Centre Municipality that encompasses the area around London, Ontario. Located North of London, Ilderton is similarly situated between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. Ilderton is the proud home of an excellent outdoor farmers market, a large county fair, and exciting new subdivision developments. Looking for a rural setting with access to London? Look no further than Ilderton.

Find Your Dream Home in Ilderton

Where is Ilderton, Ontario?

Map of Ilderton, Ontario

In January of 1998, the townships of London, Lobo, and Delaware combined to form the Municipality of Middlesex Centre. After its creation, the population of the municipality was sitting just under 15,000, but by 2016, the population had bloomed to 17,262 people across 588 square kilometers around the city of London, Ontario. The growing popularity of Middlesex Centre is due to the number of “Bedroom Communities” within its borders. Many residents choose to live in the smaller towns of Middlesex Centre and commute to London rather than living in the city themselves.

Just North of London is one such community: Ilderton, Ontario. The residents of Ilderton make up about 10% of the population of the Middlesex Centre municipality with 1,856 people recorded in the 2016 census. However, the inclusion of two recent subdivision developments have caused a slight population boom for the community in the years since the census. It is estimated that the population now exceeds 2,000 people. 

Real Estate in Ilderton, Ontario: Living in Ilderton

Homes in Ilderton, Ontario

As new developments get closer and closer to completion, the population isn’t the only thing getting a healthy boost. The real estate market in Ilderton begins to buzz as well.

One of the new developments is “Clear Skies”, which features large lots and a choice of 4 different builders. Options for houses are varied, from 2 bedroom bungalows to 3-4 bedroom two-story homes all with stylish, modern exteriors. Another new addition to Ilderton is the “Timberwalk” community with 4 planned phases, equally large lots, and housing options that start around the mid-$500,000 mark.

Ilderton is also home to Vintage Green Apartments. The building contains vast community space alongside 36 rental units in a combination of one-bedroom and two-bedroom options designed with adult residents age 55+ in mind. In addition, the resident’s association organizes gatherings, clubs, and holiday special activities. 

Ilderton has one school in town, Oxbow Public School that takes students from JK to Grade 8. The Middlesex Centre municipality is well-covered by both the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board and additional school coverage can be found in nearby London, Lucan, or Arva.

Post-secondary education is surprisingly accessible from Ilderton as well. Fanshawe College’s main campus is a 25 minute drive away, while its downtown campus is a little bit closer, but an equal drive due to its location in the city core. Ilderton is even closer to Western University, at 15 minutes away from the institutions main gates on Richmond Street. Both schools offer a commute that is quieter and less congested than driving through parts of London.

Find Your Dream Home in Ilderton

Things to Do in and Around Ilderton

things to do in Ilderton

Ilderton may by rural, but it sure isn’t isolated. This just means that visitors and residents alike can experience fresh quality supplied by local farmers and artisans or quick convenience from the big box stores in London, Ontario. 

Ilderton Fall Fair

Ilderton boasts one of the largest fairs in the County. Hosted by the Ilderton Agricultural Society, the Fall Fair commemorates the season of harvest for a weekend in September. The fair entertains guests of all ages with a Midway, local vendors, performers, competitions, livestock, and a parade. The fair charges $8 admission for adults, but elementary students and preschool children get in for free.

Shopping in Ilderton

The Ilderton Farmer's market is open every Saturday morning all Summer long until September 21st. The market becomes the spot to buy local for Ilderton and the surrounding area. Everything in the market, from baked goods, to hot food, or fresh produce and ingredients is sourced from farmers within 30 km of the market.

Looking to refuel? Consider some of the local dining options in Ilderton. Grab a coffee and a donut on-the-go from the Ilderton Tim Horton's or stop in to the King Edward Pub for dinner, drinks, and good company. In a hurry? Try take-out pizza from New Orleans Pizza or For Pizza’s Sake.

