The official website of the City of London300 Dufferin Avenue519-661-CITY (2489)

History of London - 1977 to 2000


The Lord Mayor of London, England made an official visit to participate in the events marking the City’s 125th Anniversary of incorporation. A new focal point at the Forks of the Thames was created with the construction of the distinctively arched structure of the London Regional Art Gallery. Londoners’ shopping world expanded with construction projects such as a major addition to White Oaks Mall in the south and the building of Masonville Mall in the north. Council meetings became accessible to residents from their home with the start of these sessions being televised. Among the many changes in the organization and delivery of hospital care was the completion of a facility for geriatric and veterans' care (Parkwood Hospital); five years later the Western Counties Wing was officially opened Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Noteworthy in changing the downtown landscape was a new building for Covent Market, the construction of a Convention Centre and the highrise office tower One London Place. The City’s boundaries also changed with London’s annexation of the Town of Westminster and small portions of the Townships of Delaware, London, North Dorchester and West Nissouri.

Expand All
Collapse All
  • 1977
    • ​As of October 3, Westminster Hospital ceased to exist as a legal entity and became an integral part of Victoria Hospital Corporation and known as Victoria Hospital/Westminster Campus. 
    • Native born Guy Lombardo, band leader of the Royal Canadians, died in November. A music scholarship has been set up in his memory at the Music School, U.W.O. 
    • R. A. Blackwell appointed City Solicitor on June 20.
  • 1978
    • ​The "Super Storm" of the year began at 7 a.m. on Thursday, January 26 and ended 7 p.m. Friday dropping a record amount of 32 cm. of snow.
    • The official opening of the Guy Lombardo Bridge, spanning the River Thames and connecting Wonderland Road with Hutton Road, was held at the centre of the Bridge in November.
    • Council approved the televising of Council meetings on April 3.
    • The University of Western Ontario which was founded in 1878, celebrated its centennial with a special Founder's Day Convocation to honour the occasion.

  • 1979
    • ​The Management Systems Development Project (M.S.D.P.) was initiated and will be completed by 1984. The purpose of this project is to strengthen the existing support systems and to develop new management systems that will enable the City Administration to effectively and efficiently deal with the increasing demand for more accurate and timely information.
  • 1980
    • ​1980 was the 125th Anniversary of incorporation of the City of London, which occasion was marked by the First Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment exercising its Freedom of the City in a parade; Labour Day weekend was celebrated with a parade and arts and crafts displays in Victoria Park; Lord Mayor of London, England made an official visit to the City; and the City Hall held an open house to display historical documents, etc. with the employees dressed in period costumes.
    • City Clerk W. S. Ross appointed Commissioner of Administrative Services on March 11.
    • Chief Administrative Officer M. E. MacLean resigned March 17.
    • S. F. Readings appointed City Treasurer on March 17.
    • May 3 marked the official opening of the London Regional Art Gallery at the forks of the Thames River.
    • May 31, Prince Philip, the Colonel in Chief of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, visited the City and his Regiment.
    • Oxford Street Bridge over the Thames River reconstructed and named the Norman A. Bradford Bridge.
    • The Honourable Pauline McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, took part in the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Dearness Home on June 15.
    • City Engineer A. K. Rowntree retired July 3.
    • D. B. G. Dutton appointed City Engineer on July 28.
    • Commissioner of Administrative Services and City Clerk, W. S. Ross, died November 29.
    • Commissioner of Community Services M. C. Engels appointed City Administrator effective November 30.
    • His Excellency Governor General Edward Schreyer and Mrs. Schreyer opened the 1981 World Junior Figure Skating Competition being held at the Thompson Arena in December.
  • 1981
    • ​P.C. McNorgan appointed City Clerk on February 2.
    • London hosted the "Silver Broom" Canadian Curling Championships in the Thompson Arena in March.
    • K. L. Perry appointed Director of Planning and Development on October 13 to head new Planning and Development Department.
    • D. R. Sexsmith appointed the City's first Internal Auditor on November 30.
  • 1982
    • ​London's Karen Baldwin (Miss Canada '82) crowned Miss Universe in Lima, Peru in July.

