City organizer: Andrew Malcolm
Walk Leader: Andrew Malcolm
Text by: Andrew Malcolm
Photographs by: Andrew Malcolm
A calm and sunny morning in Lethbridge, Alberta provided ideal conditions for an urban walking conversation. As City Organizer, I arrived early at the meeting spot, wondering how much interest the posters and tweets had stirred up. As ten o’clock approached, a group of over 30 people, young and old, gathered for an exploration of two of Lethbridge’s most established and historic neighbourhoods, London Road and Downtown.
Setting off through the tree-lined, grid-planned streets of London Road, the group discussed the distinctive mix of historic homes from the turn of the century and modern infill developments, the value of parks as community gathering spots, and the importance of small-scale commercial locations within the neighbourhood.
We walked on into the historic downtown, where we looked at some of Lethbridge’s oldest commercial sites, including the first hardware store and first hotel. We were joined by a resident who has called downtown – specifically Chinatown – home for over 50 years. He shared stories of lighting off firecrackers in the street on New Year’s Eve, and of his personal experiences with the downtown’s highs and lows over time. As the walk wound down, I looked around and realized that Jane’s Walk in Lethbridge was a huge success. Our group was immersed in discussion about how, walking through these areas, they had seen things they had never noticed before, and had become more appreciative of the small things that make streets, neighbourhoods, and cities such vibrant places to live and to experience.