We hope you’ve got your Jane Jacobs cards written and that your presents are all wrapped and sitting under the Jane Jacobs Tree, because this May 4 is Jane Jacobs Day in Toronto.
In honour of the urban visionary who died in 2006, May 3 and 4 this year will see the second annual Jane’s Walk held throughout Toronto. Jacobs was born in Pennsylvania but made Toronto her home in 1968, having declared it the perfect city. She did much to keep it that way during almost 40 years of residency; amongst other things, she helped ensure we never ended up with a Spadina Expressway.
Jane’s Walk actually incorporates many different walks—this year’s organizers are hoping for as many as 60—and anyone who can speak knowledgably about an area is encouraged to host one themselves. The list so far includes various MPs, historians, and activists, but there are also walks led by local people who just really love certain bits of the city.
Walks scheduled so far include Adam Vaughan Walks to Work and a tour of Jacobs’ own neighbourhood—the Annex—led by architect and TV host Angus Skene. This year’s Jane’s Walk will focus especially on the inner suburbs, with tours including The Golden Mile of Scarborough, led by local historian Jeremy Hopkin and Professor Rafael Gomez. Or, if you’re feeling really energetic, over the course of the weekend you can walk the length of Queen Street—starting with Roncesvalles to Dufferin and finishing up with Lost Rivers of the Beach.
All in all, Jane’s Walk has the potential to remind even the most jaded of Torontonians to stop, stare, and appreciate the city Jacobs gave so much of her life to.
Photo of Jane Jacobs’s portrait at 401 Richmond Street, courtesy of Yvonne Bambrick.