“By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.” – Jane Jacobs, original lady-boss urbanist
Toronto is on the map, and there to stay. As scores of tourists begin to explore our urban nest, it’s probably about time we do the same. There’s no better way to ring in spring than finally getting outside and knowing that this time, hopefully, there won’t be a surprise hail storm coming to chase us back into hibernation. Spending the day on your favourite patio may be tempting, but this weekend wander a little further to discover the strange and wonderful at the Jane’s Walk Festival.
Jane’s Walk takes its name from legendary urban activist Jane Jacobs. If you don’t know her, google her. Now.
You back? Great.
The Jane’s Walk Festival has become wildly popular over the last decade, expanding to hundreds of cities around the world, and it’s easy to see why: the community led weekend of local walking tours is fun, informative, and free! Anyone can lead a Jane’s Walk, from veteran arborists to middle-school students, and walks cover all kinds of topics, from history to architecture to ecology.
With that in mind, we can’t wait to get outside again this year and learn about hidden creeks, ghosts, elevators, and more. Here are five walks-within-walking-distance of the Gladstone that we’re particularly stoked about:
Trillium Park (Ontario Place): Yours to Discover!
May 4 | 11am
A Jane’s Walk led by Ontario Place for All. Walk leaders will be by the William G Davis Trail stone marker and holding an Ontario Place for All Flag.
We will discover the past, present and discuss the future of Ontario Place through this walk through Trillium Park. We will uncover the many secrets of the park that honour the origins of our city, and the origin of Ontario Place. Discover why Ontario Place must remain public for all Ontarians to discover and enjoy!
Ghost Walk at Exhibition Place
Saturday May 4 | 7pm
Having been on this walk before, I can tell you that the City of Toronto’s General Services Building is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds! A Jane’s Walk led by Steve Collie with Exhibition Place. They will be wearing a black ‘After Dark Tours’ shirt. Other walk organizers will be wearing reflective vests.This tour takes you behind locked doors at Exhibition Place to introduce you to known ghostly hot-spots.
Living Sustainably in Bloordale
May 4 | 11am
Join Meg Marshall to talk about local businesses and initiatives that allow us to live more sustainably in Bloordale and beyond. Be sure to bring a reusable container, a water bottle or thermos and a reusable bag. Everyone can make small improvements in their day to day lives to reduce their environmental impact.
Going Up: Architecture, History, and Elevators
While it’s not right in our backyard, we think this one is just too cool to miss. As keepers of one of two hand-operated elevators in Toronto, we’re all for restoring the meaning of “call a lift” to its true vertical roots. Take a walk downtown and check out the other amazing vertical transportation the city has to offer.
Empire, War, Meatpacking: Ossington Psychogeography
May 4 | 1pm
The Ossington Strip psychogeography is very unusual: self-contained (with clear endpoints at Queen and Dundas), short (at only 560m), and straight (if slightly curving); but projecting mystery, eluding comprehension, and inviting exploration, through its weird mix of buildings and many irregular, unpredictable entrances and exits: part of the city, yet somehow remote.
Looking to fill out more of your weekend walking calendar? Check out the Jane’s Walk website for full listings. There are over 100 walks to choose from, from Scarborough to Mimico, and they’re happening all weekend long!