  • 1983
    • ​R.A. Barr appointed Fire Chief on February 1.
    • N. L. Shipley appointed Police Chief on May 31.
    • The Royal Canadian Regiment celebrated its Centennial Year which was highlighted by the visit of its Colonel-in-Chief, H.R.H. The Prince Philip, who attended a Trooping of the Colour ceremony on July 1 at J. W. Little Stadium which involved all 5 battalions of the Regiment from across Canada.
    • Contract awarded for construction of Phase I of the Horton St. Extension, the construction of bridges over the Thames River at the west end of Horton St.
  • 1984
    • ​Ontario celebrated its Bi-centennial all year. Special Bi-centennial events were held in London.
    • The Council approved a two-phase refurbishing program for Centennial Hall involving an addition to the north side and refurbishing of the interior of the main auditorium.
    • Construction started on the Masonville Place Mall at the corner of Richmond Street North and Fanshawe Road, a major new retail centre.
    • A tornado struck South London on September 2 causing property damage, but no deaths or severe injuries.
    • The new Parkwood Hospital for geriatric and veterans' care opened on December 5.
    • Phase I of the redevelopment of Victoria Hospital at its Westminster Campus neared completion.
    • Plans for the John P. Robarts Heart and Brain Research Institute at U.W.O. neared completion. Council approved a capital grant of $400,000.00 to the facility
    • St. Joseph's Hospital announced plans for a 70 million dollar renovation and expansion program.
    • The City sold $11,300,000.00 of debentures (10 year term; average rate of interest at 12.49%).
    • The Board of Education for the City of London moved its administrative offices from the old Normal School on Elmwood Avenue to a new Education Centre in the former Sir Adam Beck Secondary School on Dundas Street East.
    • The London & Middlesex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board purchased the old Normal School for its new administrative headquarters.

  • 1985
    • Dr. D. A. Hutchison retired on June 30 after 25 years of service as Medical Officer of Health. He was replaced by Dr. J. D. Pudden.
    • Completion of the extension of Horton Street, accomplished by the construction of a bridge linking Horton Street and Beaconsfield Avenue.
    • Alderman J. F. Fontana appointed Controller on April 15 to complete the balance of the term of Controller E. J. Smith who resigned to run in the Provincial election.
    • B. R. MacDonald appointed Alderman April 29 to complete balance of Alderman Fontana's term.
    • E. L. Wernham appointed Alderman April 29 to complete balance of term of Alderman G. E. Avola who resigned to run in the Provincial election.
    • Masonville Place Official Opening in August.
    • The City sold $12,500,000.00 of debentures (10 year term; average rate of interest at 10.10%)
    • Phase I of Victoria Hospital's new Westminster Campus officially opened on September 5, 1985.

  • 1986
    • ​Former Mayor J. F. Gosnell died on February 28, 1986.
    • City Clerk P. C. McNorgan retired effective April 30, 1986.
    • K. W. Sadler was appointed City Clerk effective May 19, 1986.
    • The City sold $9,400,000.00 of debentures (9 year term; average rate of interest at 9.25%)
    • Construction of the "Wharton Hotel London" commenced at the former Armouries located at the south-west corner of Dundas and Waterloo Streets.

  • 1987
    • ​The City of London completed two debenture sales in 1987, one of $2,850,000 (15 year terms; average rate of interest at 9.54%) for the financing of an addition to the parking garage at St. Joseph's Hospital; and the other of $13,500,000 (9 year term; average rate of interest at 9.70%).
    • Campeau Corporation started construction of a major downtown retail/commercial redevelopment in the block bounded by King, Wellington, Dundas and Clarence Streets.
    • The Public Utilities Commission moved from City Hall to its new administrative building at 111 Horton Street during August; its new headquarters was officially opened on September 11, 1987.
    • The new overpass on Wonderland Road North crossing the CPR main line was officially opened on November 10, 1987.
    • London's Melinda Gillies was crowned "Miss Canada '88" in Toronto in November.

  • 1988
    • ​Controller J. F. Fontana resigned from the office of Controller on October 3, 1988 to run in the Federal election, an election which he subsequently won.
    • The City sold $15,000,000 of debentures (9 year term; average rate of interest at 10.44%). An additional $2,000,000 was sold by the City on behalf of the London and Middlesex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board.
    • The 1988 Municipal Election resulted in the largest number of candidates (22) for the 4 P.U.C. positions. French language trustees to the school boards were elected for the first time.
    • A major addition to White Oaks Mall was opened.
    • The position of Assistant City Administrator was established, to which Mr. B. R. Puhach was appointed.
    • An "Old Boys Reunion" dubbed "Reunion London 1988" was celebrated from July 1-5, 1988 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of London's last old boys reunion. This event was overseen by a Reunion Committee under the honourary Chairmanship of Colonel Tom Lawson, C.M. Controller Art Cartier acted as Co-ordinator for these festivities.
  • 1989
    • ​An annexation of 1,150 acres of land from the Township of London became effective on April 1, 1989. 
    • The reconstructed Westmount Mall opened on April 5, 1989 
    • Her Excellency the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauve;, Governor General of Canada, visited London on May 29, 1989. 
    • The City's Tourist Information Centre on Wellington Road opened on June 2, 1989.
    • Alderman F. H. Flitton died in office on June 9, 1989 while attending the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Vancouver.
    • M. L. Metras was appointed by Council on June 26, 1989 as a Ward Two Alderman to replace the late Alderman Flitton.
    • Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, visited London on July 7, 1989 and officially opened the Western Counties Wing Veterans' Hospital and Banting Square.
    • The new Galleria London shopping complex in downtown opened on August 16, 1989.
    • The Right Honourable, The Lord Mayor of London, England, Sir Christopher Collett and Lady Anne Collett visited the City from September 7-9, 1989.
    • The refurbished Middlesex County Gaol was officially opened on November 25, 1989.
    • The City sold $16,000,000 of debentures (8 year term; average rate of interest at 10.48%)
  • 1990
    • ​The title of "Alderman" was changed to "Councillor" on April 1, 1990.
    • The City sold $16,000,000 of debentures (9 year term average rate of interest at 12.05%).
    • Deputy City Engineer A. Joynson retired in August, 1990.
    • The Bandshell in Victoria Park was re-constructed and re-opened in December, 1990.
    • The Station Park development on the former CPR lands between Richmond Street and Waterloo Street opened with one of the first major occupants being the London Chamber of Commerce.

