Photograph by Margaux Yiu.
On the weekend of November 5th, 2016, a group of Jane’s Walk City Organizers (COs) gathered in Toronto for a weekend of workshops, organizing tips, storytelling and, of course, walking! Funded by the Knight Foundation, the Project Office put together this first Global City Organizers’ Summit to help COs learn more about organizing walks, in preparation for this year’s global festival (May 5-7, 2017). A group of motivated and inspired people came from far and wide including San José, CA, Miami, FL, Detroit, MI, Macon, GA, Vienna, Owen Sound, ON, Philadelphia, PA, and St.Paul for this action-packed weekend.
We kicked things off with a series of participatory workshops about organizing, outreach, and best walk practices. Our COs and project leads shared their Jane’s Walk experiences; it was what you might call a walk think tank. In a friendly and constructive environment, we discussed ways to improve the planning process and walk experience for ourselves and others. It was a cooperative roundup of insight and knowledge.
Summit workshop at the Toronto Project Office. Photograph by Margaux Yiu.
After the workshops, our COs embarked on a handful of walks around Toronto. First, we discovered the Annex neighbourhood, where we made a stop at the house where Jane Jacobs had lived. Then, representatives from local organization the Laneway Project gave us a tour of some community laneways initiatives. In Toronto’s east end, our walk leaders led us through the Don Valley ravine system, and revealed wild edibles and guerilla gardening projects in these green spaces. A walk along the Danforth’s east corridor encouraged a dialogue about social justice issues and reflections about the rapidly changing neighbourhood.
Walking with the Laneway Project in Kensington Market. Photograph by Margaux Yiu.
The summit was a great reminder of how much we all love walking and talking about urban space. There are so many fantastic people who share a profound joy and curiosity about cities. Jane’s Walk City Organizers are the movers and shakers who help make it all happen. Our global family wouldn’t be possible without such amazing City Organizers, so we are thankful for every one of you!
Amilia is currently a program assistant at Jane’s Walk Toronto. She is enthusiastic about the use of urban space and has developed a profound interest in the ways in which communities are formed, shaped, and transformed socially and physically. She loves to uncover hidden stories within the city culture and landscape, and strives to make the urban public space discourse for everyday people.