Visit Paris, Athens, London, Stratford, and Delhi without having to leave the province of Ontario

Translated and edited by Rosemary Baptista, CILISAT certified translator

During the pandemic it is difficult to take trips whether it is international or provincial. The good news is that we can get to know places like Brussels, Lisbon, Melbourne, Dublin among others, without having to leave the province of Ontario.

I have done it myself. A few years ago, my husband and I rented a car and visited London, Paris, Vienna, and Copenhagen, all in one weekend!

Wave reviewed some cities that are worth a visit: Paris, Athens, London, Stratford, and Delhi.

Paris, Ontario

View of little Paris, Ontario, on the banks of the River Nith. (Photo: Mary Margaret Peralta)

If you prefer to say you went to Paris, the small town is on the way between Toronto and London, near Hamilton.

Little Paris was named after the Gypsum deposits that were nearby, used to make the so-called “Paris plaster” or the “white Parisian”. 

The city has been named the “Most Beautiful Little City in Canada” by Harrowsmith magazine and is well worth a visit, be it shopping on the main street, paddling the Grand River or walking the Baker’s Bush trail network.

A curiosity about Paris: while the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1874, in neighboring Brantford, the first distant transmission was made between Brantford and Paris, on August 3, 1876.

Athens, Ontario

Detail of mural in the small town of Athens, Ontario. (Photo: Pinterest)

Former Farmersville was renamed Athens in 1888 by Arza Parish. The small town of just over 3,000 is near Brockville, 90 kilometers south of Ottawa, close to the US boarder.

Currently, Athens is known for the large murals depicting local historical life, painted on the outside of several buildings.

London, Ontario

University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. (Photo: Md. Kamrul Hasan)

Dubbed the “Forest City”, our London also has the Thames River (Thames). This is due to John Simcoe, the lieutenant governor of the province, who named the place and river, intending for it to become the capital city which was then known as the province of Upper Canada.

Although, London did not become the capital city, it is today, one of the main cities in Ontario. With just over 380 thousand inhabitants and located 200 kilometers from Toronto and Detroit, in the USA, it is home to the University of Western Ontario, Fanshawe College, and several hospitals. The city also has several parks and festivals.

It is common for the residents to ask when talking about London, whether they are referring to London, Ontario or London, England.

Stratford, Ontario

Teatro Royal Shakespeare em Stratford, Ontario. (Photo: Martin Kimla)

Located about 60 kilometers from London, the Canadian Stratford, like its English namesake, celebrates everything about Shakespeare.  Located on the banks of the River Avon (as is the English city) has just over 30 thousand inhabitants and, in addition to being where Justin Bieber grew up, is the land of the largest classical repertoire theater company in North America. There they produce classics, contemporary and musical dramas, with an emphasis on Shakespeare’s plays.

Although the Stratford plays are on hiatus due to the pandemic, it is still possible to walk along the Avon River and, for Bieber fans, to visit outside the Avon Theater, where the then-unknown singer performed for visiting tourists and passerby.

Delhi, Ontario

Fachada do Museu do Tabaco em Delhi, Ontario (Foto: Monte Sonemberg)

Like Athens, Delhi, is also a small rural southern Ontario town, in Norfolk County. The name Delhi is was a tribute made to the East Indian city, during the shift era in 1856, when India was under the leadership of the British Empire.

Known as the “Garden of Ontario” for the abundance of fruits and vegetables grown there, Delhi also adopted the nickname, “Heart of the Tobacco Land”.

The importance of tobacco is so strong in this city, that there is the Delhi Tobacco Museum & Heritage Center, which currently closed due to the pandemic. This is Canada’s only tobacco museum, home to a large agricultural collection that includes exhibits on tobacco, ginseng and alternative farming grown in Norfolk County.

Although visiting these towns and cities may not be the same as visiting the famous ones, one will still draw satisfaction from the beauty and attractions each city offers.

Did you know that the city of Kitchener was once called Berlin? Had Berlin not been changed to Kitchener, it would be on this list as well.