Walking & Fieldnotes

Since 2007, the Dept has undertaken ground-breaking academic studies of walking environments in collaboration with University of Toronto's Professor Paul Hess. In academic work and community consultation, we have adapted and fine-tuned the immersive walk experience into a tool for gathering public feedback. Our WalkShops and Fieldnote programs draw people in to listen, share and learn about their cities and neighbourhoods and each other.


Notably, Jane was the first Executive Director of Jane’s Walk, and  guided it through its local inception to an international phenomenon. 

[examples of fieldnotes and ethnography with Mia's work]


The Centre for
Active Transportation 
2009 Champion


“Jane Farrow, the founding Executive Director of Jane‘s Walk, received TCAT’s inaugural Active Transportation Champion award in 2009. Jane‘s Walk’s mission is to develop urban literacy and a community-based approach to city building by encouraging citizen-led walking tours that make space for every person to observe, reflect, share, question and collectively reimagine the places in which they live, work and play. [...] Jane was also the co-author, with Dr. Paul Hess, of several suburban walking studies, the first of its kind in North America, which involved community-led examinations of walking conditions in eight Toronto high-rise neighbourhoods.”

“In five years, Farrow took Jane’s Walk from a slightly eccentric idea – ‘let’s do free walks in honour of Jane Jacobs!’ – to an international phenomenon with walks taking place in 75 cities. She made sure the walks didn’t just stay some cozy downtown pastime. Instead, she extended them to all parts of the city and all kinds of people, making the walks a means of expression for suburbs, for youth, for immigrants, for queer culture – creating a dialogue between all of the elements of Toronto’s cultural kaleidoscope.”


WalkShops were used to help Artscape explore processes of neighbourhood change in Toronto's West Queen West. In 2018, the Dept of Words &...

Artscape – Creative Placemaking Symposium

The local community and stakeholders were engaged through workshops, WalkShops and an open house to explore the redevelopment of 5 hectar...

Grand Avenue Park Master Plan

Public walks have drawn people to learn about their city, neighbourhoods and neighbours. Jane has hosted many public walks associated wit...

Walking Tours

This inclusive and accessible community walking event was born and grew legs under the direction of Jane Farrow. As the first Executive D...

Jane’s Walk

Jane led WalkShops and chaired the naming committee for this public space under the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. The Bentway is a uniq...

The Bentway

WalkShops with Mall staff, local residents and stakeholders helped guide a new design for the Yorkdale Mall. In 2017, the Dept designed a...

Yorkdale WalkShop

WalkShops helped Westbank engage the community on design, priorities and heritage for the Honest Ed's site. Jane co-designed and facilita...

Mirvish Village – Westbank

North America's first study of the walkability of inner-suburban high rise neighbourhoods with co-written by Jane and a project of the De...

Inner-Suburban Walkability Studies

WalkShops have featured prominently in the Dept's work to draw people together and discuss ideas. The Dept regularly uses participatory w...


The Dept devised and led an ethnographic research approach to explore the perspective of children and families with children in vertical ...

Growing UP – CondoHack

In collaboration with UofT's Professor Paul Hess, the Dept investigated how people navigate transit and their local walking environments....

Walk Portraits & LRT Connectivity

Dept of Words & Deeds

18 Allen Avenue

Toronto, ON  M4M 2T4