For the fifth year in a row Brantford and Brant County citizens shared passion for their neighbourhoods and issues impacting their community through walking tours.

There were 16 walks in total; an incredible show of capacity by these local folks and a wonderful contributor to this international walking festival.

We did not walk alone. During the first weekend in May thousands of others walked in cities around the world. How wonderful to be part of an international celebration of cities.

Jane’s Walk is named after Jane Jacobs, a Canadian recognized as an “urbanist” and community activist who championed the voice of citizens in matters of urban planning. Jacobs was the author of several books including: The Death and Life of Great American Cities, an influential book that took a critical look at the many needs of urban spaces and neighbourhoods.

After Jacobs passed in 2006 it was decided that honouring her with a walk would be appropriate. Engaging neighbours to explore and engage in conversation about their neighbourhoods, what people need from them and what they might give, what makes them safe, livable, and vibrant. The first Jane’s Walk was held in 2007 and has since blossomed into a movement with city organizers across the globe inviting others to join a walk and explore their city. The walks now happen across the world on the first weekend in May.

According to the Jane’s Walk website, participants walk their cities to “honour and activate the ideas of Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walk is a community-based approach to city building that uses volunteer-led walking tours to make space for people to observe, reflect, share, question and re-imagine the places in which they live, work and play.”

Close to 200 folks participated in our local walks. The conversations during those walks included community history and shared history, reconciliation, climate change, the world of nature, rural life, architecture, culture, the critical role of neighbourhoods, and neighbours as agents of change. Sixteen walk leaders provided a wonderful space for connection and conversation as neighbours shared their hopes and dreams for the community.

 

Lead photo cutline: On a Jane’s Walk, walk host, Erica Walker, shared with community members about raising butterflies and their habitats. In this photo community members hold seed shakers. Photos courtesy of the Jane’s Walk Brantford Facebook page.

 

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