Your Guide to Jane’s Walk 2016
For every type of walker in the city.
This year marks the centennial of Jane Jacobs’s birth, and the ninth year of Jane’s Walks. From a start of just a few dozen strolls through Toronto, Jane’s Walk has grown into a global phenomenon, with walks taking place on every continent—except Antarctica (though penguins may organize a walk next year).
With more than 200 walks crisscrossing the GTA this year, you have more options than ever to celebrate Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday. But with all that choice comes a greater degree of difficulty in deciding what walks you might want to take.
Here are some walks for you, if…
- …you want to see neighbourhoods being transformed
- ..you want to explore Toronto’s past
- …you like good food
- …you want to get to know a neighbourhood
- …you like to stroll and appreciate art at the same time
- …you’re interested in social justice
- …you already love or would like to learn to love the wonders of nature
If you want to see neighbourhoods being transformed…
Toronto is constantly growing like a living, breathing organism. Neighbourhoods always seem in the midst of being updated, being revitalized, or part of a slower process of gradual change. These walks provide a sense of where a neighbourhood has come from and what direction it’s moving in.
Friday, May 6, 1 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, 1 p.m.
Harbord Village is one of the neighbourhoods that illustrates what Jane Jacobs thought an urban community should look like. The area now faces development at an ever increasing pace, and walkers will be able to see the area in a transitionary period and discuss the best ways to move forward.
Bayview: A Village in Transition from the Ground Up
May 7, 2016, 11 a.m.
From a raised ranch to a condo, Bayview is experiencing growing pains. Walkers will observe the potential impact of development on the East Don River, head down the Clarinda Park Stairway, and emerge from the natural scenes to the urban and quickly developing area around Barrier Free Mall.
May 7, 2016, 1 p.m.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Most of Toronto’s areas may be in flux, but the Six Points Interchange could be entirely unrecognizable in just a few years—and that will be a good thing. The interchange is currently at the centre of a major construction project, and will soon be a new hub for the western part of Toronto. The walk will give participants a chance to see what the intersection is currently like and paint a new picture for the area’s future.
If you want to explore Toronto’s past…
The history of Toronto is deep, complex, and stretches further back in time than most people realize. These walks offer a glimpse into that ocean of complexity, and allow you to see how Toronto was built up century after century.
The Steps of Old Lake Iroquois
May 7, 2016, 10:30 a.m.
This walk doubles as a crash course in Toronto history 101—from the distant past reaching back thousands of years to Indigenous inhabitants, and up through the centuries to include some of Toronto’s most beloved historical monuments, like Casa Loma and Spadina House. Along with the brief history of the city, walkers will be treated to some of the best views from the ridge along Davenport.
Under the Centre Avenue Parking Lot: Digging Up a Chapter of Toronto’s Black History in The Ward
May 6, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
Southeast corner of Osgoode Hall
This walk traces the evolution of plot 11, which eventually became one of Ontario’s first courthouses and part of Toronto’s earliest suburb, Macaulaytown. Walkers will also learn about the wave of Black residents who made their way from the Underground Railroad up to Toronto and often settled in the area.
Bloor West Village: A Century of Development, Heritage and Community
Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m.
Bloor West Village has a long history that bring questions around development and intensification that applied to this area a century ago, and are now coming back. On this walk, participants will explore the history of this century-old neighbourhood, and take part in a discussion about issues that will affect not only the Bloor West Village but the city as a whole.
Toronto’s culinary industry is known all over the world, but there are many hidden gems that you might miss. Plus, walking works up the appetite, so it may be smart to get some grub in a place you may not know about.
East Danforth East: A Culinary Walking Tour
Friday, May 6, 11 a.m. and Sunday May 8, 1 p.m.
Toronto’s diversity has created a microcosm of the world, and this walk will take you on a journey through a microcosm of the world’s foods. So many cultures, flavours, and culinary ideas come together on this trip down Danforth Avenue, you’ll need the two-hour walk to burn off some of calories you will inevitably take in during the trip.
Finding Your Fruit Goggles: A Tour of Urban Edibles Past and Present
Friday, May 6, 4 p.m.
Gould Street Garden (Ryerson University)
It might be hard to believe, but Toronto is full of urban fruit. Even in the most opaque parts of the downtown concrete maze, tasty fruit flourishes. This walk will give you the chance to learn how to spot these edible goodies, and teach you about the long past and continuing presence of urban agriculture.
If you want to get to know a neighbourhood…
Toronto is defined by its neighbourhoods. Like the city itself, the neighbourhoods of Toronto are diverse and ever-changing with interesting stories to tell.
Sunday, July 31
Call for details
This is a little different than most Jane’s Walks, in that it’s not free and takes place in July. But this walk through Kensington Market will give you a better sense of one of Toronto’s most storied and cultured neighbourhoods. Going through what was once the Jewish Market, past Victorian buildings that have been modified over the years, to modern condo buildings. This walk will blend the past and present to give you the best idea of what Kensington is—and was.
