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The Jane Jacobs Prize


The Jane Jacobs Prize is an annual prize that celebrates individuals who contribute to the fabric of Toronto life in unique ways that exemplify the ideas of Jane Jacobs, the American-Canadian author and urban activist. The prize recipients reflect the diverse aspects of city life. They may not always agree on what makes Toronto work or how it can be made better. But their observations and backgrounds have become part of our urban experience and enrich our lives.

The prize was announced in 1997 at the end of a five-day international celebration called Jane Jacobs: Ideas That Matter. Hundreds of the world’s most prominent thinkers and community leaders attended the Toronto event to exchange ideas and celebrate Jacob’s work in the areas of cities, economies and values. Ideas That Matter founder Alan Broadbent said the prize would build on the spirit of the gathering.

At the end of the event, Ideas that Matter chairman Alan Broadbent announced that the Jane Jacobs Prize would be created to build on the spirit of the gathering.

Selection Criteria

Potential recipients of the Jane Jacobs Prize are identified through an extensive, diverse network of spotters who anonymously nominate candidates. Each candidate must:

  • Live and work in Toronto
  • Be active in the community in some exemplary way
  • Be an unsung hero
  • Be making a contribution that inspires others

A committee comprised of Ideas that Matter advisory members make the final selection.

Prize Summary

Each recipient of The Jane Jacobs Prize receives $3,000 each year for three years. The recipient is able to spend the money in any way they choose. In addition, they are invited to meet together to discuss their experiences and knowledge of what makes this city work.

In 2014, Spacing magazine took over the administration of the award.

For information on Jane Jacobs Prize Recipients

Ideas That Matter 77 Bloor St. W. Suite 1600 Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1M2 416-944-1101 Email