Toronto lawyer Jane Fairburn has for many years lived at or near the north shore of Lake Ontario. She is deeply connected to the ecology, history, and landscape of the Toronto waterfront.
A close, intense, and unanticipated encounter with the Lake cemented this relationship and set her on a journey of discovery — a journey that continues to this day.
Some fourteen years ago, Jane slipped on the ice near the top of the Scarborough Bluffs and hurtled down a slope aptly known as Killer Hill. Stranded on the hillside some two hundred and fifty feet above the water’s edge, she had a rare opportunity to contemplate the Lake that she loved so much. During those seemingly endless hours before she was rescued, it was as if she was seeing the Lake for the first time. What was this place? How did it come about? How did any of us come to be here, including all those who have lived here before?
Restored to the comforts of everyday life, she couldn’t shake the questions that were first raised that day near the edge of the Bluff. A journey of discovery had begun. Jane has devoted years to learning about the history, the landscape, the geography, and the people of the Toronto shore. Her book Along the Shore is the result.
Born in Toronto, Jane graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours B.A. in Political Science. She studied law at the University of Windsor and was called to the Bar in 1990. Thereafter she practised in the field of criminal litigation, both for the defence and as Crown Counsel, and then graduated to the area of legal policy. During those years she sat on a Federal-Provincial Task Force, and acted as a story consultant for a federally sponsored video about the renewal of the youth justice system in Canada.
In 2005, Jane received a Toronto Arts Council grant for the research that has gone into Along the Shore. Her interest in the history, geography, landscape, and people of the Toronto shore derives not only from living near the Lake for decades, but also from the fact that her antecedents in Ontario go back to the first generations of Anglo and Irish Canadian settlement. Her own earliest memories include playing on the former estate of her great-grandfather, the lawyer, author, and economist William Henry Moore, whose property Moorlands, near the mouth of the Rouge River, is now known as the Petticoat Creek Conservation Area. Jane currently lives in the Scarborough Bluffs with her husband and three children.