Jane’s Walks – St. John’s Edition 2018

A Jane’s Walk is a series of free neighbourhood walking tours that get people out on the streets to discover unseen, under celebrated and unique stories about their city.

The free walking tours are held on the first weekend of May each year all around the world, and are led by locals who want to create a space for residents to talk about what matters to them in the places they live and work. The walks will take place all around the world, including in St. John’s, on  May 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2018.

Want to lead a walk? Just drop us a line at admin@happycity.ca and we’ll sort it out and get the info posted here!

All we need is a description of your walk, some info on the level of difficulty, a meeting place, a duration, and a time, and we’ll promote it all over the place. Don’t know that stuff? Get in touch and we’ll help you figure it out. 
By discussing what makes a city great, and what makes it tick, walk guides and participants are empowered to be better citizens, better stewards, and better neighbours.

Jane’s Walks are as varied as the people taking part, and they usually last about 90 minutes. We ask each walk guide to offer their perspective along the route, and to encourage the public to weigh in. Through the simple act of walking and talking, Jane’s Walks create ways for people to connect, share, and develop ideas about where their communities and cities are at and where they are headed.

Find scheduled walks on our map or see below for this year’s lineup. We also have a Facebook Event for all the walks at https://www.facebook.com/events/542933109408624/


Friday, May 4th:

5:30 PM: Jane’s Crawl

Meeting Point:  Georgestown Pub

Kicking off the Jane’s Walk weekend and celebrate Jane Jacobs’ birthday after work. Friday, May 4 is the Georgestown to George Street Crawl. Touring several pubs, their history and their role in their neighbourhoods will be noted.
Starting at the Georgetown Pub at 5:30, ending at Yellow Belly. Must be of legal drinking age and it’s pay as you go! (although you don’t have to indulge in anything other than history).


Saturday, May 5th

10:30 AM: Georgestown

Meeting Point:  Parking lot across from Hungry Heart Cafe

Join members of the Georgestown Neighbourhood Association for a tour that will highlight both the history and present-day character and activity of one of St. John’s most distinct neighbourhoods.

On this wander through the streets and pathways of Georgestown  we will  be tracing the settlement and growth of one of St. John’s earliest suburbs.  We will be sharing the history of the neighbourhood as a whole and of a few individual houses. (And if you live in Georgestown, we will want you to share what you know!)

Level of difficulty: Easy – mostly level slope

Approx time: 90 Minutes

Approx distance: About 2 KM -it’s really a wander!


1 PM: Changing Times and Land Uses: Mundy Pond to Victoria Park and the Waterford River

Meeting Point:      H.R. Mews Centre, Mundy Pond Road

Lead by Arvo McMillan, Northeast Avalon ACAP.

Using a route established by the Grand Concourse, follow the hidden Mullin’s Brook from Mundy Pond to Victoria Park and the Waterford River.

During the walk discuss changes in the use of land and water, the daylighting of hidden streams and proposals for upgrading Victoria Park.

This walk is scheduled so that walkers can proceed right into the 3 PM Waterford River – Riverhead Estuary walk.

Level of difficulty: Relatively easy.

Approx time: Up to 90 minutes

Approx distance: 2.5km one way – return transportation can be arranged.


Sunday, May 6th


8:30 AM: Jane’s Run

Meeting Point: Aquarena

Join long-time runners (and amateur running historians) Art Meaney, Joe Ryan and Noel Roy in an 8 kilometer run through downtown St. John’s. The run will visit several locations of historical note to Newfoundland running – the finish line to many Tely-10’s and Newfoundland Marathons, plus a National Marathon Championship and a Commonwealth Games Marathon Trial. We’ll visit the location of the first marathon run in Newfoundland (and second in all of what is now Canada), held in 1909 and featuring two Boston Marathon champions.

Meet at the Aquarena complex, site of the Canada Games Track (first regulation asphalt track in Newfoundland) at 8:30 am. Expect the run to take about ninety minutes, and feature frequent interruptions with interesting stories. We’ll be stopping for breakfast afterward.


1. Canada Games Track – I am sure all of us will have something to say (and even to brag about).
2. (1.7 km) St. George’s Field (top of Parade St) – finish for early Tely’s and other races (15K from Long Pond?) – Joe
3. (1.93 km) St. Bon’s – Fowler went to school there – also site of MacDonald – Lorden marathon – Noel
4. (2.65 km) – Daily News Building (255-59 Duckworth – no longer standing) – finish to 1st Nfld marathon (oldest continuing marathon in Canada) – Art
5. (3.82 km) – Canon Wood Hall – site of many Tely finishes – Joe
6. (4.02 km) – Princess Rink (Factory Lane) – site of Fowler – Maynard match – Noel
7. (4.86 km) – King George V pitch – site of Track Tely 10’s, finish to several NL marathon champs, and 1973 Commonwealth Marathon trial (Jerome Drayton) – Art
8. (8 km) – return to CGP (optional)


10:30 AM – Churchill Park: perhaps North America’s first modern suburb

Meeting Point:   In front of the Churchill Square Terrace in the Square.

Join Robert Sweeny for a walk through Churchill Park.

Conceived and built in the 1940s,  Churchill Park is one of the very earliest suburbs in North America specifically designed for cars. Unlike much better known, but later, developments such as Levittown on Long Island or Toronto’s Don Mills, Churchill Park was a public initiative financed by the Commission of Government. Our tour will visit two of the core areas of this pioneering project and the emphasis will be on why and how what started as a public housing initiative became such an iconic middle-class suburb. From land acquisition to infrastructure this project broke new ground. Key elements of the initial design permitted many of the myriad ways buildings have been adapted over time illustrating how heritage and use intertwine. The intimate relations created between home, school, church and shops in an exceptionally short period speaks to how different this suburb’s incarnation of the future was from those that now encircle St John’s. The tour will conclude with a brief examination of the contrasting, adjacent streetscapes where cooperative housing built with sweat equity predominated.

Level of difficulty: Easy – mostly level slope

Approx time: 90 minutes


12:30 PM – Pedestrian Paths

Meeting Point:     Georgestown Cafe and Bookshelf

Join architects Grant Genova and Jessica Stanford as they trace the pedestrian pathways of old St. John’s.

Level of difficulty: Mostly downhill, some stairs.

Approx time: 90 Minutes


3 PM: Vacant City St. John’s

Meeting Point:     Corner of LeMarchant and Pleasant Street (Old Grace Hospital site)

Join past Happy City chair Josh Smee for a tour of St. John’s most eligible vacant spaces, with a healthy dose of visioning along the way. The walk will end at 4:15 on Water St West, allowing walkers to connect with the Waterfor River – Riverhead Estuary Walk happening at 4:30.

Level of difficulty: Moderate – mostly downhill, but some distance to cover!

Approx time: 90 Minutes

Approx distance: 2.5 KM


NEW DATE/TIME: 4:30 PM: Waterford River-Riverhead Estuary

Meeting Point:  St. John’s Convention Centre (Water Street entrance)

Join Nicholas White of the Grand Concourse Authority for a tour along Water Street West and the Waterford River T’Railway, highlighting the history of this major terminus and changes in the form and character of Downtown’s western fringe.

Level of difficulty: Easy – mostly level slope

Approx time: 90 minutes

Approx distance: 2.5km

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