North America > Canada > Ontario > Southwestern Ontario > Western Ontario
Western Ontario is a group of counties on the west coast of Southwestern Ontario. It is a largely agricultural region with some great beach communities and a few smaller cities.
- 1 London — the largest city in the region
- 2 Clinton — home of the School on Wheels, a railcar used as a movable classroom for 39 years, now a museum
- 3 Goderich — a beach community on the shore of Lake Huron
- 4 Grand Bend — a summer beach town
- 5 Ingersoll — famous for its cheese
- 6 Lucan — an agricultural community with a grim history
- 7 Sarnia — a small city based on the oil and petrochemicals industry that has lots of beaches
- 8 St. Marys — known for its beautiful limestone buildings, and as the home of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
- 9 Stratford — internationally known for its theatre festival
- 10 Tillsonburg — a regional centre for the nearby farming communities
- 11 Woodstock — the Dairy Capital of Canada has over a dozen historic buildings in its downtown area, and many summer festivals
- 12 Zurich — home of the Beanfest in late August
- 1 Ipperwash Beach — one of the longest freshwater beaches in Ontario with shallow waters that are ideal for children
- 2 The Pinery Provincial Park — south of Grand Bend, has 10 km of sand beach on the shores of Lake Huron
Western Ontario includes the City of London, and five mostly rural and agricultural counties:
- Huron County — gorgeous beaches, historic lighthouses, Blyth Theatre Festival, and lots of farms; population 60,000 (2016)
- Perth County — Stratford Theatre Festival, historic town of St. Marys; the county of 38,000 people (2016) is known for mixed farming, dairying and hog production
- Lambton County — petrochemicals, agriculture and tourism are the mainstays of this county of 123,000 people (2016)
- Middlesex County — a rural area of 72,000 people (2016) surrounding the City of London
- Oxford County is the heart of farm country in Ontario. The region is especially well known for its dairy industry.
The nearest major airport is Toronto Pearson International Airport. London Airport receives Air Canada and Westjet flights from most major cities in Canada, with regular daily service connecting to Toronto Pearson.
Several low-cost airlines also operate seasonal flights to London Airport from southern vacation destinations (including Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada). Aboutown AirbusExpress and RobertQ Airbus have regular routes to London from Detroit and Toronto airports and some other Southwestern Ontario cities.
Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport offers several flights per day from Toronto.
Greyhound Canada serves London.
VIA Rail has two daily trains on the Toronto-London route that call in Stratford, one one continues to Sarnia.
Outside of the cities, there is little public transport, so you will be reliant on a car or bicycle.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London is an open-air museum that tells the story of rural communities from 1820 to 1920.
Take a walk around Woodstock to enjoy its many historic buildings, or aim to visit during its summer festivals.
Clinton has an historic downtown. The Library and the Town Hall have shingled roofs with colourful flower patterns. Some old churches, and commercial blocks make the town a pleasant place to visit. The School on Wheels Railcar Museum is an interesting bit of railway and education history.
The Ingersoll Cheese Museum has good guided tours.
The Point Clark Lighthouse, north of Goderich, is an historic lighthouse, built in 1850. The Menesetung Bridge provides a splendid view of the nature surrounding Goderich.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, in St. Marys, is dedicated to preserving Canada's baseball heritage
The Stratford Festival is one of the main tourist draws for the region. It runs from April to October, and is recognized worldwide for its productions of Shakespearean plays.
The Blyth Festival and the Blyth Centre for the Arts produce a summer season of all-Canadian plays.
The Pinery Provincial Park has 10 km of sand beach on the shores of Lake Huron, extremely rare and fragile Oak Savanna and Coastal Dune Ecosystems with extraordinary biodiversity, excellent year-round outdoor recreation with 10 walking trails, a 14-km bike trail and 38 km of groomed ski trails. Nearby Grand Bend gives you the full summer beach town experience. Ipperwash Beach also has excellent beaches.
The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail stretches over 2,100 km (1,300 mi) along the Canadian shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and the Niagara, Detroit, and St. Lawrence Rivers, connecting 114 communities and hundreds of parks and natural areas including wetlands, forests, and beaches.
The Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point invite everyone to experience their culture and traditions at their Annual Pow Wow in mid-July near Ipperwash Beach.
Storybook Gardens in London has animals, rides, games, play areas, a splash area in the summer, skating in the winter, and beautiful gardens.
The Clinton Raceway is a 1/2-mile horse-racing track with live races and slot machines. The Grand Bend Motorplex is a dragstrip that hosts Hot Rod and drag races.
Lucan's Baconfest festival attracts 30,000 fans of bacon, motorcycles, and live music each July.