Have you heard about Jane’s Walks?

They are a series of informal, free, and citizen-led walks where people learn about their neighbourhoods and their city, and the interesting events and cultural aspects that shaped their community. Jane’s Walks are a way of linking neighbours, building community, starting dialogues, and discovering new ways of looking at each locale.

Every year across the country and around the world these walks commemorate the birthday of Jane Jacobs, an urban activist who spearheaded a movement to change the way citizens think about and engage with their neighbourhoods and cities. This year the walks are being held on May 4th, 5th and 6th and usually last about 90 minutes.

Happy City St. John’s is very excited to be working with community partners to hold several walks in St. John’s, NL.

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 5, Northeast Avalon ACAP,  a community action group that addresses environmental issues, is hosting Changing Times and Land Uses. This walk, led by Arvo McMillan, will use a route established by the Grand Concourse which follows the hidden Mullin’s Brook from Mundy Pond to Victoria Park and the Waterford River. The walk will discuss changes in the use of land and water, the daylighting of hidden streams, and proposals for upgrading Victoria Park.

This will be followed by the Waterford River-Riverhead Walk led by Nicholas White of the Grand Concourse Authority. This route, along Water Street West and the Waterford River T’Railway will highlight the history of this major terminus and changes in the form and character of Downtown’s western fringe.

Other Jane’s Walks during the weekend will include:

  • The Pedestrian Pathways Walk, led by architects Grant Genova and Jessica Stanford, which traces the pedestrian pathways of old St. John’s
  • The Vacant Spaces Walk, led by Josh Smee of Happy City St. John’s, which looks at possible uses for vacant spaces such as the old Grace Hospital site on LeMarchant Road
  • The Georgestown Walk, led by Elizabeth Oliver and friends of the Georgestown Neighbourhood Association, which traces the development and history of one of St. John’s early suburbs
  • The Churchill Park Walk, led by historian Robert Sweeny, which focuses on the development of this garden suburb in the 1940s and how it changed over time to become the iconic neighbourhood it is today.

There are  other events still in the planning stages, including Jane’s Run, led by a trio of runners with an interest in the history of running and racing in St. John’s, which we hope will take place Saturday or Sunday.

For more details on all these events, check out Happy City’s page http://www.happycity.ca/janeswalks

Along these same lines, Happy City is also building a map, inspired by an 18th century architect and surveyor named Giambattista Noll, and we need your help.

The map will focus on “any place, indoor or outdoor, where you can sit, study, work, hang out, or generally loiter for $5 or less.” To read more about this, search The Overcast’s website for our City Talks column, or visit http://happycity.ca/maps.