Shopping in London

Ilderton is conveniently located only 10 minutes from the shopping in the Hyde Park area of London. Hyde Park has a lot of great stores all clustered together in one accessible location. There is no need to go further into London when Ilderton is such a short trip from a Canadian Tire, Walmart Supercentre, Winners, and so much more! Hyde Park is also a handy place to stop for a meal, with a Kelseys Roadhouse, Montana’s, and a new Mandarin Buffet all around the shopping centre.

The North side of London is also home to its best shopping mall. The two floor, CF Masonville Place is at the corner of Richmond Street and Fanshawe Park Road East. The popular mall is only 15 minutes away from Ilderton. With 150 stores and a selection of food from around the world, a trip to Masonville is well worth the commute. If you’re in the area, the mall is at the centre of several useful stores from groceries, electronics, books, pet supplies, and even more restaurants.

Ilderton is so close to North London, it enjoys the benefits of being an ideal suburb without the complications of being included in the city. Residents can marvel at the country view and village feel without the hour-long commute to a major city. If this sounds like the ideal lifestyle for you, then check out Ilderton, Ontario today.

Find Your Dream Home in Ilderton

Posted in Buying, Ilderton, Selling
Sept. 3, 2019

Moving To Thorndale? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Thorndale [2019]

thorndale ontario

Are you looking to move outside of London, Ontario? If you are hoping to live outside of the city or to move a little closer to London from even further away, then consider Thorndale, Ontario as your ultimate destination. This page will serve as a helpful outline guide for anyone interested in learning a little more about the pleasant and rapidly growing town of Thorndale.

Where is Thorndale, Ontario?

map of thorndale ontario

At a manageable distance from London, Thorndale offers the comforts of a small, interconnected community alongside access to the conveniences of a larger city. But just how convenient? Thorndale is only 22 km from the core of London, about a 25 minute commute to and from the city. To the East, Thorndale is a 40 minute drive to Woodstock, Ontario.

Thorndale, Ontario is located North-East of London on the other side of where the Thames River becomes Fanshawe Lake. Thorndale itself is more of a village, never becoming formally incorporated as a town. Instead, it is a part of the Thames Centre Municipality alongside Dorchester, Mossley, Putnam, and many others. Thames Centre is made up of several rural communities to the East of London with a population totaling 13,191 people. The municipality makes up about 3% of the population of Middlesex County.

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History of Thorndale

grand trunk station thorndale ontario

Thorndale gets its name from the estate of an early European settler. In 1837, Irish-born James Shanly and his family began to build his new Canadian home. He named the property “Thorndale”, a name that the expanding village would adopt years later. It was the introduction of the Grand Trunk Railroad and its station in Thorndale in 1858 that really got things moving for the little village. A railroad brought work and left connections to nearby markets when it was finished. This access made the transportation of goods and materials much easier than Shanly’s initial foray into the area. Even with the railroad, Thorndale was primarily an agricultural society. The village and the lands around it were known for fields of corn, potatoes, and wheat. Much of that farming has remained to this day in the surrounding rural areas and that agricultural legacy is celebrated by the Thorndale Agricultural Society and their annual Fall Fair. 

Live here!  - Homes for Sale in Thorndale?

homes in thorndale ontario

Thorndale is growing! There are three developments in Thorndale offering beautiful, new houses in the area. The first is the Wye Creek subdivision, a 300-lot development a little bit west of the heart of Thorndale. The site plan offers a variety of lots to choose from as well as two-story, bungalow, and 2-3 bedroom condo offerings. Foxborough is another development with deep, country-style lots and natural green space. The first phase of building consisted of 21 lots, but several phases are planned for this development going forward. The newest subdivision, Rosewood by Sifton is currently taking registrations, offering single-family homes to be built by 2020. In addition to new build communities, Thorndale also includes other established subdivisions with resale homes available for purchase.

