Jane’s Walk in Glebe South – trees you need to see

For the Jane’s Walk on Trees You Need to See, meet at the old burr oak on the corner of Wilton Crescent and Oakland Avenue on Sunday, May 5 at 10:30 a.m. PHOTOS: JENNIFER HUMPHRIES

By Jennifer Humphries

Come for a walk in Glebe South on Sunday, May 5, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. to talk about trees in a lovely part of our neighbourhood. Learn about our local “urban forest.” Celebrate our neighbourhood in a supremely natural way. And recognize Jane Jacobs whose vision of cities as organic and citizen-designed has been a major influence on urban planning since the 1960s.

“Jane’s Walk in Glebe South: Trees You Need to See” is hosted by the Glebe Community Association Environment Committee. Our guide is Owen Clarkin, an expert in tree identification and chair of conservation for the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club.

Glebe resident Leigh Thorpe is the founder and organizer of Jane’s Walk Ottawa-Gatineau that last year supported 60 walks involving 3,000 participants.

“I got involved with Jane’s Walk in 2008 following its start in Toronto and Greenwich Village in New York City,” Thorpe told me. “The Jane’s Walk experience is aimed at defining neighbourhood identity. It can help people decide what it is that they like about their community, what makes it special and what they don’t like, so they’re prepared to initiate and support good changes and engage if there are developments that threaten the community in unwanted ways.”

Defining neighbourhood identity doesn’t mean everyone thinks the same way on everything, in Thorpe’s view. Rather it’s about people getting in touch with diversity and the “elements” of the community, such as trees, and talking with each other and being able to compromise as needed.

Thorpe reinforces that Jane’s Walks are about conversation, not lecture. Our tree expert and guide Owen Clarkin will offer his vast knowledge and looks forward to hearing from participants as well. You can expect lots of time for questions and observations. Bring your personal knowledge of area trees to share.

“We’ve done a walk-through,” Clarkin said, “and discovered rare species like pitch pine and rock elm, natural growth, a mix of native and non-native, young and century-old trees. The Glebe has some unique features like Brown’s Inlet where we can observe natural growth and species that are relatively rare in Ottawa.”

The Jane’s Walk on trees in the Glebe will follow a one-kilometre route that is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.

Our Jane’s Walk route begins at the corner of Wilton Crescent and Oakland, under the canopy of a massive burr oak that stands literally on the sidewalk. From there we will follow a hidden gem of a path where natural growth has taken hold and look across Brown’s Inlet to see an historic American elm. Then we’ll head to Ralph, Broadway, Craig and Holmwood, ending at Woodlawn and Monk. The walk is 1 km and stroller/wheelchair accessible.


  • What you will find out:
  • What do we mean by historic trees and heritage trees? And what’s just a nice old tree?
  • What’s native to the Ottawa area, and what’s non-native? And when is a non-native tree considered invasive?
  • Which trees are of historic importance to our region?
  • What’s a canopy tree and what’s an ornamental tree?
  • Who’s planting trees in our neighbourhood? Where and what does the City of Ottawa plant? What about planting your own tree?

Join this free, family-friendly stroll to explore the beauties and mysteries of local conifers and deciduous trees. What better way to celebrate spring and the legacy of living city advocate Jane Jacobs?

Jennifer Humphries is co-chair of the Environment Committee of the Glebe Community Association and a member of the city’s working group for the Urban Forest Management Plan. You can reach her at environment@glebeca.ca. For info on Jane’s Walks, see: http://www.janeswalkottawa.ca

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