Masami Teramachi (right) presents her map to Burnside-Gorge Community Association (Courtesy of Masami Teramachi)

Spring is the perfect time to take a stroll and take in all the sights and sounds of a beautiful neighbourhood.

A local Victoria artist has completed her latest walking tour map and this one highlights all the things worth seeing in the Burnside-Gorge community.

Masami Teramachi is originally from a small Japanese Village called Gifu and in 2020, she came to Victoria to study at UVic. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself getting out of the house and taking walks around different neighbourhoods trying to find unique features and mapping them out in her head as she went. 

“I was still a student and everything was online,” Teramachi told Victoria Buzz. “I was a little bit depressed so I would go for walks to see if any local businesses were open.”

“I started talking to the cashiers and saying, ‘thank you so much for opening your store,’ and we’d talk. I started to realize we have so much beauty, even if it’s just the tiny store or the street art or the tiny libraries.”

“If you pay attention to it you’ll feel joy and find value in everything around you.”

Teramachi had similarly found joy in walking the streets of her home in Japan and mapping the sights she found beauty in before moving to Canada. 

She then would put pen to paper and create a physical map of the community and began her endeavour, ‘Walking with Masami’.

Prior to creating her latest neighburhood walking tour map, she had done a map of the Northpark/Fernwood/Oaklands areas and created a special map for a community event, Jane’s Walk — an annual walking tour done by locals.

On her Walking with Masami Instagram account, Teramachi posts pictures of the unique features she finds on her walks and locals she meets along the way. 

After seeing her work online, the Burnside-Gorge Community Association approached Teramachi and invited her to come to a community mapping event in September, 2022. Here, she listened to community members and learned about what they valued about their neighbourhood.

Following this meeting, Teramachi hand-drew the map highlighting what the community wanted to showcase through her art. Some such places include little libraries, historic sites, old trees and the famed Galloping Goose. 

People wanting to go on Teramachi’s walking tour can pick up a map from the Burnside-Gorge Community Centre, or they can message her on Instagram for a PDF version.

Teramachi’s goal in this endeavor is to help people find the beauty in their areas and notice things they may have walked by 100 times without being able to fully appreciate it.

She doesn’t know what community she is going to do next but so far she is leaning towards a Vic West-Esquimalt map or a James Bay map.

“I’m excited to explore more neighbourhoods and take some time for investigation, talking to people and do a map,” Teramachi said. “That’s what I like to do.”