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.