Led by: MABELLEarts (participating artists: Leah Houston, Sonja Rainey, Juliet Palmer, Michael Burtt and Alex Samaras)
Text: Leah Houston
Photo: Jeremy Kai
Jane’s Walk has become an informal start to our season of adventure in the Mabelle Park. Our first event of the spring, it heralds the summer to come, with all its community parties, art workshops, gardening and building projects, and performances. It’s so good to see everyone after a month or two of quiet and cold, and it’s wonderful to be in the park again, to feel the sun on our faces and the ground under our feet.
Every year, we work with Jane’s Walk staff and volunteers to get the word out about our walk, because we see it as an amazing opportunity to tell the city we love about Mabelle, a place where people – staff, artists, community leaders and participants – are building a vibrant and art-filled gathering place out of a once-neglected thoroughfare. So we gather at Islington Station and prepare to welcome visitors from across the greater Toronto area – strangers whom we hope will become friends.
It’s Paul, a youth community leader living at Mabelle, who said it best:
“I loved the walk from Islington Station. I have lived here for seven years and it was the first time I welcomed someone into my community. I never thought I would do that. It was kind of neat.”
It’s a good feeling, to proudly welcome a guest into one’s home.
This year’s walk helped us welcome two people who are bringing a wealth of experience and skill to the Mabelle Park: Netami Stuart and Amy Turner, two landscape architects who are helping us plan park renovations. We set up a kind of receiving line for Mabelle community members to formally welcome our Jane’s Walk attendees. It was a silly and fun way to say hello and express a sense of hospitality – something we’re passionate about at MABELLEarts. This photo shows Amy shaking hands with Jabeen as she arrives.