  • 1991
    • ​The City sold $18,500,000.00 of debentures (9 year term, average rate of interest at 9.26%).
    • Police Chief L. Shipley, Fire Chief R. Barr, LTC General Manager G. K. Arblaster and Western Fair General Manager E. McGugan all retired during 1991.
    • The Minister of Municipal Affairs approved the City's New Official Plan on April 2, 1991 (subject to referrals and deferrals).
    • The Council passed a new comprehensive Zoning By-law (BL. No. Z.-1) on May 21, 1991.
    • The London Aquatic Centre on Wonderland Road North opened on August 9, 1991.
    • The "People and the City" sculpture was installed at the corner of Queens Avenue and Wellington Street.
    • Long-time members of City Council Controllers O. Zamprogna and J. McEwen retired and did not seek re-election.
  • 1992
    • ​The City sold $37,000,000.00 of debentures (9 year term, average rate of interest at 7.88%). 
    • During 1992 the RCMP's entire "O" Division headquartered in Toronto relocated to new offices in the Talbot Centre at the corner of Talbot and Carling Streets 
    • City Administrator Maurice C. Engels, City Treasurer Stanley F. Readings and City Engineer D'Arcy. B. Dutton all retired during 1992. 
    • John E. Fleming was appointed City Administrator effective August 24, 1992.
    • John W. Jardine was appointed City Engineer effective October 5, 1992.
    • The London-Middlesex Act, 1992 (Bill 75) was passed by the Legislative Assembly on December 10, 1992 to take effect on January 1, 1993. This legislation provided for the annexation to London of the entire Town of Westminster and of small portions of the Townships of Delaware, London, North Dorchester and West Nissouri. The Act also abolished the Public Utilities Commission of the City of London and replaced it with The Hydro-Electric Commission for the City of London. The Parks and Recreation functions of the former PUC became a Department of the City of London.
    • Bill 75 provided for the Mayor of the former Town of Westminster, Ben Veel, to be appointed to London City Council for the term ending November 30, 1994, thus increasing the size of the Council to 20 for that period. The size of the Council reverted to 19 for the next term for which the seven existing wards were reconfigured.
  • 1993
    • ​The City sold $42,728,000.00 of debentures (9 year term, average rate of interest at 6.47%).
    • Linda H. Kearney (later Reed) was appointed City Treasurer effective February 22, 1993.
    • On April 12, 1993 His Royal Highness, The Prince Edward visited the City on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the founding of London. His Royal Highness was the guest of honour at a Civic Luncheon hosted by His Worship Mayor Tom Gosnell at the Sheraton Armouries Hotel. His Royal Highness was accompanied to the City by His Honour Henry N. R. Jackman, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
    • On June 24, 1993 a major new office tower, One London Place, opened at the southwest corner of Queens Avenue and Wellington Street (site of the former YM-YWCA).
    • Councillor Patrick W. O'Brien resigned his seat as a Ward 3 Councillor on September 13, 1993 and was subsequently elected to the Parliament of Canada as the Member for London-Middlesex.
    • On October 12, 1993 Elizabeth Howard was appointed to the office of Councillor for Ward 3 for the term ending November 30, 1994 to replace former Councillor O'Brien.
    • The new London Convention Centre (LCC) on the north side of York Street between Wellington Street and Waterloo Street built at a cost of $40,000,000 opened on October 14, 1993. The LCC contains 6,224 square metres (67,000 square feet) of leasable space.
    • Victor A. Cote was appointed Director of Planning and Development effective November 1, 1993.
    • Gary W. Weese was appointed Fire Chief effective November 15, 1993.

