Headstone for Jack Layton unveiled
Published Tuesday, August 21, 2012 5:14PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:45PM EDT
A day before the one-year anniversary of Jack Layton’s death, the late NDP leader’s headstone was unveiled in a Toronto ceremony.
The headstone features a bust of Layton perched atop a piece of Laurentian pink granite, which was imported from his birthplace of Quebec.
Family friend Joe Cressy told CTV Toronto that Layton wanted to be buried in the Necropolis Cemetery, a historic cemetery just east of downtown.
“It’s a special place for Jack, it’s a special place for the city of Toronto and Jack had asked to be buried here,” family friend Joe Cressy told CTV Toronto.
The bust was sculpted over six months by Layton’s widow, Olivia Chow, who is also an artist.
Chow also planted a garden around the stone, using some of Layton’s mothers’ favourite flowers.
The stone itself is meant to represent Layton’s connection to Quebec and it features some of Layton’s quotes, written in English, French and Chinese.
In all, it’s a fitting tribute to the leader, said WLC Monuments spokesperson James Des Roches.
“We just wanted to be able to present Jack in a dignified fashion,” Des Roches said. “A way that, as you can see, it’s not too high. It’s something where people can look at him, instead of him looking down at you. He’s a man of the people.”
Cressy said he hopes the space will become a place where people can gather.
“In the future, we hope that this is a place where Canadians can come together and remember Jack and his call for love, hope and optimism,” he said.
Layton’s ashes will be interned in the cemetery during a private ceremony for Layton’s friends and family on Wednesday.
There will also be a public memorial held for Layton in Nathan Phillips Square on Wednesday evening, beginning at 6 p.m.
The evening will feature performances by well-known artists including Raffi, Jason Collett, Ron Sexsmith and Loraine Segato.
Chow and Jack Layton’s son, Toronto Coun. Mike Layton, will also speak.
With files from CTV Toronto's Natalie Johnson