The Jane’s Walk that wasn’t a walk
This weekend over 170 walks took place across Toronto for Jane’s Walk, a series of free walking tours, that bring together people to explore and celebrate their neighbourhood. Jane’s Walks are named after Jane Jacobs, a city planner in both New York and Toronto, who developed plenty of theories about what makes cities great places to live. Jane’s Walks have have now spread across the globe, having started in 2006 in Toronto in Jacobs’ honour.
Instead of going on a walk, we joined the rebellious tour and embarked on a 10 mile cycle loop in the the heart of Toronto’s midtown, and in the process taking our second-hand bikes on their first proper outing. The route is almost entirely off-road, with less than 1 mile on quiet side streets, and conveniently goes almost right past our front door!
The route started on the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail, a former railway corridor, whilst also taking advantage of Toronto’s extensive network of ravines. Other sites along the way included the huge Mount Pleasant Cemetery and the Evergreen Brick Works in the Don Valley. The Brick Works is a rejuvenated former quarry, now home to a farmers’ market, cafe, bike shops and parkland, but once provided bricks for many landmarks in Toronto, including Casa Loma.
The majority of the route was relatively flat and easy, making for a great Sunday afternoon bike ride in the sunshine (we’ll definitely be returning before next winter!). Unfortunately, towards the end there was a very big hill out of a ravine, which defeated Emma and many others in the group!
Our guide, Burns, did a great job in leading the group and educating us on many things along the way, including Torontonian history, the hidden rivers of the city and former infrastructure projects. It was also great to hear of some the successes that Cycle Toronto has enjoyed in campaigning for better cycling infrastructure in the area.
Stewart and Emma