Jane's Walk and Ottawa Architecture Week
take a look at residential housing in Ottawa

Jane's Walk is offering four walking tours in association with Ottawa Architecture Week, Sept 10 - 15.


A daily walk will start at 4:30 pm each day of the OAW. Each day's walk will look at a different aspect of residential housing: enduring classic apartments in Centretown, co-op housing in Sandy Hill, non-profit rentals in Centretown, and how to preserve community when a 'urban renewal' strikes.

Details of the walks will be posted here as they are confirmed.

Ottawa Architecture Week is a public forum that explores the ways that architecture and urban design affect our daily lives. It is presented by the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects (ORSA) with the help of local volunteers and businesses. Visit the OAW website here.


'Ottowa' on display at Ottawa City Hall until Sept 4

We saw a delightful diorama skewering the field of urban design in the Karsh-Masson Art Gallery at Ottawa City Hall. Designed by artist Rene Price and entitled "Ottowa," it offers a satirical look at both city planning and architectural design. Features sinclude a mall of churches, a gas bar where the cars 'belly up to the bar," billboards that scream at each other instead of passers-by, and cars, cars everywhere. There are so many subtle features that I am still discovering little jokes and ironies as I contemplate the photos I took.

Ottowa 1
'Ottowa' features a Prater-like ferris wheel (with small cabins or houses where
the seats would be) that is also a water wheel. Photo: Leigh Thorpe.

The Ottowa exhibition is over, but the gallery has new exhibits.  Here's the link to the Karsh-Masson Gallery listing.  The gallery is open daily.


Some interesting things for the off-season

A picture book on Jane Jacobs

Walking With Jane

Once in a while, I run across something and say to myself "I wish I had written that!" This time, it's a book on Jane Jacobs, this one for children and adults alike. It's called Walking the City With Jane, by Susan Hughes and Valerie Boivin. Jane is introduced as an intelligent, independent girl who learns by looking closely at the world around her, and who grows up to become observe and analyze the nature of cities and how people use them. Jane's outspokenness sometimes gets her into trouble as a girl, but it is an essential part of her effectiveness as an activist later in life. The book makes a terrific resource for studying civic engagement, urban life, and the role of city planning, as well as revealing much about the history of New York and Toronto along the way.

Learn more about this book at the publisher's website, here.


Management Studies discovers Community-building

I found an article on Henry Mintzberg's blog that has a connection to Jane's Walk. In case you don't know, Henry Mintzberg is a Professor of Management at McGill University. The article discusses 'communityship' in contrast to 'leadership.' Leadership normally gets a lot of attention in Management Studies. The title of the article is "Building Community in the Classroom," but the techniques described translate well into the real world. Our city and our society will be most successful if we all have the skills to work with large groups and are comfortable with effective ways of discussing and coming to an understanding about the major challenges that face us, and are able to launch a collective response to a challenge.


Working effectively in a larger community is harder than working in a small team. Considering the following four questions can help build a foundation for a working community, whether a class of grad students, a political party, or the residents of a city.

  • What is the purpose of our community--what do we want to accomplish together?
  • What values do we want to characterize our community?
  • What roles and responsibilities should we have as members of this community?
  • How should we communicate with each other and with the group?

Read 'Building Community in the Classroom' here.


Thank you, thank you, thank you,
and a summary of Jane's Walk Ottawa-Gatineau 2018

I would like to thank all our volunteers for the time and effort you contributed to Jane's Walk and to share a summary of the success of this year's walks.  

Clw 2018 Wr J Savage 3 Small

Waterfront Reconciliation Walk led by John Savage, 2018. Photo by Cara Waters

It took 130 volunteers to pull Jane's Walk together this year, and more than 3000 people came out! Thanks for helping us make this the best Jane's Walk ever!   Read more . . .


Jane's Walk kick-off event was a 'mob' but a well-behaved one

Thursday, May 3, 6:00-8:00 pm 'Jane's Mob' took over Parkdale Park in Hintonburg.  

Square Web

Jane's Mob was large, but well-behaved, making Thursday's kick-off event in Hintonburg a great success. We counted more than 150 people attending. A big 'thank you' to all our speakers. our photographer, and other volunteers! To all who came out, thanks for your interest and support. Congratulations to our Scavenger Hunt winners!  As well, thanks to all the businesses and individuals who donated food, prizes, and gifts toward making this event a success, including Awesome Ottawa, the Wellington West BIA, Councilor Nussbaum's office, Panago Pizza, Bridgehead, Metro Carleton Ave., Cocoa Camino, Brew Donkey, the Hintonburg Public House, Street Art Miniatures, Synapcity, and everyone who donated at the event.

"Jane's Mob" is a kind of reverse Jane's Walk, where instead of a group walking around to different points of interest, we bring the points of interest to one location, where people can sample each of them in turn.  For this event, there were storytellers, neighourhood residents, local experts, and performers to celebrate Hintonburg's history, present, and future.

