FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local Jane’s Walks Interrogate Urban Visions, Explore Downtown Walkways and Promote Urban Forestry
May 1, 2013
Victoria, B.C. – Three local walks are planned for Victoria and Saanich as part of the international Jane’s Walk weekend, taking place on May 4th and 5th this year. Two walks are planned for the Gorge- Tillicum-Burnside area, and another is planned for downtown.
On the morning of Saturday, May 4th, Vincent Gornall will be leading a walk inspired by the Tillicum- Burnside Action Plan. This walk uses the ideas of Jane Jacobs to encourage participants to observe and engage with their urban environment. At each site visited during this walk, participants will consider a quote from Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities and discuss how it applies to that particular site. This format has been successful during previous walks led by Vincent.
“Even fifty years after she wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities, I think Jacob’s ideas are relevant and inspirational,” said Vincent. “That’s why I’ve centred my Jane’s Walk around her seminal work.”
To join this walk, meet Vincent and the rest of the group at Qu’Appelle Park in Saanich on May 4th at 10:00 am.
During the afternoon of May 4th, Lorne Daniel and Sarah Rose Robert, from Rethink Urban and leaders of The Places Project, will be leading a walk downtown, called “Downtown Victoria Places and Passages.” Participants in this walk will explore a number of Victoria’s downtown plazas and walkways, observing how space is used, how spaces are connected, and the potential for innovative and positive changes in our shared spaces downtown.
“Jane Jacobs recognized that great cities are created when everyday citizens are active, comfortable, and engaged in the public spaces and on the streets of their cities,” said Lorne. “Victoria is a city of great potential and missed opportunities that warrant our attention.”
“Change happens when we meet as equals and explore together,” added Sarah. “It is important to come together and notice what exists and ask ‘what is possible?’”
To join this walk, meet Lorne, Sarah and the rest of the group in the courtyard of the main branch of the public library on May 4th at 1:00 pm.
The third walk in this series will take place on the morning of May 5th, again in the Gorge-Tillicum- Burnside area. Harry Lewis is coordinating this walk, which will examine the streets in the area in order to identify which ones are candidates for the Saanich Boulevard Tree Planting initiative.
“The forest canopy in Saanich is declining,” said Harry. “This initiative is just one part of the Urban Forest Strategy the municipality is implementing.”
To join this walk, meet Harry and the rest of the group in the Lam Room at the Pearkes Recreation Centre on May 5 at 9:30 am.
These three Jane’s Walk are part of an annual celebration of people and cities held around the world on the first weekend of May. Through the simple act of walking together and discussing what makes a neighbourhood, Jane’s Walk helps knit people together into strong and resourceful communities. Created in 2007 in Toronto by friends of the urban thinker Jane Jacobs, the annual series of free, volunteer-led urban walks has grown from 27 to over 600 walks worldwide.
“Jacobs’ ideas are applicable in many places, including in a small city on the west coast of North America,” said Vincent. “That’s one of the reasons why I think Jane’s Walks are such a popular movement.”
Vincent Gornall is a Masters Student in the History Department at the University of Victoria, studying urban history. He has developed and led several local walking tours, including a previous Jane’s Walk in Vic West. This year, he is the Jane’s Walk City Organizer for Victoria. More information at Vincent’s Victoria.
Lorne Daniel and Sarah Rose Robert are leaders of The Places Project, an initiative of Rethink Urban to stimulate public engagement with urban change opportunities in Greater Victoria BC. More information at Rethink Urban.
Harry Lewis is past president of the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association and a community activist. Last year he led a Jane’s Walk focused on walkability in the neighbourhood, and produced a report detailing the group’s findings. The walkability report can be found at the GTCA website.
Vincent Gornall, Lorne Daniel, Sarah Rose Robert and Harry Lewis are available for interviews.