Thorndale may be small now, but its businesses service its residents well. There is a post office, pharmacy, banks, shopping, and restaurants all local. Anything not in town isn’t too far away either. The 150-store, two-story Masonville shopping mall in London is only 20 minutes away. Even closer at a 15-minute drive is the London International Airport which is quite far East of the city of London.

Living in Thorndale is a great choice for families too. Not only is there a fantastic, welcoming community of events and activities, but access to a good selection of schools:

Thames Valley District School Board
- West Nissouri Public School (JK to Grade 8) Thorndale, ON
- Lord Dorchester Secondary School (Grades 9-12) Dorchester, ON
- Princess Anne French Immersion Public School (SK-Grade 8)London, ON
- Louise Arbour French Immersion Public School (Grades 7-8) London, ON
- Sir Wilfred Laurier Secondary School (Grades 9-12) London, ON
- Montcalm Secondary School (Grades 9-12), London, ON
- B. Davison Secondary School (Grades 9-12) London, ON

London District Catholic School Board
- St. Pius X (JK to Grade 8) London, ON
- St. John French Immersion (K to Grade 8)London, ON
- John Paul II Secondary (Grades 9-12) London, ON
- Mother Teresa Secondary (Grades 9-12) London, ON


From festivals, meetings, classes, and charity events, the activity in the Thorndale community never slows down. All residents are encouraged to visit and participate in events like Town-wide Yard Sales, Tea Times, Garden Tours, and special classes which decorate the town’s already extensive calendar of events. Seasonal recreation includes outdoor sports like skating, tug-of-war, soccer, and baseball, while indoor activities include yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, and zumba classes. With such a wide selection, there is bound to be something to interest everyone  - or at least give you something new to try.

The Thorndale community is vibrant and welcoming from Day 1. With all of the new developments lately, community organizers, “I Love Thorndale” have established a thoughtful welcome program for new residents of the village. By signing up, new residents will receive community guides, calendars, and a coupon collection. They also offer a “Welcome Mob” and other opportunities to connect with the Thorndale community.

The largest event on Thorndale’s Calendar takes place in September as a celebration of Fall and the town’s agriculture heritage. Hosted by the Thorndale Agricultural Society, the Fall Fair has been a local tradition since 1857. As part of the festivities, Thorndale hosts competitions, performances, a midway, and even a Tractor Pull event. Visitors can enjoy the sights and showswhile learning about Thorndale’s present accomplishments alongside its farming heritage.

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fanshawe pioneer village

Things to Do In and Around Thorndale

Even though community events and recreation can keep you pretty busy, here are some sights worth taking the time to experience in and around the Thorndale area.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

This first destination is located just on the Eastern outskirts of London, Ontario, a 20 minute drive from Thorndale. Fanshawe Pioneer Village is a heritage village, live museum, and gallery committed to the authentic experience of stepping back in time to early villages in Middlesex County. The site has log cabins, blacksmith workshops, an old schoolhouse, and a functioning General Store, all filled with artifacts and props accurate to the period. 2019 marks the village’s 60th anniversary, which they have commemorated with special programming running all season.

Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush

An outing to a sugar bush is probably one of the most Canadian things you can do. Period. It is an educational and delicious opportunity to see how maple syrup is made - and of course, you can eat it! The Kinsmen Fanshawe Sugar Bush is nearly 10 minutes outside of Thorndale, near Fanshawe Lake. During their open season, they offer guides, tours, samples, and a pancake house for guests to immerse themselves in the world of maple syrup.

Apple Land Station

This family farm opens to the public in the Fall. The farm is located 11 minutes away from Thorndale in the neighbouring community of Dorchester. At Apple Land Station you can enjoy apple picking, pumpkin picking, a replica train, and an animal barn for the enjoyment of guests of all ages. When the orchard closes for the season, the farm remains open for Christmas tree-picking and Santa's Cabin in the Winter, followed by a huge Easter Egg hunt in the Spring.

