Best Janes Walk 2016 Tours in Toronto
The legacy of activist, author and urban theorist Jane Jacobs is celebrated each spring with Janes Walk, a series of.
The legacy of activist, author and town planning theorist Jane Jacobs is celebrated each spring with Janes Walk, a series of citizen-led city walking tours in more than 100 cities around the world. The walks are free and open to everyone, and they are meant to be fun, engaging and community-based. Often the tours have themes such as architecture and heritage, LGBT history, local culture or environmental impact.
In Toronto, where Jacobs lived almost 40 years before his death in 2006, more than 180 tours are planned. The majority of events take place May 6-8, but some walking tours start earlier and run until the end of July. To help you sort through the dozens of local Janes Walk tours, we’ve highlighted 15 of the most interesting below.
[For a list of the best Jane100 events, which celebrate what would be Jane Jacobss 100th birthday, go here.]
Jane Jacobs 100 Anniversary Janes Walk!
Celebrate Jane Jacobss 100e birthday at an early Janes Walk event on May 4 at 6 p.m. Led by HiMY SYeD, a Janes Walk tour guide since its first year, this special tour uses three of Jacobss’s books to explore and understand our urban environment. The tour begins near Exhibition Place and ends at Victoria Memorial Square, where there is a plaque dedicated to the urban theorist. Details here.
Queer and Fabulous!
This tour meets five times, with two walking tours on May 2, one on May 3, and two more on May 7. Led by Mathew MacLean, this walk traces Toronto’s queer history while looking to the future of the gay village. Departing from Wellesley Tube Station, you’ll stop at Glad Day Bookstore, 519 Community Center, Alexander Wood Statue and more. The whole thing lasts about an hour and a half. Find schedules and details here.
A day in the life of marginalized youth
Hear from members of the Students Commission of Canada on this walking tour, which focuses on youth engagement and the barriers facing young people in Toronto. The May 6 tour starts at 4 p.m. at the Students Commission of Canada building and stops at the YMCA, 519 and Ryerson University. Hafsa Saeed and Kwaku Agyemang, youth leaders at the Students Commission of Canada, will lead the tour. Details here.
Explore the history of work in Toronto
A grade 8 class from City View Alternative School (and teacher Michelle Munk) led this informative downtown tour on the history of work in Toronto. Held on May 6 in honor of International Workers’ Day, this tour begins at the United Negro Improvement Association (355 College Street) and stops at the Toronto Labor Lyceum before ending at Simcoe Park, the site of the monument. of the 100 workers. Details here.
Regent Park A visit from the neighbors
Over the past decade, Regent Park has undergone and continues to undergo major redevelopment. The landscape has changed, but how do its current residents actually use the neighborhood? Kate Sellar, a Regent Park resident and human rights lawyer, explores this question during a two-hour walking tour on May 7 at 10 a.m. The group will meet at the Cole Street Child Care Center and begin with a discussion on the challenges of child care. Other stops along the tour include the Regent Park Aquatic Center and the former Dixon Hall Youth Center. Details here.
Skateboarding in the Financial District: A Wheeled Perspective
Grab your skateboard for this downtown tour, which starts at Nathan Phillips Square and ends at Simcoe Park. Seasoned skateboarder Ariel Stagni and environmentally conscious urban planner and architect Carolina Zabas Roelandt are co-leading this two-hour tour on May 2-7. Find schedules and details here.
Under the Rainbow Don Mills to the Rainbow Tunnel and East Don
Part of a cityscape and a trail, this May 7 walking tour explores the developed area around Don Mills and ends along the Don River on the East Don Trail. Led by Ron Kluger, a local resident and professor at the University of Toronto, the tour begins at the boutiques of Don Mills, follows the Moccasin Trail, and stops at the Rainbow Tunnel. Find schedules and details here.
The Tibetan experience in a gentrifying park
Organized by the Parkdale Neighborhood Land Trust, this May 7 at 1 p.m. walking tour focuses on the Tibetan community of Parkdales. Toronto is home to the largest diaspora of Tibetan migrants outside of India and Nepal, with over 4,000 Tibetans inhabiting Parkdale. Tour guides include Parkdale residents Joshua Barndt, Tish Carnat, and Kalsang Dolma. The tour starts at the PNLT table in Spring Into Parkdale (on Cowan Avenue and Queen W) and ends a few blocks at Tibet Kitchen. Details here.
Reggae Heritage: Explore Eglinton Avenue West
Discover the rich history of reggae music along Eglinton with librarian Barbara Baillargeon on May 7 at 2 p.m. The walking tour begins at the Maria A. Shchuka Library and ends two hours later along Reggae Lane. Details here.
Small free libraries: an impromptu reading walk with the neighbors
Have you ever wondered if those little sidewalk libraries encourage passers-by to pick up and leave books? This walking tour around the Danforth highlights the free book swaps and introduces the people who set them up on their lawns. Led by Denise Pinto, Global Director of Janes Walk, the May 7 tour takes place outside Coxwell Tube Station at 4 p.m. Details here.
Take a walk on Sunnyside
When Sunnyside Amusement Park and Sunnyside Beach opened in the 1920s, its popularity rivaled New York’s famous Coney Island. Today, unfortunately, all of this has disappeared except for a few buildings like the Royal Palace. Sunnyside historian Meghan Edmonds and five other tour guides lead a walking tour on May 7 at 10 a.m., exploring the region’s rich history with a look to its future as part of the redevelopment of the waterfront in Toronto. The tour begins from the south side of Roncesvalles and King W, and participants are invited to look for the group wearing period 1920s costumes. Details here.
A time travel adventure at the Galleria Mall!
Tour guide Shari Kasman is a multidisciplinary artist who has long been fascinated by the Galleria shopping center. Take a trip to 1972, the year the mall was built, and uncover random facts about Galleria you may not have known. Participants are encouraged to wear time travel costumes and share 1970s memorabilia with the group. The May 8 walking tour begins at 2 p.m. near the Galleria Malls parking lot sign and ends an hour and a half later with a look into the future of the structures. Details here.
East Danforth East A Food Walking Tour
There are four different times between May 1 and May 8 to witness this food-centric tour, which explores the culinary offerings of Danforth Avenues east of Moberly Avenue to Victoria Park Avenue. Attendants, including environmental lawyer (and self-proclaimed foodie) Phil Pothen and workshop host Elise Aymer, start at Celenas Bakery and end near the Marhaba supermarket, making frequent stops at grocers, butchers. and bakeries along the way. Details here.
The Belt Line and Beyond: The Midtown Trail Loop
Hop aboard your two-wheeler and join guide Burns Wattie on a midtown mountain bike tour. The tour begins at Ben Nobleman Parkette and follows 10 miles of trail through David Balfour Park and Cedarvale Park. There will be several stops along the way to highlight the starting point of the belt line, underground rivers, history and more. The tours last three hours and take place on May 7, 8 and 18. Find schedules and details here.
Portuguese Toronto: early decades
This tour, which explores the Portuguese history of Toronto, takes place a month after Janes Walk weekend on June 11. settled in the 1950s and trace their history along Dundas W to Little Portugal. Details here.