Tiny Cupcakes
Participants heard the stories behind the grand opening of the Parkdale Market, learned how to navigate the neighbourhood with a Guide Dog, what it is about the area that attracts all the micro-breweries, and where/how to date in Hintonburg,  Between talks, we heard live music. Street Art Miniatures, the anonymous artist who has been filling the city with tiny hidden charms, contributed a photo scavenger hunt.  The Ottawa Public Library's BiblioBike was there.  And as if that wasn't enough, plenty of lawn games, art projects and snacks kept the whole family busy. We provided a program to keep it all straight; with a map of the park showing where and when each element would take place. 

What: Jane's Walk Ottawa-Gatineau Launch Party 
When: Thursday, May 3, 2018, 6:00-8:00 pm

Apt613 Mob 2012
Jane's 'Mob' of earlier years . . . apt613, Hintonburg, 2012

Jane's Walk Ottawa-Gatineau presented this event in partnership with Awesome Ottawa, the Wellington West Business Improvement Area, and Synapcity.

Le 'Grand Rassemblement' de Jane était un succès !

Le 'Grand Rassemblement de Jane' jeudi soir à Hintonburg était un grand succès ! Nous avons compté plus de 150 participants. Un grand merci à tous nos conférenciers, notre photographe et autres bénévoles ! À tous ceux qui sont venus, merci de votre intérêt et de votre soutien. Félicitations à nos gagnants de la chasse au trésor ! Merci à toutes les entreprises et individus qui ont donné de la nourriture, des prix et des cadeaux, y compris Awesome Ottawa, le Wellington West BIA, le bureau du conseiller Nussbaum, Panago Pizza, Bridgehead, Metro Carleton Ave., Cocoa Camino, Brew Donkey, le Hintonburg Public House, Street Art Miniatures, Synapcity, et tous ceux qui ont fait un don lors de l'événement.


Two events from April 2018: 

Wednesday, April 4
Film screening: Citizen Jane: Battle for the City


The École d’innovation sociale Élisabeth-Bruyère at Saint Paul University will host a screening of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City in collaboration with Jane's Walk. Join us at noon in the Amphitheatre (room G1124) to watch the film and participate in a bilingual discussion about the life and work of Jane Jacobs.

       Wednesday, April 4
       12 noon -- 2:00 pm
       Amphitheatre (Room G1124)
       St. Paul University, 223 Main St.

      Admission: free

White Space

Saturday, April 7 People for Places 

  Ppl4 Places   Poster

Turn your passion into place: Synapcity and Jane's Walk Ottawa-Gatineau invite you to a workshop to connect with others who share your passion for Ottawa and its neighbourhoods.

Saturday, April 7
11:30 am — 2:30 pm
Geneva Hall at Knox Presbyterian Church
120 Lisgar St.

Tickets: $10. Lunch provided. Kids welcome!
Register at synapcity.ca/workshop/people-for-places

White Space

Thanks for visiting Jane's Walk Ottawa-Gatineau

I was reminded of this the other day listening to a podcast from CBC radio: Google created a doodle marking the 100th anniversary of Jane Jacobs' birth, 4 May 2016.  Note that Jane's Walk weekend is timed to occur at the weekend closest to her birthdate.

Jj Google Doodle 4 May2016

You can see the entire Doodle here. I notice that the description on the page is limited to Jane's time in New York, but we know that she continued her work on understanding the social and economic well-being of cities and her activism in defense of livability of downtown neighbourhoods after she moved to Toronto. More.

Successful June events:
Friday--Saturday--Sunday, June 2, 3, 4

 White Space                                          Tall Building

1) The Future of City Neighbourhoods: Preston St. & the LRT

Chris Bradshaw led an interesting and informative walk along Preston St. The weather was fine, and OCTranspo assisted with complimentary O-Train rides.

Walk details here.

2) 100in1day        100in1day Small

The first 110in1day event was a complete success, offering over 80 neighbourhood activities over the course of the day. See the whole list.

Given the response this year, be ready for 100in1day in Ottawa for 2018! What can you do to make your neighbourhood more interesting for a day?

3) Jane's Walk at Doors Open Ottawa

        Doors Open Logo

We had 50 participants for our June 3 tour of the former St Anne's Rectory at Doors Open. Many thanks to Hélène Beauchamp, who came in from Montreal to lead this tour, and to the volunteers from the National House of Prayer who graciously opened their building for this tour, and of course the Jane's Walk volunteers who were on hand to help out.

Details of the tour:
        English    français

Jane's Walk kick-off weekend was a great success!

There was great attendance and lots of interest in the walk weekend. Thanks to Barry Padolsky and Mathieu Fleury for their contributions to the kick-off events, and thanks to the Bytowne Cinema for their collaboration with us for these activities.   The events were well attended, and while Sunday afternoon was cold, we were mostly spared from rain during Mathieu's walk.