Take a walk around the Heights

Walking tour introduces residents to local history

The Heights Neighbourhood Association is hosting "Jane's Walk," a free interactive stroll for local residents interested in community history.

The walk is on Saturday, May 5, starting at St. Helen's School, and then proceeding to four other school sites: Gilmore, Rosser, Confederation Park, and the empty lot at Willingdon Avenue and Parker Street, which used to be Burnaby Heights Junior Secondary before it was converted to a resource centre.

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The association recruited local resident David Pereira to lead the walk. Pereira, a recent urban studies graduate from SFU, plans on weaving in interesting bits of history, while encouraging walkers to share their memories.

For example, Pereira said there never used to be crosswalks in the Heights until the late '80s. He'll also talk about the history of the schools and neighbourhoods.

"It's to get people sort of reminiscing on bygones," he said.

The walk is named after Jane Jacobs, the late activist with an interest in city planning and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs believed in walkable neighbourhoods and that local residents knew best how to improve their own communities.

Jane's Walks were started by a group in Toronto, and people have spread the concept around the world, holding Jane's Walks in their own cities, as far as Tel Aviv, Berlin and Sao Paulo.

Margaret Manifold, chair of the neighbourhood association, said this May 5 event is the first Jane's Walk for Burnaby.

"The idea is to get people out walking in their neighbourhoods, getting to know their neighbours, and to promote walking over things like the car," she said. "I think it's just going to be a nice communitybuilding event, some more neighbourhood connections made, and we also hope it will get more people interested in the Heights Neighbourhood Association itself."

The walk is geared towards Heights residents, but anyone can to attend, she added.

The walk starts at 9: 30 a.m., from St. Helen's School at 3894 Triumph St., and wraps up around 11 a.m.

Light refreshments will be served at the end of the walk.

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