On the weekend of May 7 and 8, 17 urban exploration walks will take place around the city.

Jane’s Walk returns to Halifax with 17 events to learn about the city

The free guided walks take place across HRM this weekend, May 7 and 8.

Jane Jacobs’ fight to save Greenwich Village in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and her later fight to stop Toronto’s proposed Spadina Expressway, inspired a generation of urbanists. A woman who made waves in the male-dominated field of urban planning, Jacobs sought to protect city blocks from being turned into high-rises, to keep mom 'n' pop shops from being razed to build highways and to keep urban communities affordable. She "wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization," as New York's Center for the Living City puts it, and "encouraged people to familiarize themselves with the places where they live, work, and play."

After the longtime writer and activist’s death in 2006, Toronto created Jane Jacobs Day in her name, and across the country a series of walks—Jane’s Walks—began in her honour. The Halifax version of Jane’s Walk was put on hold for two years due to the pandemic, but the event returns for 2022: It happens this weekend, Saturday and Sunday May 7 and 8.

“The walks help bring people together, creating strong and resourceful communities, cultivating belonging and encouraging civic leadership,” the Jane’s Walk Halifax website says. The event is actually 17 different free, volunteer-led walks happening around the city, each focused on a different topic or area of HRM.

Saturday features 11 walks. At Birch Cove Saturday morning, for example, a Learn To Bird walk will teach the basics of spotting and recognizing local wildlife. In Dartmouth, local historian David Jones will give a history lesson during a walk around Lake Banook.

Journalist Lezlie Lowe—famed for her writing at The Coast and other outlets—will lead a walk around Needham Park, giving details on local women’s war efforts from her new book The Volunteers. And former MLA Lisa Roberts will lead a walk through the north end while talking about affordable housing.

The event continues with six walks Sunday, including author and illustrator Emma Fitzgerald leading a sketching “walk” at Peace and Friendship Park, with a focus on capturing accessible transportation. Another art-focused walk, this one led by Argyle Fine Art, will take you on a tour of public installations and murals around downtown Halifax.

The downtown walk titled Gay Old Halifax will explore the nightclubs and queer community scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s. And don’t forget the vibrant streets across the harbour: an afternoon walk will put the art in Dartmouth.

There is no advance sign-up required and all walks are free, though some recommend bringing special supplies. View the full list of walks on the Jane’s Walk Halifax website.

About The Author

Victoria Walton

Victoria has been a full-time reporter with The Coast since April 2020, covering everything from COVID-19 to small business to politics and social justice. Originally from the Annapolis Valley, she graduated from the University of King’s College School of Journalism in 2017.

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