Skip to content

Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Go walking today to remember Jane Jacobs

Read more articles by

Spacing is one of the many partners of the upcoming Jane’s Walk tours that will celebrate the work and life of the late Jane Jacobs. On Saturday, May 5th, over 20 walks are planned throughout the city to showcase examples of city-building that fit into the teachings of Ms. Jacobs.

These walks feature a tour guide who will speak knowledgeably about the neighbourhood, and will highlight the people, places and public spaces that make that particular community interesting and unique. No sign up is necessary. There is no cost to participate. Please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.

Starting Time Neighbourhood Walk Name Guide
9:30am Cabbagetown Cabbagetown Then, and Then, and Now John Sewell
9:30am Summer Hill Summer Hill + Summer Dale John Van Nostrand / Kate Wilson
9:45am The Esplanade Walking Tour of the Esplanade Bruce Bell
10:00am The Annex Jane’s Hood — The Annex Angus Skene
10:00am Roncesvalles Never mind the Polish sausage Joe Fiorito
10:30am Chinatown Chinatown Tam Goossen
10:30am Rosedale Eb+JanesWalk Eb Zeidler
11:00am Regent Park Regent Park in the Process of Revitalization Catherine Goulet
1:00pm Yonge St. Yonge Street is Flaming Jane Farrow and Gerald Hannon
3:00pm The Grange New Ideas spring from Old Buildings: From abbatoirs and stables to tong houses and consulates Ceta Ramkhalawansingh
3:00pm Kensington Market Kensington Market to Alexandra Park – Observations to heal the “Great Divide” Adam Vaughan
3:00pm Little Italy The Devil’s Noodles Dan Yashinsky
8:00pm The Grange Nightlife — From Grange to Grunge Max Allen
TBA Parliament and Winchester Parliament and Winchester David Hilton
1:00pm The Beach A Whimsical Walking Tour of the Beach (or is it the Beaches?) Gene Domagala
10:00am Swansea Building Community: Swansea from Rural Suburb to City Neighborhood David Crombie
11:00am Parkdale Parkdale — Eyes on the Street Mary Lou Morgan
12:00pm Bloor West Jane’s Campfire Walk Jutta Mason
1:00pm St. Clair West Interplay: The old and new St. Clair West Alejandra Bravo
2:00pm West Queen West West Queen West Ben Woolfitt



  1. The best part is the “organize your own walk” section, where they are not posted above. Margaret Smith (of “Save Our St. Clair” fame is doing her own St. Clair West walk at 10, called “St.Clair and the ROW: is regeneration still possible?”.

    Kind of funny. Alejandra Bravo’s walk will also touch upon the ROW, past and present.

  2. Without Jane Jacobs there is no Margaret Smith. For all the great Jacobs did, she instilled in Torontonians a complete fear of any change.

    NIMBY’s rejoice.

  3. No, there would still be a Margaret Smith, but she might get her way which is god-awful.

    Jacobs instilled a lesson that neighbourhoods should have so sort of say in a changing community.

  4. The neighbourhood, of course, rallied and formed SCRIPT – St. Clair Residents Initative for Public Transit. While some residents did support Smith and SOS, that group had more backing from landlords and business owners, while SCRIPT was local resident-based.

    Anyway, I only had a chance to go on two walks – Adam Vaughan’s Kensington Market/Alexandria Park walk, amd Max Allen’s Grange/Queen West/Clubland walk. Both made me change the way I thought about each of the areas – Alexandria Park for instance certainly has a lot going for it, despite many structural and financial challenges.

    I am also more and more convinced that something needs to be done about Clubland.

    But what an amazing, almost inpromptu, event that Toronto will now have for years to come. Betwen Nuit Blanche, Jane’s Walk, Doors Open and Lumiere, it is clear that Toronto has matured in its offerings public events. Who needs Mel Lastman’s street party?

  5. I was absolutely stunned by the number of people who showed up to join our walk in the Grange – about 80 people. Walk organizers said that this was true right across the City – so there must have been about 3,000 people who joined walks in honour of Jane. What a movement!

    Thanks to “ideas that matter” folks, Margie Zeidler and Alan Broadbent – keeper of the flame!

  6. “Without Jane Jacobs there is no Margaret Smith. For all the great Jacobs did, she instilled in Torontonians a complete fear of any change.”

    Well, in a way, yes, I agree with you but it’s not really Jane’s fault that people took her precedent and went completely overboard. In 1961, JJ was responding to the authoritarian dirigisme of planners like Robert Moses who trampled entire neighbourhoods to built expressways and housing projects. JJ recalls that people were at first very reluctant to come out to meetings in her neighbourhood against the Lower Manhattan expressway, people still kowtowed to the climate of paranoia and fear that was very much alive after McCarthyism, even if their neighbourhoods were being destroyed.

    We suffer from the opposite problem today. In many cases perfectly sensible proposals are roared down by irate NIMBYs. In New York there is a resurgence of popularity for Robert Moses. Increasingly he is being seen as a man who could get shovels in the ground and his ogre-like image is turning full circle.

  7. A couple of the comments above are poorly misinformed…. The SOS movement was (and is) a coalition of the BIAs and the residents associations — stretching all the way from Yonge to Keele…. they collected thousands and thousands of signatures on petitions against the ROW — and that was back when it was only supposed to cost $30M!! The cost is way above $100M now and we wonder why the TTC and the city are going broke….. The TTC used to be an award winning system and now they are completely behind the times and fixated on ROWs with a philosophical zeal usually reserved for religion or politics…..and they get their way by painting everyone who disagrees with anything they do as being anti-transit or a NIMBY…. good tactic on their part but that doesn’t make it true….. I guess we will have to wait until someone dies because the ambulance or fire truck couldn’t get to them in time because they couldn’t turn the right way on St. Clair AND they couldn’t mount the ROW because they didn’t even follow their own EA and build it with rounded curbs. Or perhaps when we see the fatalities and accidents going up from the poor construction of the lanes and sidewalks….. What will you call the opponents then? — “not in my grave yard” doesn’t have the same ring.

  8. I think this is wonderful, fabulous, overdue, gratifying, excellent…

    But what about MY neighbourhood???

    St. Lawrence Market…DUH!!!!

    Of all parts of the city, does it not
    embody Ms. Jacob’s teachings?


    A. Landry