GRAND WALKS Episode 5: Discovering our Downtown with Kathy McLaughlin


Discovering our Downtown with Kathy McLaughlin

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You would be hard pressed to find another person with the knowledge of and passion for London’s downtown as Kathy McLaughlin – a proud, lifelong Londoner.

In this week’s Grand Walk, Daniel and Kathy start their conversation at what many would consider the true core of London, Ontario – the Forks of the Thames – and make their way to Victoria Park, another signature space in our city.

They pass the many shops and restaurants that make up our Downtown, stop to admire the architecture of the many historical buildings and share their thoughts on the gentrification that London is experiencing along with so many other cities in Canada and across the world.

As they walk by businesses like Bud Gardens, Jill’s Table, London Music Hall and Grace Restaurant – all hard hit by the pandemic – a chance conversation with Mark Kitching, owner of Waldo’s and Mark’s Meats demonstrates the resilience and positivity of London’s merchants and proprietors.

Daniel and Kathy share thoughts on the uniqueness of London and the importance of caring for the heart of our cities, our downtowns. And... it must be noted that Daniel achieves hero-status in Kathy’s eyes by divulging his record-setting consumption of BoxCar Donuts... ours too!

Walk the walk or listen from wherever you are in London, Ontario or across the world.

How to Walk the Walk:

  1.  Look at the map and learn your route. If you have a printer, download and print the map or simply follow the map from your device when you arrive at the starting position.
  2.  Download the podcast.
  3.  Travel to starting position located on map.
  4.  Press play and keep directions close by.
  5.  5. Take a selfie along the route and tag us on social media @thegrandlondon

A transcript of the conversation with accompanying photos is posted below for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities or for those who prefer to read.  Click here to jump straight to the transcript and photos of the walk.

The final podcast in this series will feature OEV resident and business owner Adam Sturgeon. Check back on November 7th for "There's Always Something New in Old East Village".

Episodes 1-4 can be accessed here. Emma Donoghue, Dr. Alan Shepard, Marie Williams and Natasha George share stories from their London neighbourhoods and communities.

Kathy McLaughlin's Route:
Discovering our Downtown


Start at the Forks of the Thames

Head South along TVP toward the parking lot at 331 Thames Street

Walk South through parking lot at 331 Thames toward King Street

Head East along King Street

Head North along Clarence Street

Head West along Dundas Street

Head North on Richmond Street

Head East on Dufferin Street

Cross into Victoria Park

Click map for a larger view

Download as PDF

About Kathy McLaughlin

Kathy McLaughlin is a lifelong Londoner who has lived in both suburban and core neighbourhoods of our city.

Kathy attended Western University (Brescia) and has worked in finance, corporate, adult learning, business process consulting and project management roles in the Financial Services sector for 16 years before moving to a Boston-based global learning organization, as a relationship manager working with Canadian corporate clients. Her love for London meant she wasn’t away very long! Her volunteer work at MainStreet London evolved into an 18-year career working in the Small Business sector in London's core.

A connector, a coach, a mentor and a raving fan of arts and culture, local businesses and people who make a difference in our community every day, Kathy delights in meaningful conversations with people to get to the heart of what makes them tick. “I love helping people and organizations navigate through transformational journeys, especially when the stakes are high, and change is the only way forward.”

Episode 5 Transcript

Discovering our Downtown with Kathy McLaughlin   53:11


Please note that this episode was taped in late August 2020 and public health protocols for that time period were strictly adhered to by all participants.
Recording cables are 8-10 feet in length and while the perspective of some photos may suggest otherwise, strict adherence to the protocols were followed by all participants.

Kathy McLaughlin, Mark Kitching, Lacie George, Daniel Bennett

Photos by Whitney South

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London, ON N6A 3E4