Thorndale, Ontario is a small town with a lively community at its heart. With new developments on the horizon, Thorndale’s growth and expansion is starting to pick up in a big way. It already has access to great excursions and activities, but as the town continues to grow, more opportunities will surely follow. So, if you’re looking to live outside London, be sure to pay Thorndale a visit to see what it can offer you.

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Posted in Buying, Selling, Thorndale
Aug. 28, 2019

Moving To Komoka? The Ultimate Guide To Living In Komoka [2019]

Moving to and living in Komoka, Ontario

Komoka, Ontario began as a railroad town with high expectations. Two different rail lines ran through the little village, bringing work and goods to service it over the years. However, it was the city of London that drew in the big crowds in the 19th century. This left much of Komoka’s natural beauty intact as early settlement never met the speculation for the area. Now, Komoka is experiencing a modern growth spurt. This increase in population is spurring new development like a massive community arena and a shopping centre to better service the village.  New residents are attracted to Komoka for its size and pace - allowing for a peaceful lifestyle to return to after commuting to and from London. 

Where is Komoka, Ontario?

Komoka Ontario Map

Driving West along Oxford Street from London, Ontario until it crosses the Thames River and becomes Country Road 14 will get you to Komoka. Komoka is a small municipality in Middlesex County. Like Arva, Delaware, Ilderton, Kilworth, Lobo Village, Poplar Hill, and many other communities, it is considered to be a part of the Middlesex Centre Township which covers 588 square kilometers and encompasses many rural towns and villages.

It is also the namesake for the nearby Komoka Provincial Park, a protected forest that accompanies the Thames River running through the region. In 2016, the Canadian census recorded Komoka’s population at 1,754 people, but that number has been increasing rapidly due to expansions and residential development in Komoka and the nearby area of Kilworth. When compared to the overall population of Middlesex Centre at 17,262 people, Komoka makes up about 10% of it.

Real Estate in Komoka, Ontario: Living in Komoka

Komoka Real Estate

Being only 18km away, Komoka is a popular place to live for people who commute to London, Ontario. Compared to the larger city, Komoka is a much smaller village, yet it still has some recent developments. The majority of the houses in these new developments are detached single-family dwellings. Since Komoka is outside of the city, it is cheaper to build here and housing prices are lower per square foot than in similar developments in London. 

Need to know about schools? Parkview Public School is centrally located in Komoka and takes students from Early Years Kindergarten all the way to Grade 8. Another option is the privately funded Providence Reformed Collegiate, a Christian Secondary School in Komoka. Other options can be found in neighbouring townships and cities also serviced by the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. Being so near London, Ontario, Komoka is a commute away from Western University and its affiliate Colleges: King’s, Huron, and Brescia as well as Fanshawe College’s two campuses. 

Komoka has access to other services in the nearby cities. The three nearest hospitals are St. Joseph’s Hospital, Victoria Hospital, and University Hospital, all three of which are in London, Ontario. Komoka is home to a Middlesex County ambulance station and paramedic service.  

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History of Komoka

History of Komoka

Early European settlement of the region was encouraged by the nearby Thames River and forest, useful for both transportation and natural resources. The first European settlement of the now-Middlesex Centre was Delaware in 1789, followed by Kilworth in 1789. The first historical “population boom” took place in the very early 19th century as Americans were taking advantage of land grants and relocating to Ontario.

Settlement in Komoka coincided with the development of railways in Ontario. The building of the Great Western Railroad through Komoka attracted settlers to work on the railway as well as those interested in the potential of trade. It was completed in 1854. Next, the Canadian Pacific Railway would be built through Komoka in 1881, making Komoka a stop on two major Ontario tracks. Over time, the stations in Komoka closed and the population growth slowed with the railway traffic.  

In 1998, Middlesex Centre was formed by combining townships to the North, East, and South-East of London, Ontario. Included in this merge was the village of Komoka.  

