Moving to Canada and choosing the right city to live in is a big decision. If you’re moving to Canada, London, Ontario is one of the many cities to consider. The city that you choose can affect your financial future and your job prospects. It’s important to research the local job market, housing options, and the community before you arrive. London is located in southwestern Ontario has much to offer newcomers. Continue reading to learn more about living in London.
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About London, Ontario
Located midway between Windsor and Toronto, London is at the heart of southwestern Ontario. As the sixth-largest city in Ontario and Canada’s 10th largest city, it serves as a regional hub for surrounding communities.
To newcomers, the city offers affordable housing, low crime rates, excellent education and health care facilities, culture, and beautiful parks. It’s also known as the “Forest City” because of the natural beauty, trees, and green space that you’ll find. Whether you are looking for the urban lifestyle of a big city or the appeal and security of a mid-size community, London is a great place to live, raise a family and enjoy life.
Don’t get the city confused with London, England. But it is arguably the second-best known London in the world. The two share a lot of similarities. London, Ontario was settled in 1793 by Lord Simcoe, on behalf of the Commonwealth, along the Thames River. It was originally supposed to be the future capital city of Upper Canada. It officially became a city in 1855.
How Many People Live in London, Ontario?
London has the second fastest-growing population of all cities in Canada. The city has over 400,000 residents. There are over 550,000 residents in the census metropolitan area. It has become a big city, but it still has a small-town feel.
How to Find a Job & Build a Career in London
London’s Local Economy
London is a hub of higher education, medical research, technology, and manufacturing. Its location within southwestern Ontario makes it a key supply chain and transportation hub for the province.
The strength of the manufacturing sector, rich agricultural lands and the proximity to the United States border make it an important economic region. London attracts foreign direct investments in advanced manufacturing, food processing, information technology and other knowledge-based industries. An Amazon fulfillment warehouse is currently being constructed.
The top industries in London are:
- Digital media and technology
- Professional service.
Major Employers in London
This city is home to several major employers, including:
- London Health Sciences Centre
- St. Joseph’s Health Care
- Western University
- Fanshawe College
- General Dynamics Land Systems
- Canada Life
- TD Canada Trust
- 3M Canada
- Goodlife Fitness
- Nestle Canada Inc.
- Labatt Brewing Company.
Career Pathways in London
London has an extensive education and healthcare industry. It has a large financial services presence, and an emerging digital media and technology industry.
You can search for available opportunities by working with a local recruiter including Aerotek, PHM Search, AllStaff Inc., and Ladder HR Solutions. Knighthunter.com is a popular local career website to search for jobs.
The London Housing Market
The housing market is experiencing significant growth. The city was traditionally undervalued and had much lower housing prices. However, prices have risen in recent years.
Is Housing Expensive in London, Ontario?
Even though housing prices have increased by over 35% in the past two years alone, it is still more affordable than in other cities. London was recently ranked as the second most affordable large city in the province.
The price increase is driven by the rapid population growth and fewer homes for sale. However, you can search for more affordable housing in surrounding communities such as Strathroy and St. Thomas.
Finding a Place to Rent in London
There is a diverse rental market. It is also one of the cheapest places to rent in the province. Part of this has to do with a large number of rentals and a higher vacancy rate. The average rent for an apartment in London is $1040 for a Bachelor, $1248 for a one-bedroom, $1351 for a two-bedroom, and $1959 for a three-bedroom apartment.
Use Rentals for Newcomers to search for available rental units in London. Here, you can also find current rental prices in London.
If you plan to rent, consider renter’s insurance. You can find policies for as low as $20-$30 per month to protect your personal belongings. Most property owners today will require you to have a policy as part of your lease agreement. Get more information about renting a home: Renting in Canada: What Newcomers Need to Know.
If you’re searching for the best neighbourhoods for renting in London, Lambeth ranks as the top hidden gem. Carling Heights, White Oaks and Southcrest rank as the top three neighbourhoods for affordability and a good supply of housing.
Buying a Home in London
The cost to buy a home in this city is increasing rapidly. According to Royal Lepage, in 2021 housing prices have increased 34.6% year-over-year.
