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Hundreds rally in Toronto to remember Jack Layton

Posted by Staff / August 22, 2011

Jack layton torontoAt a quiet corner outside City Hall, hundreds of Torontonians gathered Monday afternoon in an impromptu memorial rally for Jack Layton. Hand-made signs and flags conveyed messages of hope and grief as the crowd stood quietly to honour the man who gave so much to their country and to their city.

"Jack came from a powerful political family in Canada, and he used that advantage to listen to and give voice to so many who were not powerful," Councillor Pam McConnell told the crowd. "He truly had respect for everyone, and it's clear today that he had friends everywhere."

Jack, Layton, MemorialToronto Councillor Janet Davis and MPP Peter Tabuns took turns tearfully reading excerpts from Layton's final letter to Canadians dated August 20th. "My friends," Layton wrote, "Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we'll change the world."

Jack, Layton, MemorialA moment of silence followed the reading as the crowd exchanged stories about the late politician. "Jack Layton moved all of us, and we'll miss him a lot," Tabuns told me.

Jack, Layton, MemorialThe impromptu memorial was organized this morning through Twitter and Facebook by five young members of the Ontario NDP. "We were sitting around crying, and we figured we were not the only ones," said event organizer Loveleen. "We knew there would be a memorial in Ottawa, but we wanted to do something in Toronto, one of Jack's greatest battlefields."

Jack, Layton, Memorial Before becoming the Official Leader of the Opposition, Layton spent 18 years serving on Toronto's City Council and Metro Council.

Jack, Layton, Memorial"Jack Layton was more than just a politician - he was a giant," said Shamini Selvaratnam, who co-planned the memorial. "I first met him as a student at York, and he was the most real person you could ever hope for in a leader. So we're here because we loved Jack, and we needed an outlet for our grief."

Jack, Layton, MemorialHundreds lined up to sign a condolence board and book as the walls of Nathan Phillips Square were adorned with chalk messages commemorating the late Leader of the Opposition. In a true tribute to Jack's vision, there was no orange, red, or blue. There was red, and there was white, and for one brief moment, united Canadians gathered for an event they hoped they'd never attend.

Jack, Layton, MemorialJack, Layton, MemorialJack, Layton, MemorialJack, Layton, MemorialJack, Layton, MemorialJack, Layton, MemorialJack, Layton, MemorialWriting by Riva Gold. Photos by Tom Ryaboi.



david / August 22, 2011 at 08:45 pm
wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! , so much love for a deserving , considerate man...........................
Andrew / August 22, 2011 at 09:00 pm
RIP Jack Layton.
Nice Ham / August 22, 2011 at 09:14 pm
Just beautiful.
tony / August 22, 2011 at 09:35 pm
Jack was great did not matter if u agee or disagee
with his vieu/politics-you just loved jack....he was a man for the people...We will miss you
bob / August 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm
I hope they rename a park, square, or even the city hall rotunda to commemorate his life.
Matthew Fabb / August 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm
I could only make it over there by 7 pm and there was still quite a number of people coming and going, covering more of the ramp with messages and when running out of room, leaving messages on the floor by the ramp. It was an incredibly moving scene for one of our great politicians who died before his time. RIP. :-(
AmberWaving / August 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm
It was both somber and warm, very supportive and full of love. I got there just before 4 (I'm actually in that first shot, which is weirding me out) and it was just a throng of people all very much inspired by Jack. His letter was read aloud, there was a moment of silence, and people mingled, strangers hugging and chatting. By the time I'd hit the condolences book it was past 6pm and it was still very active outside, especially the growing messages of chalk.

Jack was an amazing politician, but more than that, an incredible Canadian. He will be dearly missed.
Brenda @healingsinger / August 22, 2011 at 10:43 pm
I've only cried over a Canadian politician twice.

1. When Jack changed the face of Canadian politics in the last election, I had tears of JOY for the change he brought about.

2. Today - and I'm still tearing up as I watch the CBC tribute to Jack Layton.

My hope is that all that he did - and his loss - will INSPIRE Canada to continue toward positive change, and that those of us who want a better Canada will not give up HOPE, but rather use this as fuel for our passion about massive transformation for our country.

Don't forget, he needed us to step up to the plate too and vote, to create the legacy he did. So let the inspiration continue and let's make sure his vision of a better nation is carried forward and realized.

Blessings and my prayers to the Layton family,
Brenda, Medicine Song Woman
Peter Rajah / August 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm
Jack. Has an immigrant. I saw you as a true Canadian born politician with so much convictions and love for the country and it's people. Rest now brother Layton you fought the good fight you never lost in my books.You left us with pride and joy to live in a proud and wonderful country. You will live on as a true Canadian
Lenz / August 23, 2011 at 12:28 am
A great memorial for a great man.
polly / August 23, 2011 at 01:58 am
I was at the memorial today and it was truly moving. RIP Jack Layton - you make me very proud to be a Canadian, and I hope that we as a nation can honour your memory.
Alice / August 23, 2011 at 02:22 am
What's amazing about all of this is that I usually cringe when looking at comments of newsworthy stories, just waiting for negativity. But there has been nothing but love for Jack, nothing but admiration. He truly was an excellent man and he will be sorely missed.
wavedeva / August 23, 2011 at 02:26 am
I'm crying--and I'm American. Very sorry for your loss.
Ruben Espinoza / August 23, 2011 at 09:19 am
Men like Jack Layton give me hope for the future and pride in being Canadian.

Rest in Peace Jack.
John C. Day / August 23, 2011 at 02:23 pm
Our smiling Jack has fallen,
with his loss we awaken to a new Canada.
Could this be our beginning?
Another path now calls to us.
We set fourth today with heightened awareness,
with a defined understanding of what is just,
of what could be.
We can build a Canada of inclusion,
accepting no one shall be lost, no one left in need.
We can embrace his vision and create the world...
our Bon Jack so passionately fought for.
In this moment, we stand together as a nation,
challenged to change.
We must search within ourselves,
what shall be our answer?
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