An estimated crowd of 300 lined up for hours behind metal barricades outside Toronto City Hall to catch a glimpse of Layton’s casket arriving back in his hometown of more than 40 years.
The crowd — which was full of grandparents, children, and families — watched as uniformed pallbearers with the Toronto Police Service carried the flag-draped casket into the front doors of City Hall, where Layton worked as a popular councillor for many years before being elected as an MP.
Friends? Jack Layton had a few Life for hundreds came to a standstill Tuesday afternoon in sunny Nathan Phillips Square as passers-by stopped at the perimeter of a growing sea of chalk graffiti messages written in honour of Jack Layton, the former NDP leader who died Monday.
A bucket bore a sign “Chalk 4 Jack,” and people added their own messages: “Jack Layton was the reason I started voting,” and “Live by Jack’s example. Don’t agonize — organize.”
The graffiti has spread up the ramp to City Hall’s green roof (Layton would have approved) and now fills perhaps 100 of the square’s two by two-metre concrete paving tiles. Only the journalists walk on the chalk; at 1:30 p.m. about 100 people stood, some eating hot dogs or drinking Pepsi, some on bikes, many with cameras, one with a parasol against the hot sun, reading the hundreds of sendoff notes. Others took up the orange, blue, yellow and green chalk and added their own wishes. (About 50 people were lined up inside City Hall to sign a condolence book, but the graffiti seemed to fit more with the public and effervescent nature of the late leader).
Chris Selley: More than anything else, Jack Layton believed in Canada ‘He gave his life to this country.” That was Libby Davies, in St. John’s, reacting to Jack Layton’s untimely, star-crossed passing early on Monday morning. You could read her statement two ways. Certainly, there is little in the final version of Mr. Layton’s CV other than public service. It was his life’s labour. But there is also the notion, hardly new this week, that by firing himself out of a cannon into the federal election campaign, fresh off prostate cancer and with a mysteriously broken hip not yet fully healed, he was putting his long-term health at risk. (Illustration by Kagan McLeod)
Kelly McParland: Jack Layton’s passing is a Canadian tragedy Jack Layton’s election night appearance, carrying his cane and enjoying the cheers that came with his achievement, was unquestionably his greatest moment as a politician. It raised so many possibilities the NDP had rarely contemplated, opening doors most thought were locked to them. And he managed it with such personal integrity and a touch of the commonplace, that much of the country referred to him simply as “Jack,” and didn’t begrudge him his moment.
It’s a tragedy that that shining accomplishment should be followed so swiftly by the cruelty of cancer and his disappearance from the scene. Canadian politics is a lot poorer for the passing of Jack Layton, as is Canada as a whole. He will be greatly missed. (Tyler Anderson/National Post)
In a statement issued this morning, his wife, Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow and his family announced his passing at 4:45 a.m. Monday morning. “He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones,” Ms. Chow and Jack’s children Sarah and Toronto city councillor Mike Layton said. (Dave Sidaway/Montreal Gazette)
Jack Layton said he is temporarily stepping down as leader of the federal NDP, saying doctors had diagnosed him with a new type of cancer.
Flanked by his wife, Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow, and party president Brian Topp, Mr. Layton, who turned 61 last week, leaned heavily on his cane as he limped to the podium at a downtown Toronto hotel looking gaunt and sounding hoarse. http://natpo.st/nDZfuJ