Jack Layton 1950-2011

No blog featuring stories about Toronto would be complete without mentioning the passing of long-time local politician Jack Layton on Monday, and the impressive effort made by the residents of the city to show him an honourable goodbye this week-end.

Mr Layton died of cancer at the age of 61, after more than 3 decades of public service, most of which involved local Toronto politics, but changed to the Federal realm in 2003, when he became leader of the Federal New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP). It was only 3 months ago that he was at the top of the world, having achieved an unprecedented win for his party, when they were elected as the largest official opposition in Canada in 31 years and the first formed by New Democrats. At this point in time he also believed he was a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed and treated for the disease last year. Then less than a month ago, he took the podium to announce to Canada that cancer had returned.

I never met Jack Layton myself, nor have I ever voted for his party. I cannot claim his death as a personal loss, as have the thousands of people who have waited in very long line-ups to walk past his casket or to attend his public state funeral today. But I did respect the man who worked so diligently to make this city and country a more equal and fare place to live. I watched the funeral on television and couldn’t help crying for him and his painfully bereaved family. It is such a sad thing for him to have died at a relatively young age, so soon after achieving a taste of something he had worked his whole adult life for.

In tribute to Jack Layton, the city lit the CN Tower orange on Saturday night, which was the colour representing his party. I took a walk with my camera to see if I could capture this. It was dark and I didn’t have my tripod, so couldn’t get a focused shot but such is life with low-light photography. And while walking a route I’ve taken a hundred times before, I noticed other orange things along the way that had previously gone unnoticed.

Note that metal ring thing. This is a bike locking post, one of the 16,000 that are installed throughout the city. They are not all orange though .. only a few on this short street I passed. It’s pretty appropriate I came upon them, as Jack’s method of transportation around the city has always been on bicycle. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had something to do with the installation of these stands.

Tribute to Jack on NDP Website
Post and Ring Bike Locks