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Jane’s Walks 2012

Toronto is renowned for its diverse neighbourhoods. Even so, many of us have not taken the time to explore all that Toronto has to offer. Luckily, Jane’s Walks is coming up this weekend. Consisting of a series of walks, Jane’s Walks honors the ideas of Jane Jacobs, a famous urbanist, by getting people to explore their neighbourhoods and connect with neighbours.

These free walking tours are held on the first weekend of May. Originally started in 2007 in Toronto by a group of Jane Jacobs’ friends, the event now spans 75 cities in 15 different countries!

The walks are not meant to be for the tourist perspective. Instead, they involve touring one’s own neighbourhood to better connect with it. It’s a great for people who enjoy getting to know their city, people who want to participate in conversations about the future of the neighbourhoods and those who want to foster the community feel.

Walks usually last about 1.5 hours. Here is an overview of different walks around the city:

Annex ROM Walk
When: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 2:00pm

The ROM walk will take you through the beautiful tree-lined Annex. It is Toronto’s first planned middle, professional class suburb. It is full of interesting architecture; the Annex buildings include different residential architecture designed by prominent Toronto architects. Some of the buildings on the tour will include: the Medical Arts Building, First Church of Christ Scientist and York Club.

Starting Point: One Bedford Rd
End Point: Walmer Rd in Gwendolyn MacEwan Park (1 block from Spadina)
Condos you might see along the way: 1 Bedford, Exhibit Residences, Museum House

Billboards, Bobbers and the Big Red Canoe (Public Art at Concord CityPlace)
When: Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 10:30am.

CityPlace offers the largest concentration of new public art in Canada. Check it out for yourself with this Jane’s walk. Work by artists such as Douglas Coupland, Matt Mullican, Pierre Poussin and Jose Parla are featured.

Starting Point: Bus Parking area south of the Rogers Centre at Bremner Blvd. and Van Der Waters
End Point: Canoe Landing Park- south side of Fort York Boulevard, west of Spadina
Condos you might see along the way: Apex, The Gallery, Harbourview Estates, Luna, Matrix, Montage, Neo, Optima, Panorama, Parade…

Fort York and 200 Years of Development
When: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 1:00pm.

This tour will take visitors through the history of Fort York, the Garrison Common and the Battle of York during the infamous War of 1812. The tour will highlight the changes that have impacted the former town of York since the Battle of York.

Following the walk, visitors will be given free admission to Fort York. It will be led by René Malagón, who has worked at the Historic Fort York for many years.

Starting Point: Fort York National Historic Site
End Point: Inside Fort York
Condos you might see along the way: Tip Top, Waterpark City, Malibu, LTD, Library District Condos

King and Spadina: One of The Two Kings
When: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:00pm.

In 1996, new zoning changes brought what was once area filled with vacant warehouses and factory building and are now thriving condominium projects. These changes were in part established by Jane Jacobs (for which these walks are named).

This walk will include a discussion of Jacob’s idea in her “Death and Life of Great American Cities” and the need for historic buildings.

Starting Point: 401 Richmond St. W., at the Roastery Cafe on ground floor (east of Spadina Ave)
End Point: n/a.
Condos you might see along the way: Victory, Lofts 399, Charlie, Glas, M5V, The Morgan

Liberty Village – Change Is Good?
When: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 12:00pm.

Take a stroll in Liberty Village, led by Jaymz Bee (who has lived in the area for a decade). He will take you through the pros and cons of all the current changes going around, while also including some funny anecdotes.

Starting Point: 8 Pardee Avenue / Outside the Roastery Café.
End Point: The Academy of Spherical Arts on Snooker Street
Condos you might see along the way: Battery Park, Bliss, Liberty on the Park, Liberty Towers, Vibe, Toy Factory…

The Future Streetscape of Queen West
When: Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 2:00pm.

Queen Street West is one of Toronto’s most cherished neighbourhoods. This Jane’s walk allows you to talk to the BIA and designers developing the Streetscape Master Plan. The guides for this tour will include Chris Hardwiche, an urban designer and planning, Fung Lee, a landscape architect and Laura Schaefer, coordinator of the Queen Street West BIA.

The tour will explore Queen West by walking the street and sharing stories.

Starting Point: Campbell House Museum just beside Osgood Subway Station
End Point: Bathurst Street.
Condos you might see along the way: 9T6, Tableau, Studio

Toronto’s “Old Town:” Labour History Walking Tour
When: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 10:00 am.

This walk will explore the oldest section of Toronto, or “Old Town”. Learn about its vibrant and turbulent past, including how people lived in the 1830s and onward, as well as the impact labour workers had in the area starting in the 1830s. You’ll even learn about the large protests in 1870s in support of workers when unions were illegal.

Starting Point: St. Lawrence Hall at the corner of King and Jarvis
End Point: William Lyon MacKenzie House (82 Bond Street)
Condos you might see along the way: Glasshouse, King’s Court, Mozo, The Modern

Wellington Place: A Remarkable Neighbourhood Re-Emerges Over The Traces Of Two Centuries
When: Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 2:00pm.

Square. The town of York and Fort York were established in the late 18th century. In the 1830s, large plots of land were dedicated to attracting the wealthy upper class, in what was dubbed “Wellington Place”. This government-led development shaped the economic future of the region. This Jane’s walk will take you through the origins and evolution of Wellington Place, between Victoria Memorial Square and Clarence Square.

Starting Point: Victoria Memorial Square
End Point: Clarence Square (east side of Spadina at Wellington Street West)
Condos you might see along the way: 20 Stewart, 400 Wellington, 500 Wellington, Reve

Posted May 2, 2012.

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