Unique, Unusual, & Offbeat Things to Do in London
Originally hand-picked to be the capital of the Province of Upper Canada (this was back in ye olden times), London has rebounded from its early snubbing in favour of York (present-day Toronto) to become Canada’s 11th largest municipality. And as I discovered on a recent trip there with Tourism London, it’s somewhat of a vintage-lover’s paradise. Here are some of the many quirky old-school activities to get your vintage on:
Take Me Out to the (Vintage) Ball Game
First of all, hands-up if you knew there was such a thing as vintage baseball, let alone that there’s an actual league for it? Turns out vintage baseball is alive and well in London. The rules are slightly different from what we know today (underhand pitching, no gloves, dandy costumes for example), but the skill required and the love for the game are timeless. London’s got a few games scheduled this summer if you want to see the fellas in action. Check out Fanshawe Pioneer Village for more info.
Peruse Nazi Propaganda
There’s not only Nazi Propaganda from World War II on display at the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum but also a selection of leaflets and cards from Japan and Fascist Italy. The museum traces the service history of Canada’s soldiers from 1883 to the present. It’s not all guns though, there are plenty of roses too — exhibits on Canada’s substantial UN and NATO peacekeeping and humanitarian missions worldwide are on display here as well.
Spot the Animals
Or at least the animal parts.
Eldon House, London’s oldest residence, was donated to the City of London by the Harris family in 1960, and along with it all of its sometimes peculiar contents. Now a museum, the 19th century home has its fair share of curiosities — including the elephant foot umbrella/walking stick holder pictured above, and the decanter holder fashioned from the foot of a baby rhinoceros pictured below.
There’s also a sizeable collection of exotic African animal horns adorning the hallways.
Take a Ride in a 1931 OTIS-Fensom
That’s an olde-time elevator for us lay folk. Kingsmill’s Department Store purports to have the only remaining one in North America, and it comes complete with an elevator operator (that’s Mary pictured above), one of the few remaining in Canada.
Behold a Groovy Retro Beer Truck
If you find yourself on the Labatt Brewery Tour (and why wouldn’t you, there are free beer samples at the end), you’ll eventually wind up in front of this beauty — a 1947 Labatt Streamliner. Build specifically for Labatt, these tractor trailers served a dual purpose back in their day — delivery and advertising. Alcohol ads were still verboten in the days following prohibition, so the trucks acted as a roving billboard in addition to their more practical duties. This one was restored in the 1980s to its original splendour.
What’s your favourite from this list of things to do in London, Ontario.
Note: I was a guest of Tourism London, but the opinions are all my own.