Your Guide to Jane's Walk 2015
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Your Guide to Jane’s Walk 2015

From over 175 options, a few Jane's Walks that explore a different side of the city.

Photo by Vic Gedris, courtesy of Jane’s Walk.

“Jane Jacobs called Toronto home, and so do we,” begins the Toronto page for Jane’s Walk. “Here, in our city of many distinct neighbourhoods and diverse cultures, we keep her legacy alive by walking together.”

Interest in devising free walking tours across all corners of the city has grown so that, in the event’s ninth year, over 175 free citizen-led strolls across Toronto between Friday, May 1 and Sunday, May 3 have been registered with event organizers. On top of that are the walks occurring in over 160 locales across the globe, stretching from Markham to Manila.

Navigating the long list of options is overwhelming. Aids include curated suggestions for a satisfying weekend prepared by Jane’s Walk’s Toronto blog. Listed below are some walks which caught our eye.

TITLE: Nightwalking & Secret Staircases (in Swansea and Baby Point)
DATES: (Swansea) Friday, May 1, 11:00 p.m.; (Baby Point) Saturday, May 2, 11:00 p.m.
MEETING SPOT: (Swansea) Southeast corner of Bloor Street West and Armadale Avenue, one block east of Jane Street; (Baby Point) Baby Point Gates, Baby Point Road and Jane Street

“Nightwalking is not simply the act of walking at night,” the tour description observes. Over two nights—one in Swansea, the other in Baby Point—walkers will discover a different world of strolling, and the questions which arise from the experience. Prepare to walk in silence at times, and discover how many hidden staircases you can tackle.

TITLE: All the Libraries Toronto—well, some of them
DATES: Saturday, May 2, 2015, 11:00 a.m.; Sunday, May 3, 10:30 a.m.
MEETING SPOT: Lillian H. Smith Library, southwest corner of Huron Street and Spadina Avenue

Flowing out of his project to visit and sketch all 99 branches of the Toronto Public Library, Daniel Rotsztain guides a tour which will discuss the history, future, and function of libraries while stopping at sites running in roughly a diagonal line toward the Toronto Reference Library.

TITLE: The Great Lambton Gas Explosion
DATE: Saturday, May 2, 11:00 a.m.
MEETING SPOT: Corner of Scarlett Road and Bernice Crescent, one block north of St. Clair Avenue West.

Beyond the eye-grabbing title, it’s hard to resist a neighbourhood walk which promises the tale of a chicken coop sent flying a significant distance by an explosion. Led by Humber River-area heritage treasure Madeleine McDowell.

TITLE: Walking With So Called “Bad” Moms —A Tour of the Child Welfare Industry and Myths about Moms
DATE: Saturday, May 2, 4:00 p.m.
MEETING SPOT: 519 Church Street Community Centre

Beyond the historically-minded or “discover a neighbourhood” strolls, Jane’s Walk offers many opportunities to discuss social justice issues and explore their impact on Torontonians. This year’s roster of walks includes ones dedicated to police carding, the effects of gentrification on the poor, refugees, and this one, which spotlights child welfare interventions.

TITLE: From One Mall to Another: The Galleria and The Duff
DATE: Saturday, May 2, 2:00 p.m.
MEETING SPOT: Galleria sign, southwest corner of Dufferin and Dupont streets.

Shopping centres are a major part of the city’s landscape, and this walk takes in two along Dufferin Street: the modernized Dufferin Mall, and a time capsule (currently being made over) Galleria. How are both evolving, and how have their fit into their communities?

TITLE: A New Archaelogy for the Leslie Street Spit
DATE: Sunday, May 3, 12:00 p.m.
MEETING SPOT: Entrance to Tommy Thompson Park, Leslie Street and Unwin Avenue

While cycling or walking along the Leslie Street Spit, have you ever wondered where exactly the fill and rubble used to create it came from? This tour spotlights the ongoing evolution of the spit, which has provided a final resting place for everything from demolished homes to construction debris from major infrastructure projects like the Gardiner Expressway.

TITLE: Scarborough Poetry Walk
DATE: Sunday, May 3, 2:00 p.m.
MEETING SPOT: Agincourt Public Library, 155 Bonis Avenue, west of Kennedy Road.

Inspired by the recently launched Toronto Poetry Map, this walk offers a taste of local parkland mixed with readings of poetry ranging from Robert Burns to Scarborough’s Jeevan Bhagwat, along with verse participants may wish to bring. As the tour description observes, “What better way to celebrate the arrival of May than to read poetry in a park?”