Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jack Layton State Funeral and Procession in Toronto

After lying in state at Ottawa's Parliament Hill, Jack Layton came home to Toronto. The NDP leader and Canada's federal Official Opposition party remained in City Hall until Saturday, August 27, 2011 when his body was carried in a funeral procession that moved along Queen St, University Ave, King and Simcoe Streets until it reached Roy Thomson Hall for the State Funeral. His hearse heads south on University Avenue in the photo at top, while Olivia Chow walks alone as she leads the immediate family right behind the hearse.
Well wishers and those paying respects to Jack Layton and family filled the route, both on the sidewalk and on the roadway with thousands of bicycles. There was a band playing at Queen and University Streets and when they finished each song the bikers joined with a symphony of bicycle bells ringing out in solidarity. The recommended mode of transportation was human powered and the recommended colour was NDP orange.
The procession started with a contingent of motorcycle police followed by pipers, drummers and mounted police.
The hearse made it's way along the streets flanked by Toronto Police and followed by Jack's wife MP Olivia Chow and family. As the official procession passed, the police kept a separation between the public mourners and Jack and his family. The bicyclists created a huge two wheeled honour guard that followed him down to Roy Thomson Hall.
At Roy Thomson Hall there were lineups that wound around the round, glass building and people gathered across the street and in Metro Hall's Pecaut Square where a large screen was set up for people to witness the funeral. Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae joined other politicians who attended the event and swat teams roamed the parking lots checking out parked cars. I understand that Olivia fought to increase the amount of seats at the funeral for the general public, which was great especially with the enormous support that was shown by the citizens of Toronto.

Public gathers on the left, invited guests along the right.
Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae at Roy Thomson Hall

In City Hall the tributes and chalk memorials continue to fill all the available and accessible concrete surfaces. Toronto has really embraced Jack and are saddened by the recent turn events where it seemed he was getting over an initial bout of cancer only to fall victim to another fight with cancer.

See more photos after the jump.
Looking towards Queens Park on University Avenue.
The flag flies at half mast on the Canada Life building.
The hearse and it's honour guards.
The massive show of support lines the streets and fills the intersection at Queen and University.
Even the pedestrian walkway on Queen St W has Jack's name on it.

Stilt walkers join the procession.
There were quite a few people sporting Jack's famous mustache.

I find Rebel Rock-it from the Toronto Roller Derby, dressed in orange, waiting for the screens to show the upcoming funeral to the people in Metro Hall's Pecaut Square (below).

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