A joyous opening for Jack Layton Way in Toronto
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It’s the Jack Layton Way.
The new street name and, in turn, a saying were unveiled Sunday. The former federal NDP leader and city councillor’s namesake road encompasses the Don Jail Roadway and a new street through the Bridgepoint Health redevelopment, which will include the historic jail.
“It’s very fitting that we have a menacing jail . . . and have it transformed to a place where there’s healing, where there’s hope, where there’s lots of love,” said Layton’s widow, MP Olivia Chow. “That is so much the Jack Layton way.”
Before the unveiling, she addressed a large crowd, dotted with buttons displaying terms including “arts” and “transit” before “. . . it’s the Jack Layton Way” on the bottom, in the image of a street sign.
Speakers remembered Layton, who died from cancer in 2011, spending countless hours in the east-end community working on projects including East Chinatown’s ornate gateway and the old Riverdale Hospital.
Although Layton didn’t live there, he would ride his bike or take the streetcar, Chow said.
“When we come together, we have a power to make the difference,” she said. “That is also the Jack Layton way.”
Other NDP MPs and MPPs were in the crowd, as well as Layton’s children Sarah Layton and councillor Mike Layton.
After unveiling the first sign, the group had its ceremonial first walk down on the street, before Chinese lion dancers unveiled a second sign at Broadview Ave.
The first stretch of Jack Layton Way, beginning at St. Matthew’s Rd. and outside a new Bridgepoint building, is brand new.
Councillor Paula Fletcher, who put forward the renaming motion to city council, said the part that was previously Don Jail Roadway will be redone before the end of the year when nearby construction finishes.
The redevelopment and road, which will connect the area to a park and health care, are expected to be “a jewel in the neighbourhood to really improve the area for business and residents,” said Sandro Marcuzzi of PCL Constructors.
In total, he said Jack Layton Way is about 150 metres.