Community activist Jane Farrow announced that she has stepped down as executive director of Jane’s Walk in order to take a position as executive assistant to Ward 32 Toronto Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon.
Although Farrow resigned last week, her resignation was announced Friday morning to time it with the organization’s call for applicants to fill her position.
Farrow has been with Jane’s Walk since it began in 2007, first as a guide and then shortly after assuming the executive director role. During that time, the organization has expanded from a handful of tours offered in Toronto to more than 500 offered in 75 cities around the world this year.
The organization is named after the urbanist Jane Jacobs, and its annual walking tours are meant to encourage people to explore and learn about their neighbourhoods and neighbours.
Farrow says she’s leaving the organization in a strong and stable position.
“It was a safe time to leave it,” she says. “It’s well established around the world; there are enough commitments from a donor support base to see it through.”
She predicts it will not be difficult to find someone to take the reins of the group.
“I’ve had several people approach me and say they were thrilled at the possibility. It’s a very solid organization,” she says.
Farrow says that she wanted the opportunity to work more directly in city building and that working as a political staffer is a good fit.
“I knew I wanted to get involved formally in the political realm,” she says. “When things don’t go the way you want things to go, you can really make the change.”
She says the opportunity to work with one of the city’s non-aligned councillors is interesting to her.
“I was delighted to find myself a spot with a councilllor who’s in the mighty middle who is doing a great job standing up for things that really matter,” she says. “It’s a very exciting time down here.”
Farrow says she hopes to remain involved with Jane’s Walk and will continue to lead walks as a volunteer. She’ll be co-leading a tour on Saturday, Oct 22 with Stephanie Chambers, entitled Dirt: The Good, The Bad and The Sexy, in Riverside. Participants can join the tour at 2pm at the corner of Queen St E and Munro St. It runs for 90 minutes, ending at Jilly’s strip club.