7 Jane’s Walks to Take This Weekend

Learn what’s up with the last houses in downtown, tour the secret curiosities of Crescent Heights and go on an art walk that focuses on doors. There is no shortage of options to explore Calgary’s communities and history this weekend.

The Wonderland sculpture is one of the stops on the Insta famous Downtown Spots. Photograph by Neil Zeller @neil_zee. Courtesy of Travel Alberta.

Calgary’s Jane’s Walk event is an opportunity for Calgarians to explore the development and history of their city. Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walks that are held around the world every year. The walks explore city neighbourhoods with knowledgeable tour guides leading conversations on topics that are important to their home city. This year, Calgary’s Jane’s Walk event takes place from May 3 to 5.

The walks get their name from urban activist Jane Jacobs. She believed cities should be developed using a community-based model, and wrote several books on city development including her renowned (and first) novel The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961. Many of the tours organized for these walks here in Calgary explore the history of Calgary neighbourhoods, visit public art spaces, trek through urban green spaces or analyze a specific community’s history in the city. We’ve highlighted eight walks to check out this weekend, but there are almost 80 to choose from.

Insta Famous Downtown Spots

When: Friday, May 3 at 5 p.m.
Start point: Centennial Grove Olympic Plaza (the orange pillars)

Charge your phone and get ready for some selfies. This walk is hosted by Immigrant Services Calgary Youth Inclusive Program and it will take you to all the best places for a photograph. Between the hosts and the other walkers, there will also be plenty of tips on the best way to take the photo.

Windows to the Past

When: Saturday, May 4 at 1:45 p.m.
Start point: Banff Trail CTrain Station at the corner of Capital Hill Crescent and 23 Avenue N.W.

This is an art walk along Capital Hill Crescent with a twist. The art is the doors of more than two dozen 1950s bungalows along the crescent. Walk leader Linda Gerhardt (look for her dressed in a vintage pink dress) will tell you about the original owners of homes and offer trivia about the 1950s and 60s.

10 Minute Plays for Jane’s Walk

When: Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5, 1 p.m.
Start point: Famous Five Statue in Olympic Plaza

Alberta Theatre Projects put out the call to local artists and arts groups to create a short performance about “what’s at the core of being Calgarian”. The result is this 10-Minute Play-themed walked that takes place twice over the weekend. The walk includes six performances at six different locations.

Sunnyside Garage Art Tour

When: Saturday, May 4 at 1:45 p.m.
Start point: Vendome Cafe, 940 2 Ave. N.W.

This walk takes you through the alleys of Sunnyside to see the garage doors that have been turned into art. To make a full day of touring Sunnyside and Hillhurst, arrive early for the Gentle Density in Historic Hillhurst walk that begins at 11 a.m. and is timed so that there is a lunch break with socializing before the garage art tour begins.

The cREative Realm: Exploring Local Art and Creative Process

When: Friday, May 3 at 4 p.m.
Start point: 1705 Macleod Tr. S.E.

The cREative Realm is a block-by-block project along 17 Avenue S.W. that includes several creative temporary or pop-up projects along the Avenue during construction, including a retired phone booth turned into a recording booth, the construction of a large kaleidoscope and a six audio episodes that are prompted by bronze markers. The walk is led by daniel j. kirk and Dawn VandeSchoot who will talk about the complexities of public art and explain the different approaches that are part of the cREative Realm project.

The Last Houses of Downtown Calgary

When: Saturday, May 4, 10:30 a.m.
Start point: 521 8 Ave. S.E.

There are only a handful of houses remaining in downtown Calgary. This walk will tell the stories of those homes as well as some of the historic landmarks around them.

Curious Things In Crescent Heights

When: Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m.
Start point: Ducktoes Computer Services, 902 Centre St. N.E.

The Crescent Heights Community Association launched an interactive asset map for residents to mark secret spots in the community. They are sharing the secrets with everyone on this tour that will take you to the Michael Jackson memorial, an intersection mural and a sidewalk stamp sanctuary, among other curiosities.

For more information on these and other walks, visit janeswalk.calgaryfoundation.org.

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