Downtown London Ontario Opens its Doors during Culture Days

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My last visit to London Ontario was deep in the heart of winter. I explored downtown shops, stayed in a historical mansion hotel and ate the most memorable dinner. This time, I headed into Downtown London Ontario for the Regenerate 2016 Event, but as luck would have it, London Ontario had its Doors Open all weekend.

Local Produce at Covent Garden Market Downtown London Ontario Open Doors

Downtown London Ontario Farmer’s Markets

I have become envious of the smaller cities in Ontario like Hamilton and London because they have these fabulous farmers markets. London Ontario had two such farmer and artisan markets worth visiting.

Covent Garden Market London Ontario

Covent Garden Market

Located in the heart of Downton London, Covent Garden Market is a huge complex featuring fresh produce, gourmet foods, gifts and crafts and features an outdoor farmer’s market two days a week (Thursdays and Saturdays). Check their website for community events for both adults and families including tastings and cooking classes.


Saturday Farmer's Market Downtown London Ontario Open Doors

London Farmer’s and Artisans Market

Open Saturdays only, this farmers and artisans market is two floors of vendors selling fresh produce, gourmet foods, snacks and lots of interesting crafts. Interesting fact: some of London’s newest restaurants got their start as a small booth right here in this very market. Be sure to grab a bite to eat!

Display of top hat on table with tea cup at Eldon House London Ontario

Historical Attractions in London Ontario

For history buffs, I have two stops you have to make while visiting the city, especially if you happen to be there during open doors London.

Eldon house servers call bells Downtown London Ontario Open Doors

Eldon House

During my tour of Eldon House, I felt like I was learning the stories of Canada’s version of Downton Abbey. This historic house was filled with stories from both the living and servers quarters.

Dining Room table display at Eldon House London Ontario

This historic site includes the preserved home and grounds of four generations of the Harris Family. It was donated to the City of London in 1960.

Pink bedroom display at Eldon House Downtown London Ontario

Be sure to splurge for a guided tour. We learned so many interesting things about the Harris family and their love for travel. The rooms are filled with little things you might miss if someone isn’t pointing them out to you.

insulin bottles in historic display at Banting House London Ontario

Banting House Museum

I feel ashamed to admit this, but I knew about Dr Frederick Banting was that he invented insulin. Banting House is known as “The Birthplace of Insulin,” where Dr Frederick Banting woke up at 2 a.m. on the morning of October 31, 1920, with the idea that led to the discovery of insulin.

Banting fascinating life on display at museum in London Ontario

I had no idea what to expect from the historical museum that once was the home of this famous Canadian. How did we not learn his story as a decorated War Hero with Canadian Army medical services team? Or did I learn all this and not take it in?

Banting's group of 7 inspired paintings in museum london ontario

Then I walked into a room with what looked like Group of Seven paintings, which were Banting’s work. Again if you can, get a guide to walk you through the house because of the stories about his friendship with A. Y. Jackson and the paintings inspired by that friendship are just inspiring. I learned so much about him on this tour.

More London Ontario Food Discoveries

The Root Cellar Restaurant storefront regenerate 2016 event London Ontario

The Root Cellar

A restaurant that endorses clean eating, but provides options for just about any dietary preferences is my kind of restaurant. From gluten free, vegan and paleo this restaurant is committed to locally sourced organic ingredients.

Hummus Appetizer at the Root Cellar Restaurant Regenerate Event 2016 London Ontario
Hummus Appetizer at the Root Cellar Restaurant

Every plate that came to our table was delicious with generous portions.

The Root Cellar Restaurant
Charcuterie board overflowing with organic goodness

Do not go to this restaurant unless you have an empty belly because all their dishes were filling and made to satisfy.

The Root Cellar Restaurant
Bison Burger and Truffle Frites

Plant Matter Kitchen Downtown London Ontario Open Doors

Plant Matters Kitchen

My very first attempt at dining Vegan only and it was a huge success. I loved every bite from appetiser to dessert, so much that I’m writing an entire post on this place. See the full post on Plant Matters Kitchen here.

Plant Matter Kitchen inside Downtown London Ontario Open Doors

Where to Stay in London Ontario

I have a few suggestions for stays in London from my returning visits there. Check out these three hotels (links available to full hotel reviews) below.

Delta London Armouries Hotel

Delta London Armouries Hotel

I loved the modern renovations inside mixed with the historical elements of the Historic London Armouries building. The rooms were modern with all the connections and plugs a business travel would need, and the location is right in Downton London Ontario. Delta London Armouries‎ a Modern Hotel with Hidden History.

Idlewyld Inn London Provides A Chic Victorian Luxury Escape

Idlewyld Inn and Spa, London Ontario

For a boutique stay in a charming restored historic mansion. The Idlewyld Inn and Spa are the way to go. Just outside of downtown London, this is a great place to stay if you’re looking for some luxury and a little quiet. Still minutes from downtown this is a favourite of mine. Click here for the hotel review.

Inside King Suite at Idlewyld Inn view of bed

Station Park All Suite Hotel

Depending on which side of Downtown London you want to be at, the Station Park All Suite Hotel is located at the opposite end from the Delta Armories. Both great choices if you are doing things in the heart of the city. This hotel is like getting a condo vs. a hotel room, with a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. Click here for the hotel review

Downtown London Ontario held a wonderful open doors weekend where its local museums and attractions opened their doors with no admission fees. We saw historic museums, shopped local markets and ate in some delicious restaurants in the city.

Pin to your favourite Ontario travels board.

Travel assistance provided by Ontario’s Southwest TourismTourism London Ontario and CK Table. As always the opinions in this post are my own.

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