A review By Mark Filipowich (for London Community News)
With more than 250 years of history and just over 420 square kilometres, London is a city with many stories to tell. Fortunately, Tourism London’s double decker bus tour offers residents and visitors a fascinating overview of the Forest City.
The tour begins at the Museum of Medical History (also Tourism London’s main office) at the corner of Wellington and Dundas and weaves through most of downtown. The tour guide sheds new light on many of the oldest businesses in the city, digging into the rich history behind the old streets. From there the bus passes by the oldest hotels and takes a scenic path toward Storybook Gardens. Most of the commentary from the guide is succinct and relevant, with only a few pieces of trivial filler.
After an hour of travel, the bus stops for 20 minutes at Storybook Gardens and, while the break is only meant to be a brief snack and bathroom break, it seems a shame the tour doesn’t allow more time to explore the park, especially for families. The hour-long return trip winds through Richmond Row, London’s major parks and some of the older residential areas at the city’s core.
Still, there were some historical facts or noteworthy locations of the city that went unmentioned during a few long stretches of silence. The tour didn’t cover the Labatt brewery, and the city’s contributions to medical research and the two world wars were only tangentially discussed. However the chance to see London’s scenery from a higher angle, especially the treeline around the Thames may make up for some of the quieter moments of the tour.
Overall, $13 (with discount rates for children, seniors and groups) is a reasonable price for the two-hour tour. There were a few articles of information that were curiously missing, but for the most part what is mentioned is interesting enough. Even those that aren’t interested in London’s past will at least enjoy seeing parts of the city they don’t often visit. The tour seems to be designed with visitors in mind, but even those that have lived in London for years can learn a lot about their home.
The tour is short and sweet, but worth the price of admission. The tour’s season begins on June 27 and runs until the end of the summer, with the bus running at 10 in the morning and again at 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.