Jane Walks Downtown

Photog Leif Norman captured some gorgeous photos of last year's Jane's Walk www.leifnorman.net
Photog Leif Norman captured some gorgeous photos of last year’s Jane’s Walk http://www.leifnorman.net

Now that the snow is FINALLY gone, I can’t wait to start walking again! And it’s just in time for this weekend’s Jane’s Walk!

If you’ve never been on a Jane’s Walk before – well, first, you’ve been missing out! Here’s what it’s about:

Jane’s Walk celebrates the ideas and legacy of urbanist Jane Jacobs by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours. Free walking tours held on the first weekend of May each year are led by locals who want to create a space for residents to talk about what matters to them in the places they live and work. Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly. In May of 2011, 511 walks were held in 75 cities in 15 countries worldwide.

This weekend, there are no less than 19 different walks planned around Winnipeg so you can go out and re-meet the city (it was still there under all that snow!) Here are some of the walks I’m hoping to check out:

Living Downtown — since 1812

Guided by: David Connors
Date: Saturday, May 4th
Start Time: 1:00 PM
Est. Duration: 1.5 hours

The walk will follow Waterfront Drive between the two roundabouts — one near Higgins, and the other at Bannatyne. We will stop at the Thistle Monument, Alexander Docks and the site of Fort Douglas, Eaton’s warehouse, James Street pumping station and pump house. Aqueduct monument, Settlers Monument, Jordan Van Sewell’s art installations in Stephen Juba Park. Themes will be the early history of the area, and its transformation to become the poster child for downtown living. We will also discuss downtown living issues.

I know there’s way more to this area than I’ve ever hears about (I didn’t know there was an Eaton’s warehouse!) – plus, I haven’t walked down Waterfront in a while, and I’m excited to see how the hotel is going!

WPGxHBC – A Company’s Influence on the City

Guided by: Abigail Auld
Date: Saturday, May 4th
Start Time: 2:00 PM
Est. Duration: 1.5 hours

Ever wonder about the origins of downtown’s grid street pattern? Or how Memorial Boulevard lined up so perfectly with the Legislative Building? Who built the first traffic bridges in Winnipeg? Why the Princeton Apartments on Broadway look so posh?

The Hudson’s Bay Company has existed here for quite some time – far longer than the city itself! Over the years the company has had an enormous influence on Winnipeg’s urban development. On this walk you’ll learn about controversial land swaps, real estate monopolies and incredible changes in retail culture that have had lasting effect on the shape of our city.

The walk will begin on Main Street near Broadway and end at Portage & Memorial, so bring your walking shoes!

I’ve always loved the way Memorial Boulevard lines up with the Leg (it looks uber-majestic) but I had no idea it had a connection to the Bay! Now I’m intrigued.

5468796 bannatyne projects

Guided by: sasa radulovic
Date: Sunday, May 5th
Start Time: 11:00 AM
Est. Duration: 1.5 hours

The Walk will encompass a number of projects recently completed by 5468796 architecture on and nearby Bannatyne Avenue, demonstrating how architecture can actively and passively complement city life. The tour is to include: Avenue Building, Old Market Square Stage, Bannatyne Lofts, WRHA on Hargrave, Welcome Place and Centre Village.

Now I’ve met Sasa before, and he’s a fascinating guy – I’d love the chance to pick his brain on architecture and maybe get some inside info on the design of these buildings!

Broadway Modern

Guided by: Susan Algie,Winnipeg Architecture Foundation
Date: Sunday, May 5th
Start Time: 11:00 AM
Est. Duration: 1.5 hours

Broadway between Main Street and Osborne Street has long been an address of prestige, book-ended by two dominant, significant works of architecture – Union Station to the east and the Manitoba Legislative Building to the west. The early history of the avenue was as a desirable residential neighborhood, with little commercial activity. A building boom in the late 1950s to early 1970s, however, was responsible for the development of the Broadway as we know it.

This tour will focus on the post-1945 development of the area as a premier business district and the collection of modernist architecture designed by some of Winnipeg’s most notable firms.

I don’t know a lot about architecture, but I hear that we’ve got an amazing collection of modernist buildings – so I’m off to find out more about them!

Revitalizing Portage Avenue and the Emerging Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District

Guided by: Tom Janzen
Date: Sunday, May 5th
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Est. Duration: 1.5 hours

This walk will explore the long-term vision for Portage Avenue and the Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District (SHED). Participants will look at the decline of this once a vibrant urban corridor and learn about past, current and planned development efforts aimed at revitalizing Portage Avenue and the Downtown.

A lot of these are about history, so it’s cool to see one that’s about the future and what’s planned for the area!

There are way more to choose from than just these five – I HIGHLY encourage you to check out the Jane’s Walk site and pick a few this weekend! See you & your walking shoes there!

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