photo: Zoe Gemelli
photo: Zoe Gemelli

“When Jane Farrow is present, good things happen. Her warmth, energy, insight and respect for people mean that she can tell it like it is, in her signature radio-honed voice, and get people off their rear ends to do good work – all while generating an atmosphere of enthusiasm and mutual support.”               

– Spacing Magazine, Dec. 2013

Jane Farrow specializes in bringing people together for constructive dialogue and creative city-building initiatives. She’s worked on multi-stakeholder planning studies and consultations at national, regional and local levels on issues as diverse as tourism and culture strategies, transit planning, park master plans, affordable housing and street food vendor regulations.

Before taking up facilitation and consulting, Jane worked as a CBC Radio One broadcaster for 10 years hosting such programs as Workology, And Sometimes Y and also creating the popular ‘Wanted Words’ segment which was the basis of two best-selling books. She has co-written two editions of the Canadian Book of Lists for Random House/Knopf, with a completely revised and updated edition slated for publication in October 2017. Jane is also a co-editor of Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer, being published by Coach House Press in May 2017.

Jane was the first executive director of Jane’s Walk, an NGO based in Toronto engaged in walkability initiatives that celebrate the ideas of urbanist Jane Jacobs. In five years she guided this event from one of great local promise in 2007 to a global phenomenon offered in over 75 cities in 15 countries around the world. While there she co-authored several walkability studies with Professor Paul Hess of the University of Toronto Department of Geography and Planning. ‘Walkability in Toronto’s High-Rise Neighbourhoods’, is the first comprehensive look at walkability in the suburban high-rise settings of North America.

As the Executive Assistant to a Toronto city councillor in 2011-12 Jane gained important experience writing briefs, reviewing policy and consulting with constituents and developers on a wide range of neighbourhood issues and planning matters. Jane has taught and lectured on subjects as diverse as urban planning, walkability, snapshot photography, queer culture and radio journalism at conferences and colleges including University of Toronto, George Brown, Ryerson University, York University and UTS School.

In 2010 Jane was awarded a Vital People grant by the Toronto Community Foundation in recognition of her work as a valued community leader and city builder. She’s a recipient of the 2014 Inspire LGBTQ Lifetime Achievement award and in 2013 Spacing Magazine included her on their 10 People We Love list in their 10th Anniversary Issue.

Jane has long been involved in community building both as a volunteer and freelancer. Between 2006 and 2008 Jane was the Chair of the resident’s group Active 18 which advocates for good design and sustainable development in the Queen West Triangle neighbourhood of downtown Toronto. Over the years she has worked with Toronto’s Inside/Out Film Festival, the 2014 World Pride Human Rights Conference, the National Association of Women and the Law, and the Advisory Board of York University’s City Centre.

Accolades:
2014 Inspire LGBTQ Lifetime Achievement Award
Toronto Community Foundation – 2010 Vital People Award in 2010