The median price for a single-family detached home is $710,700. This is a 30% increase from the previous year. The average price for a condominium is $410, 600. This is an increase of 46%. Even with the steep increases, it still has lower housing costs than the national average – $779,000.
Find out more about buying your first home in Canada: First Time Home Buyer: Newcomer Tips
Driving & Public Transit in London
Driving in London, Ontario
In London, driving is straightforward. There are no major highways that run through the city. You will need to drive through the city to get to your destination. Highways 401 and 402 run along the south end of the city and connect London to Toronto, and to the U.S. border crossings at Windsor and Sarnia. It’s about a one-hour drive to the Sarnia-Port Huron US border. Drivers must have a valid Ontario drivers’ licence.
Get more information about driving in Canada:
London Public Transit
Within the city, The London Transit Commission (LTC) offers accessible bus services. LTC accommodates people with disabilities including paratransit services for those with special needs. Licensed taxi companies and Uber are also readily available. The city is currently planning a rapid transit system.
Walking and cycling are easy given the city’s layout. There are extensive bike routes within the city including on-street routes, off-street routes and multi-use pathways.
Go Transit offers daily transportation to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The London International Airport offers domestic and international flights.
Community Support for Newcomers
This city continues to become more ethnically diverse and has dozens of ethnocultural groups and organizations to support newcomers.
There are a variety of settlement agencies in the community. They include London-Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership, The London Cross Cultural Learner Centre, LUSO Community Services, Northwest London Resource Centre, South London, Neighbourhood Resource Centre, College Boreal, and YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. For more information, please visit London’s immigration portal, a one-stop-shop for newcomers to London and surrounding Middlesex County.
Language Support in London
Several organizations offer language support in the city. They include London Language Institute, Canadian ESL Centre, College Boreal, YMCA, St Patrick Adult and Continuing Education, and The London Cross Cultural Learner Centre.
Personal Finance & Banking
All local banks and financial institutions in this city have programs to help newcomers open a bank account and get a credit card. You can also start the mortgage qualification process. Visit a local bank branch to start the process.
Get more banking tips for newcomers:
London’s Education System
London, Ontario offers high-quality schools to meet your needs and the needs of your family. From primary, secondary, and post-secondary education, you can find schools that provide a superior experience. This is important especially if you are moving to Canada with young school-aged children.
Elementary and High School Education
If you have young children, selecting a school that is close to your home will be important. And, you must select a school that is within the school district where you reside. The city has two English language school boards and two French-language school boards:
English Language School Boards:
French Language School Boards:
There are also more than twenty private schools in the city. Read more about schooling in Canada: An Overview of the Canadian Education System.
Post Secondary Institutions
London is home to two post-secondary schools – Western University and Fanshawe College:
Western University is ranked among the top 1% of higher education institutions in the world. It offers 88 different degree programs and graduate and postdoctoral programs in Medicine, Business, Law, Dentistry, Engineering, and healthcare. The school has over 40,000 students including more than 5,800 international students from around the world.
The university also includes the Richard Ivey School of Business, King’s College, Huron College, and Brescia College.
Fanshawe is one of Ontario’s largest colleges and offers more than 200 degrees, diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs to over 43,000 students. It provides programs in multiple disciplines including Applied Arts, Business, Health Care, Human Services, Hospitality, and Technology.
Other community colleges include Westervelt College, St. Peters Seminary, Medix, Ontario Institute of Auto Recording Technology, and triOS College
Read more about education in Canada:
Where To Get Medical Care in London, Ontario
One of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching institutions is the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). LHSC includes University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital. It also encompasses several medical centers and research institutes.
More than 20 medical walk-in clinics supply health care on a drop-in basis. There are also three hospital emergency rooms and one urgent care centre in London. For locations, please click here. You can also visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit for health-related information and help.
In case of an emergency call 9-1-1. This number is the same no matter where you live in Canada.
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) provides coverage for many but not all medical care and prescriptions. You can pay for added health insurance plans to cover the costs not included by OHIP. This coverage is offered by some employers through your employee benefits package.
