Back to the...One River? Springbank Dam Environmental Assessment  Learn More

By revitalizing the Thames River our hope is to catalyze community change

Back to the River puts Canada's London on the map

July 3, 2015

When London Community Foundation embarked on the journey of revitalizing London’s beloved Thames River, our hope was to catalyze community change. Since the project has launched, I have witnessed an outpouring of support from community members who care deeply about our river. Furthermore, our community has gained international recognition through the design competition with over 300 expressions of interest from all over the world!

I am delighted to announce the short list of design firms selected to make full submissions in the second phase of the competition. The jury met on June 30th,  2015 for a tour of the Thames followed by a full day of deliberations. Five firms were chosen from 19 first phase submissions from highly qualified design firms from all over the world.

The selected firms include:

  • Brook Mcllroy, Toronto and Thunder Bay
  • Civitas, Denver
  • PWL Partnership, Vancouver
  • Janet Rosenberg Studio, Toronto
  • Stoss + Dillon, Boston and Toronto

Evaluation was based on strength and quality of the proponent’s vision statement, experience of the lead proponent and proponent team, as well as demonstrated success with projects of similar size and scope.

We were highly impressed with the response to the RFQ. With over 300 expressions of interest, Back to the River has certainly put London, Ontario on the map!  We’re thrilled with the jury’s decision and are looking forward to the next phase of the project.

The next phase of the competition will involve the preparation of a complete vision for the entire downtown riverfront, more detailed plans for the river edges around the Forks of the Thames and the SoHo District, and the identification of two inaugural projects that could be quickly developed to kick start the regeneration of the City of London’s primary open space asset.

Final submissions will be received in mid-October, following which each of the contestants will make public presentations of their proposals in front of the jury.  The winning proponent will be announced in early November and will be awarded a design contract with the City of London of at least $200,000 to initiate a detailed design of the inaugural project at the Forks of the Thames.

There’s no doubt this project has the power to change the way the rest of the world see’s Canada’s London. We value the river and it is rooted to our community’s identity. The Thames River connects Londoners to their history, their future, and each other. The river belongs to everyone in the community and it is something everyone can enjoy.

Change occurs when people believe in it. I believe in London and I know this project has the power to bring new life to our community.

So come and join us. Let’s go back to the river!


Martha Powell
Martha is the President & CEO of London Community Foundation; a public charitable foundation that strives to improve the London and Middlesex region by making grants to charitable organizations. Overseeing an endowment quickly exceeding $65 million, under Martha's leadership the Foundation works to build community capacity, encourage philanthropy and convene groups and individuals to create community change.