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London is at the confluence of the Thames River, approximately 200 km (120 mi) from both Toronto and Detroit; and about 230 km (140 mi) from Buffalo, New York.
The city of London is a separated municipality, politically separate from Middlesex County, though it remains the county seat.
Sir John Carling, Tory MP for London, gave three events to explain the development of London in a 1901 speech: the location of the court and administration in London in 1826, the arrival of the military garrison in 1838, and the arrival of the railway in 1853. Brick buildings included a jail and court house, and large barracks.
London had a fire company, a theatre, a large Gothic church, nine other churches or chapels, and two market buildings.
Staffed by British Regulars, adult male students underwent three-month-long military courses from 1865 at the School of Military Instruction in London.
Established by Militia General Order in 1865, the school enabled Officers of Militia or Candidates for Commission or promotion in the Militia to learn Military duties, drill and discipline, to command a Company at Battalion Drill, to Drill a Company at Company Drill, the internal economy of a Company and the duties of a Company's Officer.
One-fifth of London was destroyed and this was the province's first million-dollar fire.It replaced a succession of flood-failed wooden structures that had provided the city's only northern road crossing of the river.