A Sense of Spadina and Jane's Walk

On a beautiful, clear and sunny Sunday May 8th, over 50 interested Urbanists attended this year's Sense of Spadina Jane’s Walk tour of the Kensington Market and Spadina Avenue area.

Jane’s Walk honours the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning. Jane’s Walk advances local engagement with contemporary urban planning practices and helps knit people together instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership. Free walking tours held on the first weekend of May each year are in many cases led by locals. Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly. In May of 2010, 424 walks were held in 68 cities in nine countries.

Our tour began in the Anshei Minsk Synagogue, where tour leaders Cyrel Troster and Ryan Handlarski discussed the history of Jewish life in Kensington Market and the importance that Spadina Avenue held in early Jewish life in Toronto. While at the Anshei Minsk Synagogue, its spiritual leader, Rabbi Shmuel Spero, joined the group for a quick discussion of the Synagogue’s long history and significance for Urban Jewish life.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Woolfson.

Cyrel Troster with her group in front of John's Italian Caffe.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Woolfson.

The group then proceeded to experience first hand the Spadina Avenue neighbourhood. The tour leaders guided their respective groups around parts of Baldwin St., Beverly St. and Cecil St., stopping at various locations of former, and current, Jewish significance. The tour concluded with all the participants feeling a greater connection to past Jewish life in downtown Toronto. 

If you missed the walk this year, Jane’s Walks take place the first weekend in May. Be sure to join us at next years Walk! Or better still, sign up for one of our four public walks this year by visiting our walking tours page.