Toronto ferry terminal to be renamed after late NDP leader

Toronto City Council will vote next week to rename Toronto’s ferry terminal after Jack Layton, the Toronto Star reports.

In a press release, Mayor Rob Ford said he would ask council to forego the usual two-year waiting period so that the terminal can change its name to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal immediately.

“Jack sat next to me in council when I was first elected, and he taught me a lot about politics,” Ford said in the release, quoted by the CBC. “Renaming the Toronto Island Ferry Terminal in memory of Jack is a fitting tribute. Not only did he represent waterfront communities during his career as an elected representative, but he was also a great supporter of the Island Public School and helped save Island residents’ homes.”

Layton died last summer of cancer, mere months after leading the federal NDP to an historic electoral result, surpassing the Liberals to became the Official Opposition in the House of Commons for the first time. Toronto became the epicentre of a nation-wide show of grief after the 61-year-old’s death. Hundreds of messages were written in chalk along the concrete square adjacent to Toronto City Hall.

The late NDP leader got his start in politics at the municipal level in Toronto in the 1980s. In 1991, he made a failed bid to become the city’s mayor, but soon returned to city council. He is remembered as a champion of the homeless, the plight of women and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Layton’s son, Mike, sits on city council and will vote on the motion. “Some of my fondest childhood memories are taking the ferry to the island and spending time with my family,” he told the CBC.