Tucked away in southwestern Ontario is the beautiful and small city of St. Thomas. Once a bustling hub with over 26 railways passing through it, the town continues to offer an abundant of recreational and economic opportunities.
Home to over 41 000 people, it’s a stunning place to visit and live. Its rich history and small town vibe play major roles in the city’s current industries and culture. On top of that, here are 5 more reasons why you should visit St. Thomas, Ontario (and see why it’s a great place to live).
1. ST. THOMAS HAS A VARIETY OF ANNUAL EVENTS AND FESTIVALS.
Don’t let the size of the place fool you. The residents in St. Thomas know how to have fun. And consequently, they know how to create one heck of a celebration - just check out their annual Canada Day Fireworks show. In addition, the city’s annual events include the Arts Crawl, the Great Lakes International Airshow, Light the Night, the Iron Horse Festival, Beerlesque, the Conductor’s Choice Culinary Tour, and the Santa Clause Parade.
In particular, the Iron Horse Festival is one of a kind. It’s even considered the greatest street festival in Elgin County. It involves various rides, street performers, food vendors, and more. The whole festival spans over 4 days in August. And it drives the funding for maintaining the old railway system (The railway system was built in 1872 and is a proud part of St. Thomas’s history). It’s definitely worth checking out.
The Railway City Arts Crawl further keeps the winter months alive in St. Thomas with a spectacular display of local artists set in various venues throughout St. Thomas creating on-site. You don't want to miss this unique event!
In addition, Beerlesque offers craft beer sampling, live music, food vendors, and more every May. The Conductor’s Choice Culinary Tour is also unique to the St. Thomas area - combining the area’s rich railway history with a culinary experience. All these events define the people and the city of St. Thomas, making it an exciting and enjoyable place to live.
2. THE CITY IS IN AN IDEAL LOCATION!
In a quick 30 minute drive to the north, you’ll find yourself in the greater London area. In other words, a visit to a big city is just a drive away!
Lake Erie is close to the south of St. Thomas - and it offers a variety of summer activities for the whole family. Beach day anyone? You won’t have to venture far. A short 20-minute drive and you’ll find yourself at Port Stanley Beach. It’s perfect for a day or afternoon adventure.
3. THE ATTRACTIONS DON’T DISAPPOINT.
Have you ever been up close and personal with the biggest elephant in the world? In St. Thomas, you can be - at least in the form of a giant memorial statue. Jumbo the Elephant was the biggest elephant of his time. He travelled around partaking in one of the biggest circus shows on earth. Unfortunately, Jumbo met his demise with an unfortunate bump with a locomotive in 1885.
The statue, erected in his honor, weighs 38 tons and stands at a whopping 4 metres. It was built in 1985 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death. And today, it continues to draw visitors from miles around.
For beer enthusiasts, the Railway City Brewing Co. doesn’t disappoint. Many of the craft beers are named after historical events - such as the Dead Elephant Ale. All beers are locally made and crafted. Get a tour of the place and grab a few souvenirs while you’re at it!
You can also hop on over to the Railway Museum or Elgin Military Museum to take a dive into the area’s historical past.
4. THE PARKS OFFER A VARIETY OF RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES.
The stunning Pinafore Park covers 90 acres. If you love the great outdoors, you’ll live in this place. It has gardens galore, beautiful green space, a wildlife sanctuary, and much more. Take the family for a picnic or a stroll through the park. Make it a weekly affair!
Waterworks Park is also located in St. Thomas. This park was the first publicly owned park in St. Thomas. It’s origins go back to the 1900s. 25 acres around the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) pumping station and water treatment plant was not needed for waterworks purposes. Consequently, the land was developed as a recreational spot for citizen use. Beautiful water gardens were developed in 1932 - which still exist to this day. Today, the park is further home to a splash park as well as trails that allow for cross-country skiing in the winter months.
The community centre and YMCA further offer opportunity for ice skating, swimming, running, and more.
5. FOR RAILWAY ENTHUSIASTS, IT’S THE PERFECT PLACE.
With its rich railway history, individuals interested in the railway systems of North America won’t want to skip out on a visit to St. Thomas. Due to the city being a major junction for the railway in the 1800s, many buildings arose from this point in time and the city saw vast growth. St. Thomas wouldn’t be the city it is today without the railway system. It has even been called the ‘Railway Capital of Canada.’
St. Thomas is waiting for you! Plan your next weekend or week getaway in St. Thomas. Come explore the beautiful and quaint town, and all it has to offer.