The area around the forks of the Thames River in southwestern Ontario has been settled by various peoples on-and-off for the past 15,000 years. But it really didn’t come into great significance until 1793 when John Graves Simcoe (first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada) deemed the site to be "a capital situation, eminently calculated for the metropolis of all Canada". Soon after however he deemed Toronto to be a better "capital situation" - but not before bestowing the fitting name of "London" on the proposed city.
Though London would not become the capital of Upper Canada, it has since become the capital of commerce, industry, and education in the region. Ever since the first trees were cleared for a small hemp plantation in 1816 the city has been known as a Canadian and international centre for such diverse industries as banking, insurance, oil refining, cigar manufacturing, and brewing. In fact many of Canada’s largest and most important companies were born right here, including: Canada Trust, London Life Insurance, Imperial Oil, Labatt and Carling Breweries. London is also home to two of Canada’s largest educational institutions (the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College) and is known as an important centre for medical research.
Today London has a reputation as a first rate city of dignified architecture from all respective periods, and its abundant greenery long ago earned it the nickname of "The Forest City". Meanwhile, London’s cosmopolitan population is as economically and culturally diverse as any community of its size. In truth, London can be described at once as a small city with a big city atmosphere, and a big town with a small town charm.