April 26, 2018: Parkdale Park takeover. Jane’s Walk launches (with a party) on May 3.

April 26, 2018: Parkdale Park takeover.
Jane’s Walk launches (with a party) on May 3.

By Courtney Symons.

Unabridged version.
Spring has finally sprung. It’s the time of year when everyone is excited to escape the confines of their living rooms, breathe in the fresh air, and get outside in their communities again.

With spring comes this year”s edition of Jane’s Walk ” the citizen-led festival of free walking tours honouring urban activist Jane Jacobs, encouraging residents to get out and explore their communities by foot.

Jane’s Walk takes place on May 5 and 6, and will include dozens of walks in both English and French scattered across Ottawa and Gatineau.

This year, Jane’s Walk is kicking things off a little differently. For its launch party, the festival is hosting an inverted walk — a Parkdale Market Park Takeover.

On Thursday, May 3 from 6 to 8 PM, Parkdale Park will be overtaken by Jane’s Mob — a collection of storytellers, residents, local experts, and performers, all there to celebrate the Parkdale Park and its history, present, and future.

In this “Choose Your Own Adventure” event, attendees will be given a map of the park outlining various speaker stations on various topics — from stories behind the grand opening of the Parkdale Market, to where and how to date in Hintonburg, to navigating the neighbourhood with a seeing eye dog, to why the area is such a hotspot for breweries. It’s up to you to choose which content you’d like to listen in on.

Between talks, live music performances will fill the park. There will be a scavenger hunt in partnership with Street Art Miniatures, the anonymous artist who has been filling the city with tiny hidden charms. The Ottawa Public Library’s BiblioBike will be there, too. If that isn’t quite enough, plenty of lawn games and art projects will keep you busy.

Perhaps the best part is that this is a free, family-friendly event. There will be complimentary drinks and snacks, and an after party at the Carleton Tavern across the street.

Jane’s Mob is meant to be mayhem of the best variety. A feast for the senses. An opportunity to get out in the springtime, connect with neighbours, and learn about the vibrant history behind the Parkdale Market Park. This landmark public space has woven itself into the fabric of the neighbourhood, and Jane’s Mob is an opportunity to hear different voices tell various stories about just how that came to be.

“We plan to make this our biggest Jane’s Walk ever for Ottawa-Gatineau,” says Leigh Thorpe, who launched Jane’s Walk in this city back in 2008. “This launch event is all about getting close to your city, getting out and observing, meeting your neighbours, and discovering new areas.”

The Jane’s Walk Festival will continue on May 5 and 6, with free walking tours all over the city.

To find out more about Jane’s Mob and the rest of the Jane’s Walk festival, visit http://www.janeswalkottawa.ca , or follow them on Twitter at @JanesWalkOtt .
Photo Caption: Images from the Jane’s walk website.

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