Remembering Jack Layton on August 22: Snapshots in History

August 23, 2016 | John P.

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Memorial at Toronto Necropolis

Credit: Freaktography Urban Exploration and Photography, September 10, 2012


On August 22 and beyond, take a moment to remember the late Hon. John Gilbert “Jack” Layton (Born: July 18, 1950; Died: August 22, 2011), who was Leader of the Official Opposition in Canada’s 41st Parliament, 1st Session; Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada from January 2003 to August 2011; and Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth from June 2004 to August 2011 until his death from cancer. Jack Layton was also a former Toronto city councillor and one-time Vice-President (2000) and then President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) (2001). He was a well-known advocate for AIDS research, environmental, housing and homelessness issues, and co-chair and founder of the White Ribbon Campaign on Violence against Women.

Since his election to City Council in 1982, Jack Layton served many years in a wide range of roles including Acting Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Toronto, Chair of the Toronto Board of Health, Chair of the Economic Development and Planning Committee of Metro and Member of the City Executive Committee, Chair of Metropolitan Toronto's Planning and Transportation Committee, the Advisory Committee on Homeless and Socially Isolated Persons, as well as the 3Rs Task Force. Jack Layton ran for Mayor of Toronto in 1991 but lost to June Rowlands.

Prior to being elected to the House of Commons in 2004, Jack Layton had lost elections to Parliament in the 1993 and 1997 federal elections in the Rosedale and Toronto-Danforth constituencies respectively.

On August 22, 2013, the Ontario Federation of Labour honoured Jack Layton’s memory with the gift of a bronze statue depicting Layton on a tandem bicycle that was unveiled at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal (formerly the Toronto Island Ferry Docks) where people can travel to and from the Toronto Islands.

Jack Layton was only the second federal Leader of the Opposition to die in office. The first was none other than the Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919) who had previously served as Canada’s first francophone Prime Minister. Only two Canadian Prime Ministers died in office: the Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-1891) and the Right Honourable Sir John S. D. Thompson (1844-1894).

Here is a list of items by/about Jack Layton, available for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:


Homelessness how to end the national crisis   Homelessness The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis


Speaking out louder ideas that work for Canadians

   Speaking out ideas that work for Canadians

(Also available in Talking Book format restricted to print disabled patrons).


Building the orange wave  the inside story behind the historic rise of Jack Layton and the NDP

(Also available in Talking Book format restricted to print disabled patrons).


Love, hope, optimism an informal portrait of Jack Layton by those who knew him


Jack Layton art in action




Hope is better than fear paying Jack Layton forward  


Speaking out louder ideas that work for Canadians





Feature Film