  • 1994
    • ​The City sold $14,540,000.00 of debentures (9 year term, average rate of interest at 8.22%).
    • Long-time Councillor and three term Mayor Tom Gosnell did not seek re-election in the November Municipal Elections.
    • Deputy Mayor Jack Burghardt and first term Controller Dianne Haskett ran for the office of Mayor, with Ms. Haskett being the successful candidate.

  • 1995
    • ​There was no debenture sale in 1995.
    • In June 1995 the Council approved a major re-organization of Civic Departments which saw the abolition of the Parks and Recreation Department and of the City Clerk's Department as separate entities. Five new operating Departments emerged: the Finance and Administration Department led by Linda Reed as Commissioner of Finance and Administration and City Treasurer, the Legal Services Department led by Robert Blackwell as Commissioner of Legal Services and City Solicitor, the Environmental Services Department led by John Jardine as Commissioner of Environmental Services and City Engineer, the Community Services Department led by Glenn Howlett as Commissioner of Community Services and the Planning and Development Department led by Victor Cote as Commissioner of Planning and Development.
    • The functions of the former Parks and Recreation Department were dispersed amongst the Environmental Services Department, the Community Services Department and the Planning and Development Department.
    • The City Clerk's Department was to become a Division of the Legal Services Department effective January 1, 1997.

  • 1996
    • ​The City sold $15,000,000.00 of debentures (9 year term, average rate of interest at 4.75%).
    • The newly constructed Central Fire Hall at the north west corner of Horton Street and Colborne Street opened in April, 1996.
    • City Clerk Ken Sadler retired on December 20, 1996, and Jeff Malpass was appointed Acting City Clerk with his appointment as City Clerk to take effect on April 1, 1997.

  • 1997
    • ​Hydro Commissioners Deputy Mayor Grant Hopcroft and Daniel Young resigned their offices in May, 1997.
    • On June 23, 1997 the Council revoked the appointments of the three remaining Hydro Commissioners, Controller D. L. Erskine, Councillor E. L. Wernham and Dr. David Drinkwalter and appointed City Administrator John Fleming, City Solicitor Robert Blackwell, City Treasurer Linda Reed, City Engineer John Jardine and Commissioner of Community Services Glenn Howlett as interim Commissioners to serve until they were replaced or until the term of office ended on November 30, 1997.
    • In June, 1997 the City was awarded the bid to host the 2001 Canada Summer Games.
    • On June 26, 1997 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited the City and were accompanied in a walk-about through Victoria Park by Her Honour Hilary Weston, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and His Honour Galen Weston, the Honourable Herb Grey, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and the Honourable Michael Harris, the Premier of Ontario and Mrs. Harris. A tree was planted in Victoria Park by Her Majesty and Jesse and John Davidson to commemorate the Royal visit.
    • On July 22, 1997 Mr. Justice Desotti of the Ontario Court (General Division) quashed the by-laws passed on June 23, 1997 revoking the appointments of Controller Erskine and Councillor Wernham on the Hydro Commission and also the by-law appointing the City Administrator and four of the City Commissioners as interim Hydro Commissioners.
    • The London Life Insurance Company - founded in the city in 1874 - was purchased by The Great West Life Assurance Company headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  • 1998
    • ​The City sold $18,000,000.00 of debentures for certain general works (9 year term, average rate of interest at 5.4%)
    • The City sold debentures in the amount of $72,014,000.00 for the payment to the Ontario Clean Water Agency of all capital amounts owing in respect of the Elgin Area Primary Water Supply System, the Lake Huron Primary Water Supply System and the Elgin/Middlesex Secondary Water Supply System (20 year term, average interest at 5.66%)
    • On February 16, 1998 Linda H. Reed was appointed as City Administrator and Robert B. Blackwell was appointed Deputy City Administrator. 
    • On May 19, 1998 Nigel Bellchamber was appointed City Treasurer.

  • 1999
    • ​The City sold debentures in the amount of $18,375,000.00 (9 year term, average rate of interest at 6.2%)
      On October 18, 1999 Jeff A. Malpass was appointed Deputy City Manager 
    • In October Covent Garden Market re-opened in its new building
    • Adelaide Street North and Adelaide Street South were widened to four lanes
  • 2000
    • ​The City sold debentures in the amount of $33,000,000.00 (9 year term, average rate of interest at 6.1%)
    • On June 19, 2000 a by-law was enacted to authorize the transfer of the employees, assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of the Hydro-Electric Commission of the City of London to successor corporations in accordance with the Electricity Act, 1998
    • In September Robert J. Tolmie, Deputy City Clerk retired and Cathie L. Best was appointed Deputy City Clerk
    • The Wellington Street Gateway Project was completed
    • In December the Skating Rink at Covent Garden Market was opened
    • On December 4, 2000 Anne Marie DeCicco was sworn in as Mayor for the City of London and W. Russell Monteith was sworn in as Deputy Mayor.