How Walking Around Your City Can Lead to Something Great

By some estimates (including the CBC), there were 100 people on the walk we took on Tuesday night, in the rain, throughout downtown Windsor.

The attendance alone was inspiring, but what really made the experience so incredible for me was the energy that everyone brought. When we stopped and took a moment to briefly talk about the potential of the Downtown Transit terminal, or the Canderel Building’s huge space, or the properties for lease on Ouellette, the old bingo hall, the House, the city’s storefronts on Pelissier, we got excited together. Things started to feel remotely possible.

It’s that sense of possibility that’s so important right now for our city.

At today’s Artscape Placemaking Workshop at the AGW, we heard some really amazing stories about the work at Artscape has done, the work of Bert and crew at AS220 in Providence, things that started as truly small ideas and have since become cultural movements. It’s all possible, we just need to find the time to walk around a bit more often together.

Then, we need to start getting into some space. And, we should be in a space next to one another, or at least down the block from one another, so we can see one another more often, and we can go for walks and imagine more new things. And then, one day, we’ll look back and say, “remember that walk we took with 90-something other people on that really cold and rainy night…”

Sound good?

P.S. If anyone has any photos or video from the walk, I’d love to see them!

OPENED/UP: a Walk on November 30th

OPENED UP: A walk through lost, forgotten, vacant, and underused spaces.

For an hour and a half after work on Tuesday, November 30, we’ll be walking around downtown Windsor and getting access to a variety of closed / vacant / underused spaces. Justin Langlois will be guiding it with Tom Lucier and we’re hoping to have a lot of ambitious and excited people out with us. City-owned buildings, privately held storefronts, and cavernous bingo halls are all a part of our route, and you’re invited to join us in imagining a different downtown for our city — one with ample, affordable, and exciting spaces for artists, performers, musicians, and other creative-minded folks. We want to start a real conversation about what it would take to get these spaces filled with people who need them. We want to help give people a reason to be excited about being a practicing artist in this city again. We know that finding space needs to be at the top of that list, and we want to help.

This walk has been organized as part of the Artscape Creative Placemaking workshop being held on December 1st. Artscape, if you’re not already familiar with their work, has brought together and led numerous partners and stakeholders to realize massive studio and live/work retrofits of a variety of underused spaces in Toronto and figured out ways to make spaces for artists not only affordable, but integral to the surrounding neighbourhoods and economies. This walk has been something on our to-do list for a while and Artscape’s workshop just gave us the perfect excuse to do it.

Meet us at Phog Lounge at 5pm sharp. We’ll wind our way through the downtown core and head back to Phog for some food, drinks, and lots of conversation. We really want you to be there, let us know if you have any questions.