Walk Leaders: Margaret Santos and John MacDonald
Text by: Margaret Santos
Photographs by: Margaret Santos
One warm evening, before the sunset, my husband John, our daughter, and I delivered Jane’s Walk invitations to over 200 neighbours in the St. Mary’s Heritage District in Kitchener. It seems to have worked, because the seven people who joined us on the walk were all from the neighbourhood. Thanks to the invitations, everyone in the district knew what we were up to; as we walked, many said hi and chatted with us for a few minutes.
One resident, who is famously knowledgeable about the history of this area, came out of his house to tell us all about it. I think that if I were to do a walk again, I would do the same – give out invitations to those living in the area – because even though few were able to join us, many folks may have felt more engaged with their community because they knew what was going on, and many had something to share when they saw us.
At the beginning of the walk, one lady ran back into her house for plastic bags so we could all pick up garbage. That was a fantastic idea, and it turned the walk into a real workout, as we were all bending over every few minutes to pick up trash! Giving out bags and asking people to pick up garbage was definitely an icebreaker, and we also received plenty of thanks from our neighbours.
Our walk was also a Festival of Neighbourhoods activity. This local Kitchener program, which John and I have been actively supporting for 20 years, encourages neighbours to come together and meet each other. Jane’s Walk provided us with a great opportunity to do just that.