Canadian Destination No. 6: London Takes a Step Forward

London offers the perks of a big city with the touches of a small community.

It boasts a university with an Ivy League reputation, a business sector cloaked in medical research, manufacturing and insurance, and a central location that serves as a crossroads for major intersections and a midway point between major cities.

But that’s not all it has going for it. After sitting in the seventh spot in the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destinations rankings for more than a decade, London is on the move.

“There is no question that London is a great place to live, work, study and raise a family,” London Mayor Matt Brown said. “Our diverse economy, great schools and vibrant culture come together to make our Forest City a community of choice for our 380,000 residents.”

London jumped one spot to the No. 6 destination city for 2014. The rankings reflect the top Canadian destinations of one-way U-Haul truck rentals for the past calendar year.

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Click here for more #Uhaulfamous photos from London

While migration trends do not correlate directly to a city’s population or economic growth, they are a strong gauge as to how well cities are attracting new residents.

Insider Advice: Moving to London

“London is a thriving university and college town,” said David Anstett, marketing company president for U-Haul Company of Western Ontario. “Western Ontario University and Fanshawe College drive the city. London is a test center for a lot of new products, so a lot of companies set up their headquarters there.

“When you’re talking about the outdoors, I lived in London for a short time and loved the parks. They have the Budweiser Gardens for hockey games and big concerts. London has everything you need that a big city has, but packaged in a smaller city.”

Western attracts students and researchers from across the world. Its alumni list reads like a “Who’s Who” of entrepreneurs, entertainers and politicians.

“The university is very much a part of the community, and it’s a younger community,” Anstett added. “People come from all over to go to Western, and it has a lot of school spirit. Canadian Ivy League schools aren’t the same as what they are in the U.S., but this one is close to it. I don’t go there, but I want to go there.”

Companies haven’t been shy about establishing their national headquarters in London. Being situated at the intersection of Highways 401 and 402 with close proximity to Toronto and Detroit – and easy access to border crossings at Detroit, Port Huron and Buffalo – provides an attractive option for manufacturing and shipping purposes.

Insider Advice: Living in London

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Downtown London (Credit: City of London)

Most of the business in Southern Ontario revolves around London, where a multi-cultural community is quietly thriving. Much of the residential and service industry growth is to the west of town, according to Anstett, but there are signs of development everywhere.

U-Haul has 28 neighborhood dealers and two stores in the London area, and is looking to expand to meet the increasing demands of a growing city. Students, who move on and off campus with each passing semester, can make use of the many U-Haul products geared to fit their needs such as U-Box containers, self-storage and Collegeboxes.com.

London is the fourth of five Ontario cities in the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destinations. Continue to visit myuhaulstory.com as U-Haul counts down to the No. 1 destination for 2014.

London residents are invited to become U-Haul Famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo through Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to www.uhaulfamous.com to submit photos and learn more.

Additional photo credit: Skylines (featured image and thumbnail) by City of London.

Canadian Destination Cities

10. Kitchener

9. Victoria

8. Hamilton

7. Ottawa

Interactive Infographic on London:

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