students in drainExploring a section of the Grand Marais drain is part of the Windsor-Essex Jane’s Walk Festival, this weekend and next.

Walks to provide guided tours of region’s culture and history

A stroll through history and a hike through nature are among 30 entries in the 2023 Windsor-Essex Jane’s Walk Festival.

Running this weekend and next, the festival offers free neighbourhood walking tours led by locals who care passionately about where they live, work, and play. Exploring heritage, planning, design, and civic engagement through the simple acts of walking and observing, it draws its name and inspiration from the late urbanist Jane Jacobs.

The opening weekend, April 28 to 30, focuses on county locations, from Leamington and Point Pelee to Amherstburg, Kingsville, and Colchester.

Next week will bring several activities with UWindsor connections.

Willow Key, a master’s student of history, will host a tour of Windsor’s historic McDougall Street Corridor neighbourhood, highlighting its rich Black history and the devastating impacts of postwar urban renewal on this once vibrant community. Participants will have the opportunity to try a new digital walking tour of the corridor complete with videos, photos, and descriptions of each stop. It will leave from the parking lot outside Water World, 400 Wyandotte St. East., at 5 p.m. Friday, May 5.

On Saturday, May 6, alumna Sarah Morris (BA 2012) will lead a walk through River West, which she describes as “Windsor’s Other Other Historic Neighbourhood.” It will leave from the CBC Windsor parking lot at the corner of Riverside Drive and Crawford Avenue at 5 p.m. and discuss the region’s early French settler roots, rail economy, and historic homes.

The Healthy Headwaters Lab in the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research and the Friends of Ojibway Prairie will guide exploration of the Spring Garden Natural Area, covering such topics as identification of local tree species and the ecological impact of the Grand Marais drain. Doctoral student Shayenna Nolan, technician and artist Andrea Bresolin, and Friends president Bill Roesel will provide valuable insights into one of the Ojibway Prairie Complex’s hidden treasures, setting out at 10:15 a.m. from Seven Sisters Park, 2720 Grand Marais Rd. West. Public parking is available at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Centre, 2555 Pulford St.

See the full schedule of 30 walks on the festival website.