Jane's Walk convenes Edmontonians to walk together

A meeting of minds on 102 Avenue, a visit to Griesbach's new Maple Leaf Pond, and a historical dive into the Spruce Avenue neighbourhood are among the tours curious Edmontonians can take with the return of Jane's Walk this weekend.

The event will see at least 21 volunteer-led walks in Edmonton from May 5 to 9, focusing on an area's history, art, architecture, or other interesting features. It's part of a worldwide movement started in Toronto in 2007 in memory of urban planner Jane Jacobs, an activist who was a vocal advocate for community-focused city planning.

It's both a celebration and a continuation of the work she so passionately pursued, Jane's Walk YEG co-organizer Ian Hosler explained.

"Every year, I as a walk leader learn more about the city I live in, and certainly going on walks I've been able to see the world through different lenses," he told Taproot.

Hosler will be leading a walk through Edmonton's pedway system on May 5, the former neighbourhood of Walterdale on May 6, and the ever-evolving Westmount on May 9.

Anyone can lead a walk, and volunteers tend to have years of interest to share. Take, for example, Ellen Schoeck, who has published five books on the history of the University of Alberta. She will be hosting two tours of the U of A campus, one on May 6 and another on May 7.

Jane's Walks are quite collaborative in nature, and walk leaders encourage participants to share their own stories and knowledge as well. They'll be exploring in the warmest conditions the event has seen in years, with a high of 25C forecast for May 5.

Event organizer Ian Hosler stands on the left in front of a small crowd at the start of Jane's Walk. He is wearing a grey flat cap, yellow jacket, black gloves, and tan trousers. It is snowing.

Ian Hosler (left) will have much warmer weather for this year's Jane's Walks than he had in 2019, when snow fell on the neighbourhood tours. (Jane's Walk)

Registration capacity is limited to 20 to 30 people per walk to maintain the conversational aspect.

Some are already sold out, such as a timely tour of Coronation Park led by Sen. Paula Simons, a trip through 104 Street's queer history with Michael Phair, and a visit to kihcihkaw askî with Lewis Cardinal.

Here are a few more to consider:

Story City has also made some virtual tours available through its app, and several others are available online.