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The Coves Neighbourhood

Though often thought of as part of Old South, the Coves has enough unique characteristics that it should be thought of as its neighbourhood.  What it shares with Old South is a high concentration of older properties, a number of them distinctive historical homes.  What gives the Coves its unique feel is that the area is surrounded by extensive green space: the unique geography of the Coves Environmentally Significant Area and Euston Park.  Because of this geography to the west and south and Wharncliffe to the east, the area is also defined by its quiet dead end streets, each with its own character.


The Coves Environmentally Significant Area

Although, strictly speaking, the ESL is mostly located in the Southcrest neighbourhood to the west, it seems best to include the description of this area here, in the area that shares its name.  The Coves area is a sub-watershed of the greater Thames River Watershed. The most predominant feature of the sub-watershed, The Coves Ponds, were formed by an abandoned oxbow of the Thames River. Sedimentation from adjacent ravines and infilling by adjacent landowners have now created 3 distinct ponds; the East, West, and South Ponds. The ponds area is connected to the remainder of the upstream sub-watershed by a steep sided, ravine system to the south.

The ravines that provide the connection to the upstream headwaters are well vegetated slopes that provide animal migration routes, natural drainage channels, and urban open space. They are too deep and steep to have permitted infilling and channelization related to urban development in the past.  The Cove Ponds and associated ravines provide a micro-climate that modifies high temperatures and provides aeration to the water flowing down through the meandering channel to the Ponds below.

The Coves was once a meander of the Thames River and is now a series of oxbow ponds. Oxbows are places of high species diversity. The City of London designated The Coves and the ravine that drains into them as an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA). This designation was in recognition of the distinctive land forms, the presence of forest area sensitive species, the hydrological characteristics, the diversity of species and the linkage function the area provides to the Thames River corridor.  The ESA designation recognizes that forest-area sensitive species such as the great crested flycatcher and the white-breasted nuthatch rely upon habitat such as this. The Coves ESA contains two provincially rare forest types: a black walnut forest and a hackberry forest. The Savannah Sparrow and the Brown Thrasher are level-one conservation priorities in Middlesex County and they use this area for breeding.

The Coves ESA is almost entirely privately owned, so the best way that we can ensure its protection and enhancement is by working with private landowners and residents to promote and implement ecologically friendly stewardship practices.

Map of the Coves ESA

The Cove ponds were described by the early explorers to this area in 1796. They are documented in the journals of Major Littlehale, who accompanied John Graves Simcoe. They were visited prior to the discovery of the Forks of the Thames River where the north and south branches meet and the City of London was first settled.

Archaeological investigations have not been completed for the Ponds region, however, they are considered as a high risk potential due to their proximity to the Thames and the elevation vantage point that is provided by the banks.

It is held that David Suzuki first experienced his love of natural history, while exploring in the Coves ponds.

Source: Friends of the Coves


London Region Children’s Museum

The London Regional Children’s Museum is a special place for children and their grown-ups to play and learn together. They are open for special programs, field trips, workshops, day camps, and birthday parties.  Or just visit them for fun!  It’s filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits that encourage children from infancy to twelve to explore and discover science, arts, heritage and more.

Thirty years ago, the idea of a museum for children was virtually unknown in Canada, but a 1973 visit to a children’s museum in Boston convinced the founder, Carol Johnston, to start Canada’s first children’s museum in London.  Together with a group of enthusiastic volunteers, Carol began running programs in 21 playgrounds throughout the city, building support for the idea. The Children’s Museum then occupied a variety of temporary facilities until 1982 when Riverview Public School was purchased, renovated and became the museum’s permanent home.  Today, 100,000 visitors explore its exhibits, programs and galleries each year.

Source: London Region Children’s Museum


Parks and Other Places of Interest

The area is home to The Springbank Flats, Euston Park, Murray Park and a portion of The Coves Environmentally Significant Area.



There are no longer any schools in The Coves neighbourhood.





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