My last Jane’s Walk of the weekend – Frame Your Neighbourhood – was truly about neighbourhood through an observers eye. We met at DeeDee’s Ice cream (it’s the BEST) where Emma Fitzgerald who led the walk, introduced the neighbourhood and then invited us to take a cardboard cut out frame and explore the area; we were to meet up, after sketching for about an hour, at the local municipal library.
A young woman in the group and I set out together. We shared some of our observations and then began to sketch. We met, separated and drew together up and down the streets, eventually making our way to the library. Others from the walk were already gathered and sketch books were spread out on the benches. We added ours to the parade. People shared the little stories of their individual explorations and experiences. These stories were snapshots and vignettes that sometimes explained their sketches and sometimes were simple commentary on the experience of being in the neighbourhood.
I had chosen to attend this walk with some trepidation, but the brochure said “no drawing experience necessary” and I reminded myself of this as I prepared my makeshift sketch book that morning and as I arrived and saw the others’ “real” sketch books; and then again as we arrived at the library and I placed my modest sketch on the bench. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I take pictures to tell the stories of my walks and I do enjoy this process. Sketching for Frame Your Neighbourhood was similar and different. It led me to make different observations and be present in a different way. Below is a copy of my sketch and then a photo of the house…I hope you can see the relationship between the two images – both by an amateur, and both achieved by a process of quiet observation.
A few more pictures of the walk are up on flickr.
On Sunday I went on three Jane’s Walks – Yay. The first began at the Halifax Citadel NHS, wound by the Halifax Common and finished up on Quinpool Rd. Lots of opportunity to look and talk about use of public space – and how we design to use this space.
The next walk, Halifax: Transit City, was for me, one of the most interesting. A member from the organization, It’s More Than Buses led the walk and had great information about the evolution of neighbourhoods in Halifax pre and post the first transit system. Wow – a street car suburb in Halifax and Schmidtville a neighbourhood formed in the years before street cars – so pre 1850s (if I have remembered the dates correctly!); followed by a walk down Barrington St. Just like the brochure says – design and transit work together!
Check my flickr for more Jane’s Walk pictures.
This past weekend there were Jane’s Walks all over world; and there were walks here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There were 15! And I walked 5. On Saturday, the local walks began with A hidden gem, Oathill Lake in which the Oathill Lake Conservation Society led a walk around the lake. What a great way to meet neighbours, learn about the society’s activities, the health of the lake and it didn’t hurt that the weather was fabulous too.
For the next walk, Walkers’ Walk, we rambled between three cemeteries in Dartmouth – on a walk mixing bits of history, personal story, art and sharing. Barbara Lounder who led the walk invited participants to take rubbings in Mount Hermon Cemetery – making the visit to the cemetery personal.
The route took us by the Park Avenue Community Oven – really, really neat! – definitely planning to go back and make pizza. And there was cake and Walker shortbread cookies too!
We ended the walk at St. Paul’s Cemetery near the Dartmouth Waterfront. This cemetery is located by a Mi’kmaw burial ground which has been reclaimed from what was a municipal park. We were fortunate to speak to a Mi’kmaq elder, who generously shared his thoughts and knowledge with us there.
More pictures of the walks are found on flickr. Later this week, I hope to post about some of the other walks on the weekend.
Fallopia japonica, that’s the scientific name for Japanese knotweed. It has got to be the most vigorous, invasive plant that I have ever seen in an urban setting. Everyday that I walk to work, I pass some. It doesn’t matter which route – there it is pushing up through the pavement. And at this time of year, the dry stalks pushing up through the asphalt are clear and stark; no, lush, green growth covers this slow motion drama.
New growth – coming from the crown.
This plant grows all over Nova Scotia and there is a wealth of information online. From images to scientific papers like this one submitted for a MSc at Dalhousie University.
Canada Day today, so we took advantage and walked along Beaufort Ave. This short walk is the first “step” in a possible urban greenway in Halifax. Along one side of Beaufort Avenue, in the south end of Halifax there is an asphalt path, open for multi use. This street follows the top of the rock cut leading the train lines to the seaport. This rail line is not used (much – at all??) and the rock cut and rail line has become a lovely green space.
Bringing this vision to life will create space for people to easily travel in a small part of Halifax (outside their cars!) along a naturalized, reclaimed industrial space. More detailed information is available from HUGA. Because this trail is along a street there are great views in Google streetview; search for Beaufort Avenue, Halifax, NS.
We actually went a bit farther and walked down to the very end of South St. which ends directly on the water of the North West Arm – who knew? You could even launch a canoe here, although there is nowhere to leave your car. And walking down Oakland Rd to the end takes you down to the water too – this time down a long series of steps ending on a solid dock- steep to come back up!
One of my favorite things about Halifax is the waterfront – the harbour and sea. On the weekend we set out to take full advantage of Halifax downtown and the sea – we traveled the ferry from Alderney Landing, walked along the waterfront, behind the seaport, around the perimeter of Point Pleasant Park and then finally looped inland and back down to the Halifax ferry terminal to finish up the day with another boat ride.
The green roof of the Halifax Seaport Market looks out over cruise ships docked at the Halifax Harbour/Port.
Walking along Young Ave. takes you across a bridge over the train tracks and looks down over the tracks to the seaport.
It is ironic that the walk along the Halifax seaport takes you by a working seaport – large containers and cranes – and no access to the shore itself.
In Point Pleasant Park the perimeter path is never far from the shore and points straight out to sea – the wide Atlantic. Inland paths are lovely leafy bowers.
Check out my HRM map to see the route in more detail. It combines water, built waterfront and shops, excellent city park with a more “natural” feel, and residential & downtown streets. This walk took just over two hours at an easy pace and is entirely on side walks and paths. This loop has lots of variety through diverse neighbourhoods and alternate routes.
Today was a chance to walk where cars usually go – in the annual bridge walk over the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge. There were lots and lots of people of all ages, shapes and sizes! The walk on the bridge isn’t long – only 20 minutes or so, although my daughter did point out that we were perhaps going faster than a stroll!
No toll today; pedi-power all the way!