More Than Art Blooms: Exploring the People, Food, and Art of Bloordale
Sunday, May 8, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Bloordale has made a name for itself thanks to its public art, diversity, and authenticity. Who better than Tanya Rumble, a longtime resident of Bloordale, to help outsiders get a feel for the neighbourhood, and help newcomers discover its hidden gems.
Regent Park: A Neighbour’s Tour
Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.
Early Learning and Childcare Centre (10 Cole Street)
If you live in the city, there’s almost no chance you haven’t heard about the revitalization of Regent Park. This walk poses questions while exploring the neighbourhood, like how are residents actually using the space, and the next set of challenges facing the area now that the project is more than halfway complete.
Rediscovering The Village of Thistletown
Friday, May 6, 10 a.m.
Even though Thistletown is a few stone throws away from downtown, the area has maintained a lively and bustling atmosphere decade after decade. On this walk, you’ll get to explore the vibrant present of Thistletown, and learn about its past dating back to the mid-19th century, when the area was first established.
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If you like to stroll and appreciate art at the same time…
The ROM and AGO don’t have a monopoly on art in this city. Some of the most inspiring and interesting pieces of art anywhere in Canada are nestled under tunnels, between buildings, and along the sidewalks of Toronto.
A New Public Art Collection for Toronto
Friday, May 6, 10:30 a.m.
Mirage (33 St Lawrence Street)
The West Don Lands is a growing neighbourhood that has brought public art to the forefront of community development. During this hour-and-a-half-long walk, you’ll get a chance to see some of those installations, and explore the post-industrial flood lands as they change rapidly into an accommodating, artistic neighbourhood.
Under the Rainbow: Don Mills to the Rainbow Tunnel and the East Don
Saturday, May 7, 9:30 a.m.
Shops at Don Mills, across from Salomon Sports
Aside from a chance to get to know one of Canada’s earliest planned neighbourhoods, this walk will give you the chance to see the famous rainbow tunnel and mural inside. After gazing at the rainbow, you’ll exit the tunnel and see a second rainbow, and make your way through scenic trails that wind through Toronto.
Saturday, May 7, 4 p.m.
Cloud Gardens (14 Temperance Street.)
To help residents get a sense of escape from the relentless downtown concrete, the City and developers have set aside space for art and greenery. The problem is, many people don’t know where these spaces are, or that they’re open to public. This walk is to help Torontonians find those spaces, and how to find the hidden gems nestled between skyscrapers.
If you’re interested in social justice…
No exploration of Toronto would be complete without a dive into the city’s historical and current social justice struggles and successes. Jane Jacobs herself fought and theorized about the social and political struggles of the city, and these walks will allow you to think about Toronto in a similar way.
PNLT Securing Affordability and Diversity in a Rapidly Changing Neighbourhood
Friday, May 6, 9 a.m.
Parkdale is a rapidly changing neighbourhood. These changes are inevitable, and not necessarily bad, but how can the diverse residents who live in Parkdale continue to live and work affordably in their midst? This walk allows you to explore questions like these, and possible solutions.
Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.
Toronto Homeless Memorial, Trinity Square
Toronto’s homeless population has sat at 5,000 people for the past two years. On this walk, you can go through the challenges of homelessness and the equally challenging solutions. Plus, a look back at the past 30 years, discussing what went right and what went wrong. Walkers can also engage in a conversation about what the next 30 years will look like as the city tries to eradicate homelessness.
A Day in the Life of Marginalized Youth
Friday, May 6, 4 p.m.
The Students Commission of Canada (23 Isabella Street)
At each stop during this downtown walk, you’ll hear real stories from Toronto youth about the barriers young people face in this city. You’ll also get to think about whether or not the young people have a place to gather, and how we can empower youth in our city to help them reach their potential.
If you already love or would like to learn to love the wonders of nature…
With all of the developing architecture and infrastructure of Toronto, it can be easy to forget about the natural beauty that exists all around us. These walks will give you a chance to see some nature and think about its preservation.
Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m.
High Park Bloor Street entrance
This walk takes you through one of Toronto’s most well known green spaces: High Park. Stroll along Grenadier pond, take in the many beautiful spaces in the park, and feel your mood improve all the while.
A Walk Through Historic Guild Park: Where Art Meets Nature
Saturday, May 7, 1 p.m.
Much of the Guild Park and Gardens was destroyed in the 60s, but this walk will let you see some of the two dozen architectural features that weren’t demolished. You’ll also see the remnants of more than 50 historic buildings in the city. All this, wrapped in the natural beauty of Guild Park.
Saturday, May 7, 10:30 a.m.
On this walk, you’ll get to see the Black Oak Savannah, one of the last ecosystems of its kind. Through the magic of audio engineering, you’ll also learn about how plants communicate with one another outside of human perception.
Saturday, May 7, 2 p.m.
This walk will give you the chance to learn about the first peoples who inhabited the area around Rouge River, and the local flora and fauna that populate it. The focus of the walk will be the prospect and implications of diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands running through the pipelines that are currently under our hydro lines.
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