Mary Wilson loves walking.
More than that, she loves walking in New Westminster. It's noticeable in the tone of her voice; in the way she reminisces about the unique things she's seen while on her walks.
On May 4, people in New Westminster will have the chance to join Wilson on a walk around the community as part of the city's inaugural Jane's Walk. The walk begins at 10: 30 a.m. beside the fire hall at 13th Street and Edinburgh Street. For an hour and a half, Wilson will take participants on a circle route to and from the New Westminster library.
"Along the way we'll snoop through back lanes, wander past the ball park, check out playgrounds, admire public art, and traverse Moody Park (twice)," she wrote on the event's webpage.
Jane's Walk began in Toronto in 2007 as a celebration of activist Jane Jacobs, who championed community engagement in urban planning. Jacobs died in 2006 and her friends in Toronto felt the best way to keep her spirit alive was to host an annual walk that encouraged people to get out and discover their city.
When The Record reached Wilson to discuss the upcoming event, she had just returned from a day of snowshoeing.
"We needed a walking event in New Westminster. We've got the Bike to Work (Week) going on every year, and we've got that Show'n'Shine, which is for car people, but we really didn't have a walking event, so I decide it was time we had one," she said. "It's time New Westminster joined the event."
Wilson has a special walk planned for those who turn out May 4. While she won't reveal too many secrets from the walk she does promise that those who join her will come away with a different perspective of New Westminster.
"There's a couple of (people) already signed up," she said.
But Wilson said she hopes more people step forward to lead walks in New Westminster.
"They don't have to be an expert on anything. They don't have to be able to talk about history, they don't have to able to talk about any particular topic. They just have to be able to go for a walk," she said.
So far there are four walking events planned for New Westminster - Sapperton and the River Market, Queensborough and the Glenbrook Ravine.
All events are free and run by people who live in the community. Wilson said it's all about sharing a passion for walking with fellow residents.
"It's about opening people's eyes to the enjoyment factor of walking," she said. "You have to make people choose to walk, like I do."
This is the first time Wilson has organized a Jane's Walk and she admits it's going to be a bit of surprise to see how it all turns out come May 4.
"I'm not much of committee person and so I thought 'well, if I can get it off the ground this year.' I'm not going to aim too, too big," she said. "People might begin to say 'oh, well that was neat' and maybe they'll do it again next year."
For more information on the walks in New Westminster, visit http://www.janeswalk.net/index.php/walks/canada/new-westminster.