Friday, May 2, 2014

Go on a Jane's Walk!

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Around the world, Jane's Walks are happening this weekend. This year London ON is taking part celebrating the urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Explore your own backyard or discover some place new on a Jane's Walk.

This year London ON offers four walks - two on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Saturday, May 3:

  • 11am: Downtown: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Meet on SW corner of Wellington and Dundas (in front of Library's 'reading garden'). Walk lead by Mark Jull.
  • 3pm: Wortley Road Through Jane Jacobs' Eyes. Meet at Wortley and Victor (at the entrance to Thames Park). Walk lead by Mark Jull. 

Sunday, May 4:

  • 1pm: Forest City Modern. Meet on front lawn of Museum London. Walk led by Sandra Miller of Museum London.
  • 4pm: Old East Village: History and Community. Meet at SE corner of Dundas and Adelaide. Walk led by Benjamin Vazquez.
Full details of walks here:

All Jane's Walks are completely free and no registration is necessary.

See you on the streets!
Mark Jull (City Organizer)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Call for Walk Leaders! Jane's Walk London, Ontario

Jane's Walk: Invitation to be a Walk Leader

If you're in London, Ontario, please consider being a Walk Leader for Jane's Walk this year on May 2nd, 3rd or 4th. The Jane's Walk festival is an annual series of free, volunteer-led urban walks that honour the urban thinker Jane Jacobs and her idea that cities can provide something for everybody only when they are created by everybody.

Jane’s Walks are like ‘walking conversations’ about neighbourhoods and how people use and enjoy their cities. Walks are led by a wide variety of people, particularly those want to share their pocket of the city.

The walks are as varied as the people taking part, and they usually last about 90 minutes. We ask each Walk Leader to offer their perspective along the route, and to encourage the public to weigh in. The simple act of walking and talking creates a space for people to connect, share, and develop ideas about where their communities and cities are at and where they are headed.

Last year, over 100 cities participated from Calcutta to Canberra, Sao Paulo to Saskatoon. This is the first time London, Ontario is participating and we would really benefit from your voice in the mix!

London has a strong and developing urban life and we hope to show off London’s many vibrant streets and neighbourhoods.

We're very excited to get residents involved in articulating their hopes and dreams about civic space.

Organizing a Jane's Walk is easy. It simply involves planning a route, thinking through the stories, places and people and ideas you want to hear and talk about, and promoting it around your neighbourhood. Simply register a Jane’s Walk on our city page by clicking ‘Create a Walk’ and filling in the details (start and end time and place, a walk title, and a brief description of your walk).

There is helpful information under the ‘Resources’ tab to help you develop and organize a walk. 

I’m happy to provide further advice or answer any questions you may have. Click the envelope icon on this page, or connect with me on Twitter.

 Very best,
Mark Jull (City Organizer)

London, Ontario Jane’s Walk page:
Main Jane’s Walk Twitter:
Main Jane’s Walk Facebook page:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Whitepainters: Toronto's early gentrifiers

I recently discovered that Harry Bruce was the person to coin the phrase "whitepainters" to refer to early gentrifiers in Toronto. He used this phrase in an article for Maclean's magazine. I had to scan the article from microfilm, so I thought I'd make the pdf available to anyone who wanted it. 
Note that the final page of the pdf is a closer look at the images on the previous page.

Harry Bruce, "Glory Be, the Whitepainters Are Coming!" Maclean's April 18, 1964, 25-28. 

Download it here:

Or read it here:

tags: whitepainter, white painter, whitepainters, white painters, gentrification, Toronto, Cabbagetown

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scald & Drowning in Solitude

After some interest in the Crawl/Child post, I've recorded and uploaded the demo cassette of Scald & Drowning in Solitude. It was recorded in 1991 and 1992. I really like Scald, with Bradley Park of Crawl/Child and Paul Pfeiffer. Downing in Solitude (Pfeiffer alone) never did much for me, but it's here anyway.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crawl/Child - self-titled & Principles of Exclusion

Crawl/Child was a music group in the early 90s based in the Lindsay, Ontario area. Crawl/Child is difficult to describe but 'industrial' and 'metal' come to mind. They are probably one of the heaviest bands I've ever heard. The two main members of Crawl/Child were Howard Gibbs (electronics, sampling, etc.) and Bradley Park (vocals). As far as I know, Gibbs is part owner of Have You Seen, a DVD rental store in Peterborough Ontario and Park is teaching philosophy in Maryland.

Since their music isn't on Youtube and there doesn't seem to be any download links available, I thought I'd upload their two albums. In each zip file, there are also scans of the album artwork and words.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The "Mayor's" bike plan and Sherbourne Street

Those who paid attention to the last Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting (June 23 2011), or the news, will know that at the last minute John Parker pulled a nasty stunt. He surprised everyone by introducing a recommendation ("carried"/ approved) to remove the recently installed bike lanes on Jarvis. This still has to be approved by Council on July 12 or 13. Many of those in favour of removing these lanes often point to Sherbourne Street - "take Sherbourne instead." Sherbourne is one block west of Jarvis and has had bike lanes for quite a while. For example, here, here and here. Indeed, at that PWIC meeting, it was recommended that the city "proceed with the process" of installing separated bike lanes "in 2012 in conjunction with the planned capital work on Sherbourne Street." See Section 1.c.

Sherbourne Street is a total mess. It's so bumpy and pot-holed that it's not just 'comfort' but safety is a major concern. Anyone who has ever ridden a bike in Toronto knows that taking Sherbourne is a bad idea. Most 'off road' trails are smoother. I once took the Sherbourne lanes and had to readjust my headset and front brake.

But does anyone have any details or plans or anything about this supposed "planned capital work on Sherbourne Street"? I posed this question to 311Toronto and the Ward's Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, both of whom were a bit surprised. Wong-Tam eventually replied that "There are no conceptual drawings or even public consultations yet for Sherbourne." 311Toronto seemed at first to have no idea, but have since found something and promised they will send it to me tomorrow.

 I'll update this post once I get those details.

But, for now, I'd like to remind those who are in favour of bike lanes that this whole 'just take Sherbourne, it's getting redone next year' is a bit of a sham. Have you seen any plans? Have there been the usual public consultations? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cycling, Ideology and the Law

Over the last week or so there's been a few articles and opinion pieces concerning cyclists in Toronto. Few of the arguments/opinions expressed are surprising. However, it has led to some good discussion. 
     On May 24th, there were two great articles on cycling on Torontoist. One concerned the city's Pedestrian and Cyclist Collision Data and a great discussion was inspired by an article on the "uphill climb" cyclists have in Toronto. More recently was an "opinion piece" by Emma Woolley that was re-posted from her blog on Spacing.  In response to Woolley's post, Ben Mueller-Heaslip wrote his own 'open letter.' Meanwhile there's been Tweets back and forth and, I'm sure,  discussions over beer..