What would Jane Jacobs do?
It’s a question on a T-shirt that I’ve always loved as it encompasses the vision of the late Toronto urbanist Jane Jacobs who believed that everyday people should take an active role in city building.
One of the ways of engaging with your community is through the annual Jane’s Walk, a series of citizen-led walking tours that take place around the world and here in Toronto May 3-5, 2019.
Jane’s Walks are free and led by fellow Torontonians who have a unique story about their neighbourhood. It’s a great way to get outdoors, explore a new corner of the City and join the movement that cities should be planned for and by people – even little city builders.
Here are a few walks may interest you and the littlest of Janes in TOw.
A look at how High Park began with stories about John and Jemina Howard who conveyed their land to the create High Park in 1873. Tour ends at the Howards’ Tomb adjacent to Colborne Lodge, their home from 1837 till 1890, and now a historic house museum. In the hood High Park Zoo, Park and probably some Cherry Blossoms!
A walk exploring the history and future of the Junction Triangle told by walking through the West Toronto Railpath. Tour leader will be wearing a funny hat – everyone is encouraged to wear one too!
Plogging – walking or jogging while cleaning up your city – makes its debut at Jane’s Walk this year. The City of Toronto Solid Waste Management will be loaning out trash grabbers, gloves and garbage bags on a first come, first served basis. Meet at and browse the awesomeness of the Toronto Tool Library.
A free bike tour exploring Toronto’s early history. Begins at Lambton House at the edge of the Carrying Place Trail and ends at Fort York, a British fort and the place where urban Toronto (then York) was founded. The walk includes complimentary admission to Fort York after the tour.
Guided walk of the once a small industrial community now museum, gallery, theatre and wildflower preserve in the Don Valley.
Over the last 200 years, the Don Valley went from wild and unspoiled to a river that was harnessed, channeled, polluted, moved and ignored. Todmorden Mills, Evergreen and A Park For All lead a walk along the Lower Don trail system from Riverdale Park to Pottery Road, sharing how humans have impacted the valley – and how it is being reclaimed as a vital green space at the heart of the city.
A walk exploring the history of the 100-year-old Prince Edward (Bloor) Viaduct and the controversy over what was once called a ‘bridge to nowhere’, as well as the viaduct’s impact on the neighbourhoods on either side of the Don Valley.
Described as ‘Fun for kids,” this walk is led by the Village of Islington BIA members who will explore the art and history of Toronto’s Village of Murals through its 28 building-sized artworks. Walkers will learn how pioneers lived, settlers played, battles were fought and disasters were overcome in this Etobicoke neighbourhood.
Led by Ontario Place for All, the walk discuss the past, present and future of Ontario Place through Trillium Park, uncovering along the way the many secrets of the park that honour the origins of our city.
Check out the full list of Toronto’s Jane’s Walks here: https://janeswalk.org/canada/toronto/toronto-walk-listings/