Walk through time
Jane’s Walk helps residents learn and explore Sydney
Jane’s Walk helps residents learn and explore Sydney.
Mary Dobson always wanted to learn more about the history of her community and that’s just what she did Saturday.
The Sydney resident was among 30 people who attended this year’s Jane’s Walk, a citizenled urban walking tour inspired by the work of Jane Jacobs. The walk, which takes place across the world each year, is aimed to bring people together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods.
The Sydney event was no different with walkers stopping in different areas of the city to learn more about its history.
“I knew it was going to be interested to learn about the city,” said Dobson. “I’m learning about my own community, not to mention being out and enjoying the beautiful sunny day.”
The two-hour walk started at the monument to the original Membertou community off Kings Road, near the Sydney Medical Arts building, then continued up Kings Road, making stops at different locations
before ending at the Merchant Mariner monument on the boardwalk.
“I was quite impressed with the monument where they moved the Membertou community,” said Dobson. “I had never seen the monument before, so I was really interested to hear about the move that was forced upon the people to move to their current location.”
Paul MacDougall, who has been organizing the event in Sydney for the past three years, said he continues to have the walk each year because people like it.
“There has been a lot of interest, especially now with the discussion of the downtown maybe being developed up and new things happening as a more positive vibe — now is the time to talk more about it and show things to people they may not know,” he said.
“It shows interesting stuff in the community that you may not realize. This isn’t really a formal thing — it’s sort of a relaxed kind of thing — but has people leading it and guiding it. It’s all about education.”
Jane Jacobs was an urbanist and activist whose writings offered a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She had no training as a planner, but her 1961 treatise, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” introduced groundbreaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail. Jacob’s died in April 2006. MacDougall would like to see more communities become involved in the annual Jane’s Walk event, noting it would be nice to see walks in Glace Bay, New Waterford and the Northside, as well as other communities.
“Every community has something neat and something interesting to see,” said MacDougall. “The more you do, the more you see, the more you learn about your community, the better it is for you.”
MacDougall said he is planning to have Jane’s Walk next year in Sydney. Anyone interested in helping organize the event or wanting more information is asked to email MacDougall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul MacDougall, Jane’s Walk organizer, right, speaks to a group of 30 people who participate in this year’s Jane’s Walk event on Saturday. The group is pictured learning about the history of Sydney on the city’s boardwalk.