How to Find A Family Doctor In London
Your health is important and you’ll need to search for a doctor who is taking new patients. You can go to Health Care Connect, to search for doctors. Because you may be placed on a waiting list, you should begin your search soon after you arrive in London.
Read more about health care in Canada: Steps to Access Free Health Care in Canada
What is Day to Day Life Like in London?
Things to Do in London
London has a lot to offer. Whether you are into sports, nature, music or cultural events, there is something for the entire family to enjoy, for example, Victoria Park in the downtown core hosts a variety of cultural festivals. You can check out the farmers market at the Western Fairgrounds. You’ll find families walking along the river or having a picnic in Springbank Park or enjoying the water slides and go-carts at Eastpark. In the winter, you can enjoy the public skating rink and holiday lighting display. There is something for everyone.
Public Spaces & Attractions
London has a vibrant culture enhanced by its museums, theatres, special events and libraries. It is known for the annual Western Fair and it hosts over 120 special events each year including festivals such as Sunfest, Ribfest, and Home County Music & Art Festival.
Restaurants & Nightlife
London has diverse restaurants throughout the city. For nightlife, you can head downtown to Richmond Row or by the Market or grab a bite to each at local eateries in Wortley Village and other neighbourhoods throughout the city.
Nature & Natural Landscapes
The “Forest City” has many pathways and acres of rolling parkland with more than 200 parks and areas to walk, jog and cycle. And, if you enjoy skiing, Bolar Mountain is the place to be during the winter. As well, London is only a short drive to the beach in Grand Bend or Port Stanley on the shores of Lake Huron.
Sporting Events & Concerts
London is home to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), London Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL), and the Western Mustangs Football team.
London is a prime destination for concerts. It hosts a series of music festivals each year, including Rock The Park and Trackside. It’s home to a number of venues such as Budweiser Gardens, London Music Hall, Centennial Hall, Rum Runners, Aeolian Hall, and others.
Culture & Diversity In London
Approximately 20% of London’s population was born outside of Canada. This is about 95,000 residents. Approximately 11% of London’s population consists of visible minorities. As well, the number of immigrants choosing to move to London is on the rise, and each year more than 3,000 new immigrants come to the city.
London has a community rooted in English, Scottish, and Irish heritage. German (11.6%), French (9.6%), Dutch (6.3%), Italian (5.0%), Polish (4.4%) are common ethnicities.
The most common visible minorities are East Asian (3.9%), Arab (3.6%), South Asian (3.1%), Black (3.0%), Latin American (2.4%), and Southeast Asian (1.2%). Aboriginals make up 2.6% of the population. Ethnic communities are growing in the city with Spanish and Arabic listed as the languages are spoken most often after English.
Places of Worship
London has diverse churches, synagogues, mosques and temples including:
About two-thirds of the population is of Christian faith. Islam is the second most common faith. For a list of places of worship in London click here.
The Weather in London
London has a continental climate characterized by large seasonal contrast. There are four distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. On average, the weather is comfortable allowing for outdoor activities year-round.
Summer months are hot and humid with an average temperature in July of 20.5°C.
Winters are cold with seasonal snowfall averaging 200 cm. The typical temperature in January is -6.3 °C. While winter can be cold, when you dress for it, you can enjoy the many outdoor activities the city has to offer.
Common Questions Immigrants Ask About Living in London
Is London, Ontario Good for Immigrants?
Even though London is not a top destination for newcomers overall, it’s an ideal landing spot. The immigrant communities are growing and the city offers many career opportunities. And, it’s a great place if you desire a big city feel without the drawbacks of living in a larger city.
What are the Pros and Cons of Living in London, Ontario?
London is home to world-class health care and education. As well, housing is still more affordable compared to other cities in Ontario. And it has the amenities of a big city with a small-town feel.
But, there are some drawbacks. It has a dated transit system, so you may find that you need a car to get around with greater ease. Another drawback is that it has limited industries for employment., in this case, it’s critical to research London’s labour market before you arrive.
Is London, Ontario a Safe Community for Families?
Yes! London is a safe community. It has a strong community focus with top-quality education programs for kids, making it an ideal city for young families moving to Canada. It also has a low crime rate.
For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle successfully!