JANE'S WALK: Shopping Mauls to Wooden Walls
The late urbanist Jane Jacobs was a pioneer in the way North American society, and the world in general, thought about living in cities. She was about preserving urban areas from "slum clearance", most notably known for opposing the Spadina Expressway in Toronto that would have demolish existing neighbourhoods in favour of more expressways through downtown Toronto.
Although she passed away in 2006, Jacobs' legacy inspired what has been known for years as "Jane's Walk": free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Where more traditional tours are a bit like walking lectures, a Jane's Walk is more of a walking conversation. Leaders share their knowledge, but also encourage discussion and participation among the walkers.
In the month of May, Mississauga plays host to a number of Jane's Walks around various areas of the city. While most Jane’s Walks tend to celebrate the vibrancy of the urban experience in their respective communities, she also stressed that citizens need to be criticial at times of the way things developed. That is what “Shopping Mauls and Wooden Walls“ is all about: a reverse look at Mississauga from its development into typical suburbia finishing with a look at The Grange, a symbol of Mississauga’s past. For those of you who are astute studies of dead malls, this one is for you!
Local activists Stephen Caulfield and Alex Lach will be the Walk Leaders. Caulfield is a bit of an eccentric gadfly; last year he hosted what was dubbed “The Dross Walk”, a critical, depressing and yet hilarious look at the massive socio-economic project known as The City, a look at the by product of suburban sprawl in an overheated, resource-devouring and unbalanced environment. It was basically a 6 km walk along parts of Mississauga that local politicians would not dare to highlight or advertise, which in a strange way was somewhat refreshing to see.
“Shopping Mauls to Wooden Walls” promises to be no different, albeit in more frequented areas of Mississauga but nevertheless offers a historical analysis and critique of the way sprawl redefined historic Mississauga.
Interested parties and patrons are to meet at the Sheridan Centre near Erin Mills Parkway and Dundas Street. Hope to see you there for this unique exploration of Mississauga.