September 22, 2021, marks the 50th anniversary of the official opening of London’s City Hall in 1971. Join us and learn more about London City Hall's fascinating history; beautiful architecture; and about the intriguing people, events and stories associated with this prominent building.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lunaapeewak peoples who have longstanding relationships to the land, water and region of southwestern Ontario. The local First Nation communities of this area include Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee-Delaware Nation. Additionally,  there is a growing urban Indigenous population who make the City of London home. We value the significant historical and contemporary contributions of local and regional First Nations of Turtle Island (North America).

1971 Grand Opening 

On September 22, 1971, a grand celebration marked the opening of London’s new City Hall. During the grand opening, Dufferin Street was closed to vehicles as hundreds of Londoners came out to witness the ceremony. The City hosted four days of celebrations to mark the grand opening. Events included tours of the new facility, concerts and dancing and a beer garden in Centennial Plaza!

All archival photographs sourced from London Free Press Collection, Western Libraries and Special Collections.

City Hall Architect Phillip Carter Johnson

The man behind the blueprint: Philip Carter Johnson

The building was designed by London architect Philip Carter Johnson, who was the lead architect on many buildings across Southern Ontario in the 50s and 60s. Johnson was so passionate about his work, when he suffered a heart attack during the construction of London City Hall, he insisted the ambulance stop by the site on the return home from the hospital to make sure work was being done to his exact standard while he was sick.

Roll out the red carpet

Over the years, there have been so many interesting celebrities who have walked through the City Hall doors. Everyone from Queen Elizabeth and Colonel Sanders to Paul Lewis and Miss Canada.

Photos on this page have been sourced from London Free Press Collection, Western Libraries and Special Collections and the Johnson Family.