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The fountain in Confederation Park is a meeting point for several Jane's Walk tours this weekend. Photo: Gordon D. Bonnar (Apt613 Flickr Pool).

Jane’s Walk Roundup: Take your pick from 60+ free walking tours this weekend

By Aileen Duncan on May 3, 2018

On the weekend of May 5 and 6, Jane’s Walk 2018 invites you to explore Ottawa and Gatineau. New to Jane’s Walk? It’s a festival of free walking tours, which happens over the same weekend in cities all around the world. The festival celebrates the ideas of urban writer, Jane Jacobs, and provides an opportunity for people to get to know their city better.

With over 60 walking tours on offer, there’s truly something for everyone. You won’t be able to do everything (such FOMO!), but we’ve put together a sampling of remarkable options. Check out the for more ideas, and choose your own adventure!

Experience the city

Ottawa Love Stories: Where do Ottawa’s love stories happen, where do they go and keep going? And what do these places sound like? Ottawa Love Stories is an interactive and collaborative digital history project that maps and sonifies people’s love stories in the city. 

Saturday, May 5, meet at 2pm at the Centennial Flame, Parliament Hill

Take a Walk in Our Shoes?: Ever wonder what it would be like to navigate our fair city as a person without sight? How would you avoid obstacles? Cross streets? Locate your destination? Learn about the challenges, tools and innovative technologies that are increasing accessibility for citizens with visual impairments. 

Saturday, May 5, meet at 10am at the Fountain in Confederation Park

[Bike Tour] The evolving role of our waterways in city-building: Three special expert guests will remind us of the key roles rivers have played in our city’s history and evolution, and will point to exciting developments that may allow us to better appreciate and enjoy their beauty. 

Saturday, May 5, meet at 9am at the Fountain in Rockcliffe Pavillion

A view of the Ottawa River. Photo: Bust It Away Photography (Apt613 Flickr Pool).

New landmarks

LRT and Ottawa Art Gallery Tour: We’ll take a look at two LRT stations nearby and get an update on their progress.  At the Ottawa Art Gallery, we’ll discuss what the gallery brings to Ottawa, and how its new premises will help it deliver its mandate more effectively.  

Saturday, May 5, meet at 1:30pm at Laurier & Nicolas

History and Renewal of the National Arts Centre: Architect Barry Padolsky will lead a walk exploring the history, evolution, and urban context of Canada’s National Arts Centre. 

Sunday, May 6, meet at 2:30pm at the new Elgin Street entrance of the NAC

The Architecture of the Chateau Laurier: The building structure and architectural style – both historical and current proposals to replace the 1960s-era parking garage with a hotel addition.

Sunday, May 6, meet at 2:30pm on Rideau St, at the Plaza in front of the Congress Centre

Chateau Laurier. Photo provided.

Bonus: Both Sunday events will wrap up in time for the closing networking event, Après Jane, at the National Arts Centre City Stage.

Get to know the city

Indigenous Walks—Elgin Street: Indigenous perspective on some familiar landmarks.   Points of interest will include the Human Rights Monument, the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, the LEED building at 150 Elgin St, and more,

Sunday, May 6, meet at 2pm at the Human Rights Monument (Elgin & Lisgar St)

Tour of Charlie Bowins Skateboard Park: Skateboarding as an activity, what it took for McNabb and the other parks to be approved and built, and the community work that’s done through the skateboarding community in Ottawa.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 10am at the Charlie Bowins Skateboard Park

Charlie Bowins Skateboard Park. Image courtesy of

[French] À la découverte du Dépanneur Sylvestre et du quartier Wrightville: The walk will explore the neighbourhood in Hull, which will be followed by a presentation of the mission statement of le Dépanneur, which promotes social inclusion. A pay-what-you-can brunch will be served after the walk.

Sunday, May 6, meet at 10:30am at Dépanneur Sylvestre

How neighbourhoods change

Right Side of the Tracks: Station to Station on the Trillium Pathway: The disused former CPR Prescott railway line is transforming into a corridor for green transportation, parkland, recreation, and the ultra-hip. This walk will discuss the history, present and future of this transportation route and linear park. 

Sunday, May 6, meet at 10:30am at Trillium Pathway by the Carling O-Train Station

Hintonburg: Experimentation in a living neighbourhood: We’ll talk about some key concepts in Jane Jacobs’ theory, the history of Hintonburg, how flexibility contributes to the vitality of the neighbourhood, and how all of this can shape the way we see the successes and challenges that have helped make Hintonburg what it is today. The conversation continues after the walk at Beyond the Pale.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 3:00pm at 5 Hamilton Ave N

Cube Gallery in Hintonburg. Photo provided.

Heritage, Infill, & Innovation: Join the Centretown Citizens Community Association on a walk through Centretown West to explore how infill has affected downtown residents, particularly with respect to our experiences with innovative use of space and existing buildings, and challenges for preservation of heritage structures.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 1pm at Dundonald Park (corner of Lyon & Somerset)

Local heritage

Heritage Minutes Walking Tour: With Heritage Minutes as a focal point, this walk will delve a bit deeper into some of the locations in downtown Ottawa where history either took place or has been commemorated in bronze.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 10am at the Fountain in Confederation Park

Feminism, Society and Spaces: This walk highlights not only the role of women in Canadian society and history through existing landmarks, but also their absence in representations, recognition and accolades in public spaces and consciousness. 

Saturday, May 5, meet at 11:30am at the Women are Persons monument, Parliament Hill

Artist’s rendering of the Famous Five monument for Parliament Hill. Image provided.

Intersections of History: Stories Behind Downtown Ottawa Street Names: Explore the stories and histories behind street names in Ottawa, as well as broader themes about commemoration and legacy in the modern city. 

Saturday May 5, meet at 2pm at Wellington & Kent


The History and the New Reality of Sustainable Farming in the Greenbelt: This walk is a chance to visit a working small-scale diversified vegetable farm, surrounded by forest and marshes, in Ottawa’s Greenbelt. Guest co-leader from the NCC.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 4pm at Beet Box Farm (230 Davidson’s Side Rd.)

Beet Box Farm. Photo provided.

[Bilingual] Pinhey Sand Dune Conservation Project: Explore the Pinhey sand dune habitat in Nepean, which is an unusual micro-environment and a rare feature of Ottawa’s ecology.

Sunday, May 6, meet at 11am at Vaan & Pineland (near Woodroffe & Slack)

Get schooled

Jacobs 101: An introduction to the ideas of Jane Jacobs: Introduce the ideas of Jane Jacobs, using Ottawa landmarks and neighbourhoods to illustrate the ideas detailed in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. We’ll explore the roles of sidewalks, parks, zoning regulations, and more as we walk from the ByWard Market to Parliament Hill. 

Saturday, May 5, meet at 11am at the corner of Dalhousie & George Street

Early morning in the ByWard Market. Photo: Mitch Carriere (Apt613 Flickr Pool).

To BIA or not to BIA? Good Question!: How are Business Improvement Areas created, why do they exist, and how do they work? Case study is Wellington West BIA.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 12pm at Wellington St W & Island Park Dr

[French] L’architecture scolaire modern: Visit to seven different schools to demonstrate different types of academic architecture. Focus on franco-ontarienne architecture.

Saturday, May 5, meet at 2pm at École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau (1345 Notting Hill Ave)

Jane’s Walk is a festival of free walking tours happening in cities all over the world including Ottawa-Gatineau on May 5 and 6, 2018. All walks are free of charge. Visit for the complete schedule.