Love your community?
You should lead a Jane's Walk.
Anyone can lead a Jane's Walk because everyone is an expert in their own experience of the places they live, work, and play. Anyone means you!
A Jane’s Walk is a walking conversation—not a lecture. Jane’s Walks are often walking tours, but they can also be bike rides, poetry readings, performance art, games, and more.
Ready to get walking? Read on for tips to lead a great Jane's Walk, then submit your walk before 11:59pm on April 27, 2023.
1. Pick a topic
Think of a place you’d like to explore or a topic you’d like to discuss. What interests you most about the city? What do you find yourself reflecting on?
2. Start the conversation
Grab a friend and test out your walk idea. Look, listen, smell, feel, and observe your surroundings. Make eye contact. Talk to people. Hear what they have to say. Be present in the city around you. Take notes.
4. Spread the word
Invite your friends, family, and community. Create a Facebook event and post in local groups. Put up posters in neighbourhood shops. Tell the media. Yell from the rooftops!
Tips for Planning Your Walk:
Don’t worry about being an “expert.”
You ARE an expert in your own experiences, and you have plenty to share! Don’t worry about not knowing the answer to a question. Often, somebody in the crowd will know. Consider enlisting a co-Walk Leader or ask a community member who has knowledge of a certain area to help fill in the gaps. Remember that this isn’t a lecture. This is a walking conversation.
Learn a little bit about local changemakers and/or Jane Jacobs.
You don’t have to have read Jane Jacobs or know anything about her to lead a Jane’s Walk, but she had some important ideas about cities that can help inspire your walk. There are many people doing great work to make our urban environments better, more just, and more equitable. Learn about your local changemakers and folks doing important work in your own communities and cities.
Everyone experiences space differently, so think broadly and empathetically about how others might feel along your route and try to find ways to accommodate different needs wherever possible. Be mindful of terrain, curbs, staircases, gates, and other barriers that could hinder someone’s ease of movement. Think about whether there are portions of your walk with dim lighting, underpasses, strong odours, excessively loud noises, traffic, or large crowds. If there are any accessibility considerations people should be aware of, mention them in your walk description. Also consider how you will speak. Avoid jargon and brainstorm ways of speaking and asking questions that will engage a wide range of participants.
Consider safety if you're walking in areas designed with cars in mind.
In regions that are designed with cars in mind, potential stops may be too far apart from each other. The walk will probably have to focus on one point of interest. If you really want to cover a large distance, you could try planning a bicycle Jane’s Walk. You could even try incorporating public transit into the walk. This will be tricky to organize, but it could be interesting and spark some good conversations! When you, or your walk leaders, rehearse the walk, be mindful of the safety issues of walking in a pedestrian-unfriendly area—e.g., lack of sidewalks or crosswalks. Work around these issues -plan to cross at major intersections, where there are lights, plan to have stops at roundabouts or safe large spaces away from traffic.
Go for depth over breadth.
The best Jane’s Walks are those that dive deep and draw out a city’s stories, details, secrets, patterns, and rhythms. Keeping your walk focused on deep, local knowledge will help participants feel engaged and energized.
Consider leading a walk in a format that isn’t a walk.
The festival is called Jane’s Walk, but it doesn’t have to be a walk. What about a bike tour, podcast, art installation, or virtual coffee conversation? We have seen so many creative ways to lead a Jane’s Walk— whatever format you choose, try to ensure that it has some way to generate community conversation. There are many ways to do this, and we’re open to all of them. Depending on the format, it may also make your walk more accessible to a greater number of people.
Arrange for a photographer or writer to document your walk.
Walk documentation helps ensure that your walk will live on outside of the brief period of time you’re actually walking. Photos, videos, and stories help thread together the narrative of your community. You can share photos and writing with your City Organizer and the Project Office to showcase your work!
Not everyone will feel comfortable attending in-person walks in their traditional form. We encourage you to communicate whether the following COVID protocols will be in place:
Mandatory masking for participants.
Megaphone or other sound amplification used by Walk Leader
Adjusting walk format to avoid congregating in large groups within smaller outdoor spaces.
Other Walk Options
Got stage fright? Prefer writing over walking? You can still lead a Jane's Walk. Past leaders have filmed walk videos, written community guides, and even created neighbourhood-themed playlists—giving attendees the freedom to join a self-guided walk at any point in the weekend without time constraints. Be as creative as you like, then send us your files using our general walk submission form.