Kirkor’s innagural Junior Jane’s Walk took place last Saturday May 5th. Once again the walk turned out to be a fun event while also proving insightful for those interested in the past and future of urban development in Toronto. The annual walk celebrates the ideas and philosophy of urbanist Jane Jacobs.
Photos: Yvonne Bambrick
For Kirkor, this year’s walk took on a more playful approach offering one of the city’s only Junior Jane’s Walks. Participating children were outfitted with a loot bag consisting of a pair of Jane Jacobs eyeglasses, a sketchbook, coloured pencils, a disposable camera, a set of googly eyes, and an interactive route map.
The walk was led by Kirkor architect David Butterworth (and his friendly puppet Eddie who kept the kids smiling and entertained). David prompted the children and parents alike to think about how they interact within an urban space and how different spheres of public and private life shape the way people live. Even some of the younger kids answered questions like how the purpose of a home differed from a space of business or public space. David focused on the important values of parks, play, and public space within a community. The kids were encouraged to use their cameras to take pictures of inspiring architecture and spaces throughout the walk.
The tour started behind one of Toronto’s oldest landmarks, the Flatiron building in Berczy Park and continued through Brookfield Place displaying some of Santiago Calatrava’s brilliant architecture. David prompted the kids to question what the soaring arches made them think of: some popular responses included a train station, a bridge, palm trees, and a cave. The tour continued past The Hockey Hall of Fame, through Toronto’s PATH (the world’s largest underground path system – a full 28 kilometres!) to the Fairmont Royal York and concluded at Roy Thompson Hall.
Perhaps the most memorable moment was at Toronto Dominion Centre Plaza where the children exuberantly ran towards Canadian artist Joe Fafard’s cow sculptures. The seven life-sized bronze cows lazing in a grass square next to Mies van der Rohe’s minimalist towers are referred to “The Pasture”. The kids really took a liking to the sculptures – riding, sliding, and jumping all over them.
We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came out Saturday and participated in the Junior Jane’s Walk, helping to make the event a big success! Our work is just beginning with our Junior Walk, and we will be working closely with Jane’s Walk over the course of the year to not only improve next year’s walk, but to expand the concept of bringing urban design right into our schools.
Stay tuned !