Toronto Mayor David Miller has proclaimed May 4 as Jane Jacobs Day in honour of the urban activist. To celebrate, two dozen free walking tours will be held Saturday to share her love of the city.
The day would have marked her 91st birthday. The author and urban activist died last April, days before her 90th birthday.
Over her lifetime, Jacobschallenged established ideas on cities and the economy and is credited with helping make Canada's largest city as creatively diverse as it is.
"She taught us about eyes on the street, and that walkable, dense, compact and diverse neighbourhoods were the hallmarks of a healthy and prosperous city," said Miller in a press release.
In honour of the woman who is most famous for her 1961 book TheDeath andLife of Great American Cities, 24 walks will be held across the city of Toronto on Saturday.
Among those leading the "Jane's Walk" tours are former mayor John Sewell, Coun. Adam Vaughan and architect Eb Zeidler, as well as residents, activists and friends of Jacobs.
"The whole impulse behind the Jane's Walk, which was created by a number of people that knew her well, is it's sort of like let a thousand flowers bloom. Anyone can create one of these walks," said Jane Farrow, producer for CBC Radio's Sunday Edition.
Farrow will be leading a tour entitled Yonge Street is Flaming around the city's gay district that will explore the 50-year history of the community.
Another tour, Regent Park in the Process of Revitalization, will explore the inner-city neighbourhood's history and future.
Regent Parkrepresents the kind of development Jacobs was strongly opposed to, with its huge street blocks and lack of through-traffic, said Regent Park Neighbourhood Initiative executive director Catherine Goulet, who will lead the tour.
"Without streets going through, many, many Torontonians have never ever been …We're hoping to show people the Regent Park that is and to give them some idea of the construction that has begun," said Goulet.
The idea of the walking tours, says Farrow, is to get people out sharing their ownobservations of neighbourhoods and experiencing the "little ballet that goes on on every street in the city."
"Everyone can sort of connect to those basic ideas of loving your neighbourhood and sharing your own experience of it," said Farrow.
Alist of Jane's Walk tours can be found at www.janeswalk.net.