Yesterday was my tenth year of leading a Jane’s Walk, one of my favourite citizen-led Toronto initiatives. Each year, I lead a walk to proudly show off my local neighbourhood park: Cedarvale. Since there are no restrictions on time and meeting place, I choose a time that best suits my schedule. Usually that means early morning meeting times, and something involving strength work included in the walk.
This year, I made my walk even more challenging. It had a 6:30 a.m. start time, 21 km distance, and a starting point that’s not very close to transit. Plus, there was a threat of rain and snow! I didn’t think anyone would show up, but I got emails showing interest, and when I got to the start point in the morning, there was a seasoned marathoner who was eager to walk the entire route. We met her friend, another athlete, and the three of us had one of the most enjoyable walks I’ve had doing this 21 km route, on what turned out to be a beautiful morning.
Both these women were over seventy, and truly inspiring people. I learned a lot about them, and discovered new ways of looking at the route. I often feel alone with this fitness goal, mostly my own doing because of the times I schedule my walks. After 15 months of long distance walking, I have finally found my people!
Jane’s Walks give us the chance to explore other people’s perspective on Toronto. By doing this, we both give and get the opportunity to connect with other citizens with similar interests, as unusual as some may be! Thank you Jane’s Walk for creating this annual event; it has been a life changing experience.

At the end of the last trail, four hours later! (there were seven trails and 4 ravines and parks on the route)