About Jane

Lawyer, nature writer and environmental advocate M. Jane Fairburn is deeply connected to the landscapes, history, people and stories of Canada’s Great Lakes region.

A close, intense, and unanticipated encounter with Lake Ontario cemented this relationship and set her on a journey of discovery — a journey that continues to this day.

More than twenty years ago, Jane slipped on the ice near the top of the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto, Ontario 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 devoted years to learning about the history, the landscape, the geography, and the people of the Toronto shore. Her book Along the Shore: Rediscovering Toronto’s Waterfront Heritage 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.

Her own earliest memories include playing on the waterfront farm of her great-grandfather, lawyer, author, and parliamentarian William Henry Moore, whose property Moorlands, near the mouth of the Rouge River, is now known as the Petticoat Creek Conservation Area. Her current project, entitled Moorlands: An Ancestral Memoir of Loss and Belonging, is inspired by the loss of Moorlands, and examines the cultural, historical, and spiritual connections between people and landscape. Jane divides her time between Toronto; Port Medway, Nova Scotia; and frequently, Ireland.