The following May 11, 2018 email message is from the Jane’s Walk Steering Committee; my own Commentary follows below.
Title of email: Jane’s Walk’s future is bright. A clarifying statement from the Steering Committee.
A word from the Jane’s Walk Steering Committee
Yesterday we sent out an email that requires clarification.
Most importantly, we want to assure everyone that Jane’s Walk as you have come to know and love it, will continue. Our Project Director, Alia Scanlon is leaving us for an exciting new position with Civic Action and we wish her all the best. Given the shifting environment, our Steering Committee is reviewing the full scope of operations to set up Jane’s Walk for continued success.
In recent years, our Committee has explored various operational models to meet the challenging non-profit funding environment. We are not alone as an organization in that regard. What was never up for negotiation was the hosting of the Festival itself. It is our baseline for success. Thanks to all of you – walkers, walk leaders and donors – we know that the future of the festival is in good hands.
Globally, our massive footprint of 245 cities and counting, has grown far beyond the support of the Jane’s Walk project office. Over the past year, Alia has dedicated much of her time to the development of messaging and resources to ensure that this dynamic community can continue to deliver the festival in their local communities as well. This is very much in the spirit of Jane’s Jacobs’ philosophy of self-organization.
While the global community is inspiring, Toronto is home base. It’s where our heart beats. And we remain dedicated to the Toronto festival being delivered through a Toronto City Organizer. We regret the confusion that was caused with our previous email and we welcome any questions you may have about our ongoing development.
Before signing off, we want to thank Alia for her leadership and the dedication of her time and creativity to this wonderful project. We also want to thank our Toronto City Organizer, Erin Kang for delivering another awesome Festival this year.
Feel free to email Steering Committee Chair, Kevin Stolarick or in-coming Chair, Geraldine Cahill with any questions or feedback.
Our best to you, our Toronto Jane’s Walk community.
From the Jane’s Walk Steering Committee
I’ve been involved with Jane’s Walk since 2012.
I’m pleased that, over the years, I’ve learned a bit about how Jane’s Walk got started, through conversations with people involved with the organization from the earliest years.
What I most like about the Jane’s Wall is its open-endedness – with the fact, that is, that what a Jane’s Walk is, is not readily amenable to definition – as I’ve noted in the following posts, starting from the first post below, from Feb. 17, 2012:
The following post is from April 17, 2014:
The third post is from May 5, 2016:
My experiences with Jane’s Walk have all been positive; leading and organizing them has been a great learning experience
For three years starting in 2012, my friend Mike James and I led Jane’s Walks in Long Branch and New Toronto.
In the years that followed, I’ve been involved in organizing two walks led by Councillor Jim Tovey in Mississauga, and two walks led by Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Peter Milczyn.
I would not have wanted to take on the responsibility of organizing and leading a walk on my own. For that reason, I asked my friend Mike James if he would help me to lead a walk in 2012. Mike agreed, and we were on our way. Such a collaborative arrangement turned out to be a great way to organize and lead our walks.
Mike and I have divergent views about all manner of topics. We were able to get that fact across at the start of each of our walks.
That was our way, as it turned out, of underlining that our walks celebrated a wide range of viewpoints, about local history or anything else.
We in our case followed the model of the walk as a conversation. Comments from walk participants were celebrated and extolled, and we presented a ready-made forum for the the sharing of them.
That’s a model that has worked out well of us. Under other conditions, a Jane’s Walk as a lecture, or as a combination of conversation and lecture, can also work out well.
During the three years that we led walks, we got better and better at ensuring the walks were successful, on every possible level.
Subsequently, Mike James moved to Niagara on the Lake, and by that stage I was tired of the responsibility of leading walks, and so we took a break from organizing and leading walks.
However, it occurred to me that I could help to organize walks, while other people would lead them. That’s what led me to work with Councillor Jim Tovey’s Office, and with MPP Peter Milczyn’s Office, in the organizing of what has turned out to be four successful walks, in recent years.
I’m really pleased that I can apply my organizing skills and experience, in such a context, without taking on the responsibility of actually leading a walk.
I’ve learned so many things – about the preparation of routes and speaking notes; about ways to ensure active participation by participants in a Jane’s Walk; about ways to publicize and document a walk – that I am really pleased to have learned. Just learning new things, and getting better at organizing events, in collaboration with other people, are among the many benefits that I’ve gained from involvement with Jane’s Walk.
I’ve also helped organize a recent Jane’s Walk Bike Ride in Long Branch:
In the latter case, I provided some general feedback during the planning stages, and I also shared a bit of history-related information during the ride itself, along with the event’s leader, David Juliusson of Long Branch and other participants, including Bob Cutmore of Mississauga.
With all such Jane’s Walk events, I have learned so many great details, related to nuances and aspects of local history, that otherwise would have escaped me.
Beyond question, Jane’s Walk has been, and continues to be, a tremendously valuable experience, for me and so many other leaders, organizers, and participants.
I speak as a person involved, over the years, with all three categories – leader; organizer; and participant.
I encourage other people to get involved with organizing and leading of walks as well.
The most important first step is to take the decision to proceed. The next most important step is to follow through on your decision, and get as much help as you feel you need, from all of the resources that are available.