But which neighbourhood? All of them! London has always been a city unified by its name but today, neighbourhood boundaries are much clearer than they have been in the past. Through urban revitalization plans, public consultations, and the development of community organizations, the Forest City has become a place defined by neighbourhood pride and the desire to keep said revitalization coming.
Why is this important? Well, to more particularly define the pieces, we approach a more fully defined whole. Our collective identity becomes one made up of many elements where diversity, arts, culture, business, entertainment, and leisure can flourish. In addition, these neighbourhood identities promote local exploration where Londoners (and beyond) can make a day out of exploring places like the parks of Byron, or the plethora of independent restaurants in SoHo, or entertainment and shopping options in the Old East Village. It’s a beautiful thing and we’re happy it’s happening in London.
So, where should you explore next? Our answer is “everywhere” but let’s take a look at some London neighbourhoods who have been defining this city for decades as well as some that are increasingly adding to the vibrancy of our already eclectic and diverse landscape.
1 – Argyle
Located in southeast London, Argyle has become a hustling, bustling area of commercial offerings as well as leisure spots. When traveling down Dundas east, check out the slew of independent shops and services who look to be frozen in time, offering now what they have for many successful decades. Argyle has become a fully defined and enticing place (which encompasses some smaller areas too) with a very active Community Association and… they even have their own Santa Claus parade!
Find out more about argyle right here.
2 – Blackfriars
Blackfriar’s has become one of London’s most beloved neighbourhoods. Existing just outside the downtown core, the area runs along the Thames River and has so much to offer, both in terms of present day as well as local heritage. As one of the oldest areas in the city, it boasts many beautiful homes and other iconic historical features. Of particular note, Blackfriars is home to Labatt Park, a centre for sports and leisure in London since 1877. In addition, the Blackfriars Bridge (which was recently removed for restoration and will be reassembled), has connected the community to London’s downtown since 1877.
Find out more about Black Friars right here.
3 – Byron
This southwest London neighbourhood is bordered by the Thames River and Colonel Talbot Road. It wasn’t officially part of the city until 1961 and it has retained its smalltown feel while adding to London a locally focused and picturesque quality. Beneath its century tree-lined streets and along its delightful main strip, you’ll find an array of shops, independent restaurants, and a very convenient proximity to one of London’s most beautiful parks, Springbank. To say that Byronites make their neighbourhood pride known is an understatement and no one could blame them!
Find out more about Byron right here.
4 – Carling Heights
Carling Heights encompasses an area of northeast London which lays just beyond the CN rail tracks and is a stone’s throw from the beautiful Old East Village (see below). This spot is a lovely mix of residential and commercial locations with beautiful heritage homes, plenty of shopping options along with one of London’s most historic sites, Wolseley Barracks and the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum. Suffice it to say there is no shortage of things to do and see in this area and its proximity to downtown and other vibrant neighbourhoods surely makes it one of London’s next up and comers.
Find out more about Carling Heights right here.
5 – Old East Village
One might say this is currently London’s most burgeoning and coveted neighbourhoods right now. The streets are lined with beautiful century homes (many with heritage designation), the retail, coffee, bakery, and butcher shops are endless, and it boasts many of the city’s most iconic entertainment venues (Palace Theatre, Aeolian Hall, Western Fair and more). On top of all that, the Western Fair Farmer’s Market has become a local pride and joy and truly defines the neighbourhood. Whether you’re looking to live in or just love the OEV, spend a Saturday exploring and, we can assure, you will very quickly realize that this London neighbourhood is tight-knit but very welcoming and one of the most appealing in this city.
Find out more about the OEV right here.
6 – Old South and Wortley Village
Although technically separate, Old South and Wortley Village are certainly integral to one another. Nestled amongst Commissioners, Wellington, and Wharncliffe Roads, this neighbourhood of early-mid century homes and local shops looks like it has been pulled straight out of a movie. In 2013 Wortley Village was voted the “greatest neighbourhood in Canada” and it doesn’t take much time to see why. The place it idyllic with entertainment and leisure options galore along with ample green space to wander and take in your surroundings. When it comes to neighbourhood pride, Wortley and Old South have this down pat.
Find out more about Old South and Wortley Village right here.
7 – SoHo
SoHo or “South of Horton” has been hailed THE up and coming London neighbourhood just outside of downtown. Over the years this area has seen its share of revitalization and efforts to make it one of London finest. It sits amongst beautiful century homes and there’s easy access to bike and walking trails. But, we must say one of the most incredible of SoHo offerings is the restaurant selection. Made up almost entirely of mom-and-pop, independent operations you can enjoy anything from traditional fish and chips to Caribbean delights, from big breakfasts to family-style Chinese and so much more. No matter what you’re hungry for, you can find it in SoHo!
Find out more about SoHo right here.
8 – Woodfield
Woodfield is arguably the most beautiful neighbourhood in London. This small, historic district is made up of sprawling property lines, lush green space, trees (that seem) as old as time, and heritage homes that have remained unchanged over their century and a half existence. When walking through Woodfield, it feels as though you’ve stumbled into the pages of a Victoria novel and since it’s sandwiched between both Downtown and OEV, you’re never too far from anything you could need or want.
Find out more about Woodfield right here.
We must point out that this list is by no means exhaustive. London’s now burgeoning networks of neighbourhoods extend far beyond this list and we’d love to hear your thoughts on others not covered here. Where do you live? And what about it makes you proud to be part of it? Let us know in the comments!
Stay tuned for part two to see which other London neighbourhoods are showing their pride and defining our city right now!
Feature photo of the Woodfield Community Porch Series by Eric Klingenberger