Things to Do In and Around Komoka

Komoka Wellness Centre

The newest addition to recreation and activities in Middlesex Centre is the Komoka Wellness Centre. This community facility houses two NHL-sized arenas, a fitness centre, an indoor walking track, a double gym, community club space, and a new branch of the Middlesex County Library. The rinks have a seating capacity of 750 and 250 spectators respectively, making it a comfortable place to watch local leagues or the Junior Hockey team, the Komoka Kings play.

An older, but still sparkling gem in the village is the Komoka Community Centre. Now primarily used for event space, this building located in Komoka Park was where the town library used to be. With a full kitchen, gymnasium, and meeting rooms, this building is used for a variety of events throughout the year. Private rentals, Christmas Markets, and many of the festivities during Komoka’s Canada Day Celebration are just some of the gatherings held here. 

The Komoka Railway Museum was incorporated in 1980 to pay homage to the village’s history with the great railways of Ontario. Part of the original Canadian National Railway Station that was in Komoka was relocated into the current museum facilities. They also house a collection of artifacts which snapshot life and the railroad in Komoka through the ages. This collection includes restored full sized steam engines as well as smaller models which can be seen running along a 500 foot track outside of the museum in the Summer months.  

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Town Attractions

Komoka is part of the pretty unique celebration for Canada Day. It is called “Del-Ko-Brydge”, and that name may sound pretty strange at first, but it stands for the municipalities of Delaware, Komoka, and Mt. Brydges who agreed to host a joint Canada Day. Every year since its inception in 1982, the festivities would rotate from town to town in partnership with local community organizations. This past year, it was hosted in the Komoka Community Centre with a free pancake breakfast, a parade, live music, activities, and topped off with an evening of fireworks. 

Outdoor Activities

Komoka Golfing

Komoka is surrounded by nature and that scenic background makes outdoor activities a lot more appealing. Komoka Provincial Park provides a local hub for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, depending on the trail and the season. The access to the Thames River allows for fishing spots and canoeing, weather permitting. Visitors can also enjoy less-physical activities like picnics and photography amongst the lush Carolinian Forest.

Another way to enjoy the spacious and rural Middlesex Centre is golfing. Komoka, Ontario has three Golf Courses to choose from. The Oaks Golf & Country Club, FireRock Golf Club & Pub, and Oxbow Glen Golf Course are all within a 5 minute drive from the heart of the village.

Restaurants and Shopping in Komoka and Beyond

Komoka Restaurants

Komoka has plenty of great shopping and restaurants to call its own. Familiar chains like Tim Hortons, Subway, Dollarama, and Foodland can be found in Komoka, but what about unique local businesses? One great place to try is the Gingerbread Bakery on Jefferies Road, a little family-run business which sells freshly baked sweet treats, including local-favorite Cinnamon buns. Local dining doesn’t get much better than the Little Beaver Restaurant offering diner-style breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Try their tasty tarts or signature double-patty Beaver Burger as a dine-in meal or take-out on the way home.  

It might surprise you to learn that Komoka is not that far from the conveniences of London. Commuters don’t need to go anywhere near the core to have access to banks, pharmacies, and grocery stores because the quaint Byron Village is about 15 minutes away. Convenient shopping is not the only thing that Byron Village offers, the main street of the Village is also lined by restaurants serving the flavours of the world. If you are in Byron, consider trying a meal from one of these great 5 restaurants:

1. Byron Pizza

2. Golden Dragon Restaurant

3. Meesai’s Thai Kitchen

4. Shawarma House

5. Byron Freehouse - patio and pub

Komoka is the proud home of a forested Provincial Park, thriving local business, and a tight-knit and active community, all of which retains its charm from Komoka’s seclusion from larger cities. Despite its rural status, Komoka is still an excellent choice for a short and manageable commute to London, Ontario for work or access to amenities. So, if you are looking into areas outside of London, don’t forget to pay Komoka, Ontario a visit.

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Posted in Komoka