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Must-see queer tours during this weekend’s Jane’s Walk

Toronto queer youth newcomer group SOY Express leads one of 343 walks in Canada

With the daily grind of work and fixed routines, it’s so easy to shut off from our neighbours.

Enter Jane’s Walk. In its fourth year, the annual series of walking tours offers a chance to reconnect with community and learn more about the places we live and work. This year’s event takes place Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2.

If the idea of a “walking tour” sounds boring, think again.

This year’s Toronto line-up includes a sexy tour of “Places to Bonk on Your Lunch Hour.” It’s one of the few walking tours that requires registration — unfortunately, it’s already booked solid. Most walks are open — just show up!

The concept seems to be catching on: this year, 343 walks will be held across 29 Canadian cities. The event started in Toronto in 2007 and has spread internationally to a handful of countries including the United States, Germany, India and Spain.

The event celebrates the legacy of the great urban activist Jane Jacobs. “For Jane Jacobs, the best way to get to know the city and the neighbours was on foot,” says Jane Farrow, executive director of Jane’s Walk. “Jacobs encouraged everyone to just get out and look around, to walk the sidewalks and talk about what they thought needed to happen to make their neighbourhood better.”

Some walks focus on architecture, while others focus on culture and social issues. Some look back in time (check out the queer history tour of Toronto’s Yonge St), others are anchored in the present, and some look to the future (what will Parliament Hill look like in 2032? There’s a walk for that!).

We caught up with two members of Toronto’s Supporting Our Youth Express, a youth group for queer immigrants and refugees. On May 2, SOY Express will lead a walk of Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, and members will share their stories about the area. Watch our video for a sample of what they have to share:


Church and Wellesley: Through the Eyes of Queer Newcomer Youth.
Sunday, May 2, 3pm.
Meet at the AIDS Memorial at Cawthra Square, 519 Church St

More Toronto queer walks – click the titles for more info:

“Degenerates On Parade!”: Queer culture and public space.
Saturday, May 1, 9:30am.
Meet at Yonge and Dundas Square, at the east end of square, near Victoria St.

Church and Wellesley Village – Leading Change Together.
Sunday, May 2, 1pm.
Meet at the statue of Alexander Wood at the NW corner of Church and Alexander St.

Montreal queer walk:

Discover Montreal’s Gay Village (French).
Sunday, May 2, 2pm.
Meet at Amherst and Ste-Catherine E (in the park)

Check out for a full list of walks across Canada and the world.