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From wrestling hotspots and historic tombstones to grand old Victorian mansions and tiny modern homes — tie up your shoelaces to discover these and other urban treasures on this weekend’s Windsor-Essex Jane’s Walk Festival.

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The May 6-8 festival honors urban champion and activist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), whose grassroots, community-based approach to city building inspired the visionary freeway planners and suburban sprawl developers of the time, but whose common-sense approach to what makes urban living great is now widely embraced.

Jane’s Walks are slow-paced, citizen-led adventures of discovery, often highlighting hidden or unknown local city gems and focusing on the best (and sometimes worst) of the past and shining a spotlight on future potential. This year’s festival includes almost 20 events running from Friday to Sunday in Windsor and urban Amherstburg.

The festival is free and the walks are open to everyone, with tickets Available on Eventbrite and with a Facebook event page to help participants organize. There’s also a couple of virtual events for those who can’t walk, as well as a Saturday noon cycling tour of Windsor’s emerging “tiny home” community.

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Frazier Fathers leads a Jane's Walk through the Marlborough neighborhood of West Windsor on Friday, May 6, 2022. His dog Izzy appears more interested in walking over talking.
Frazier Fathers leads a Jane’s Walk through the Marlborough neighborhood of West Windsor on Friday, May 6, 2022. His dog Izzy appears more interested in walking over talking. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Some of the walks look at the underground railroad and other local Black history, including a Saturday visit to the downtown’s Tower of Freedom Monument (11 am) and a guided tour of Windsor Grove Cemetery (1 pm), final resting place of some prominent early Black Windsorites.

Amherstburg has a walking tour of prominent citizens of the town’s past (Saturday 2 pm), and a stroll down Rankin Avenue, “Amherstburg’s Victorian Street” (Sunday 2 pm).

In Windsor, the festival began Friday with a noon-hour “walk through Windsor wrestling history” with author and musician Jamie Greer, and an afternoon walk along the waterfront showcasing Detroit’s skyline. There’s a night-time “trash to treasure” visit explaining Malden Park’s genesis (Saturday 7 pm).

Neighborhoods and alleys, past, present and future are all part of the Jane’s Walk presentations and discussions.

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With dog Izzy on the leash, Frazier Fathers leads a Jane's Walk through their Marlborough neighborhood of West Windsor on Friday.  Many urban topics in many other spots in Windsor and Amherstburg will be explored over the weekend during this year's Jane's Walk Festival.
With dog Izzy on the leash, Frazier Fathers leads a Jane’s Walk through their Marlborough neighborhood of West Windsor on Friday. Many urban topics in many other spots in Windsor and Amherstburg will be explored over the weekend during this year’s Jane’s Walk Festival. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star



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