Jennifer Logan, 1982-2015

By Robert A. Murdie, Professor Emeritus, York University

I first knew Jenn as a member of her thesis supervisory committee at York University and more recently as collaborator on a variety of projects associated with research on neighbourhood change at the University of Toronto.

Jenn completed her master’s degree in Geography at York University in 2010, working with Valerie Preston and myself. Her thesis focused on the ability of Tibetan refugees to create ‘home’ in Parkdale and how ‘home’ is understood by a group of Tibetan women.

Based on the thesis research and additional material from interviews of Tibetans who participated in a study of tenants in Parkdale’s high-rise apartments funded by a Community University Research Alliance (CURA) grant (a forerunner to NCRP) we co-wrote an article in the Journal of International Migration and Integration.

  • Jennifer Logan and Robert Murdie (2014) “Home in Canada? The Settlement Experiences of Tibetans in Parkdale, Toronto,” Journal of International Migration and Integration, published online and forthcoming in print.

Jenn was a research assistant with the NCRP assisting me with the development of the now published neighbourhood typologies. Based on a joint analysis of census tract data for eight Canadian census metropolitan areas this research produced a neighbourhood typology for 2006 and a typology of neighbourhood change for 1981-2006. As background to these studies Jenn and I also developed a bibliography and review of neighbourhood typologies with a focus on Canada, the United States, and Australia/New Zealand.

  • Robert Murdie, Richard Maaranen and Jennifer Logan (2014) Canadian Metropolitan Areas: Spatial Patterns of Neighbourhood Change, 1981-2006, Cities Centre UofT & Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, Research Paper 234. 85 pages. Download PDF
  • SUMMARY report: How Neighbourhoods are Changing: A Neighbourhood Change Typology, 1981-2006.  Download PDF
  • Robert Murdie, Jennifer Logan and Richard Maaranen (2013) Eight Canadian Metropolitan Areas: Who Lived Where in 2006? Cities Centre UofT & Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, Research Paper 229. 44 pages.  Download PDF
  • SUMMARY report: Who Lived Where in 2006.  Download PDF
  • Robert Murdie and Jennifer Logan (2014) Bibliography and Review of Neighbourhood Typologies with a Focus on Canada, the United States, and Australia/New Zealand, Cities Centre UofT & Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, Research Paper 233. 58 pages.  Download PDF

While involved with the NCRP Jenn also assisted Emily Paradis in a study exploring the continuum of inadequate housing, risk of homelessness, and visible homelessness among families in Toronto’s rental buildings.

  • Emily Paradis, Ruth Marie Wilson and Jennifer Logan (2014) Nowhere Else to Go: Inadequate Housing and Risk of Homelessness Among Families in Toronto’s Aging Rental Buildings, Cities Centre UofT and Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, Research Paper 231. Download PDF

Beyond her academic achievements, Jenn was an invaluable colleague and friend. She had great people skills and an appreciation of other cultures. Jenn’s friends speak of her humanitarian activities beginning at age 18 with Katimavik, the volunteer service programme begun by Pierre Trudeau (and cancelled abruptly by the Harper government), followed by three months in Nepal tutoring women when doing her undergrad work at the University of Winnipeg. She also chaired the World University Service of Canada chapter at the University of Winnipeg. Following her master’s programme she worked with women in India.

Jenn returned from Saudi Arabia in late 2014 where she had been teaching English for a few months. Early in 2015 she went to a retreat in the Peruvian rain forest.

On this and many earlier trips she was on a spiritual journey searching out new opportunities and trying to find her self. She was not yet ready to settle down.

While in Peru, Jenn died of a “tobacco tea purge” that went horribly wrong. She was not reckless but she was adventurous, travelled extensively and engaged in a variety of spiritual retreats. In short, Jenn wanted to change the world.

Until her untimely death she maintained an interest in the settlement experiences of new immigrants, their evaluation of “home”, and the role of housing in immigrant integration. Jenn was a valued member of the Neighbourhood Change research team and contributed substantially to various publications of the project.

I last saw Jenn in December when she came to our condo for lunch and an afternoon of reflection. She was excited about going to the retreat in Peru and about the pull of the Middle East. But I think she realized the dangers that region posed so was turning her attention to a job teaching English in Japan.

Jenn’s embrace that day reminded me of the hug she received from Amma at the ashram in India as reported in her blog, “Can a Hug Change Your Life?” With her love and service, in addition to a hug, Jenn enhanced the lives of many she encountered in her travels throughout the world.


Maclean’s Magazine, “Jennifer Joy Logan, 1982-2015,” by Luc Rinaldi, 24 February 2015 

Canadian Press, “Canadian dies in Peru: Jennifer Logan of Saskatoon,” 4 February 2015