London and the Thames were named in 1793 by John Graves Simcoe, who proposed the site for the capital city of Upper Canada. The first European settlement was between 1801 and 1804 by Peter Hagerman. The village was founded in 1826 and incorporated in 1855. Since then, London has grown to be the largest southwestern Ontario municipality and Canada’s 11th largest metropolitan area, having annexed many of the smaller communities that surround it.
London is a regional centre of healthcare and education, being home to the University of Western Ontario (which brands itself “Western University”), Fanshawe College, and three major hospitals: Victoria Hospital, University Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital. The city hosts a number of musical and artistic exhibits and festivals, which contribute to its tourism industry, but its economic activity is centered on education, medical research, manufacturing, financial services, and information technology. London’s university and hospitals are among its top ten employers. London lies at the junction of Highways 401 and 402, connecting it to Toronto, Windsor, and Sarnia. These highways also make the Detroit-Windsor, Port Huron-Sarnia, and Niagara Falls border crossings with the United States easily accessible. The city also has train stations and bus stations and is home to London International Airport.