TORONTO – The memory of Jack Layton was enshrined forever Thursday morning with the unveiling of a bronze statue at the Toronto Islands ferry terminal.
The monument which is titled, “Jack’s got your back. Stronger Together: The Layton Memorial,” features a life-sized Layton sitting on the back seat of a tandem bicycle.
Thursday marks the second anniversary of the federal NDP leader’s death.
Speaking at the unveiling, Jack’s widow, MP Olivia Chow, said the tandem bike was their wedding present to each other and was symbolic of Layton’s view of life and politics.
“A tandem bike is faster than a regular bike. When you’re together, you’re stronger, you’re faster. You move forward, just like a community. Together, you support each other, just like a community,” she said but noted she usually was on the back of the bike and thus “had Jack’s back.”
Chow and Layton were married on the islands in 1988. She spoke during the unveiling about many family trips to the island and the islands’ significance to her and her family.
“You set out at this terminal to go to somewhere special. It was on this island that we shed some of Jack’s ashes.”
Councillor Mike Layton, Jack’s son, said the statue is a “great symbol” of his father’s life.
And Mayor Rob ford spoke during the unveiling saying Layton, while a city councillor along with Ford, was “very, very helpful” to him.
“He showed me the ropes and he taught me an important lesson about politics: He said, ‘Rob, never take things personally, its politics.’ I’m still trying to learn that,” Ford said. “This dedication is Toronto’s way of saying, thank you. Thank you to jack Layton for the life he lived.”
The public will be allowed to take pictures with the statue by sitting on the front seat.
The unveiling coincides with the city’s official renaming of the Toronto Island Ferry Terminal as the “Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.”
This past February, the Don Jail Roadway was renamed Jack Layton Way for the former Toronto city councillor.
Layton passed away after a battle with cancer on August 22, 2011, months after leading the NDP to an unprecedented 103 seats and forming the Official Opposition at the House of Commons in the May 2 federal election.
© Shaw Media, 2013