TORONTO - Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton returned to his old stomping grounds today to endorse Joe Pantalone in the Toronto mayoralty race.

Layton, a former city councillor, endorsed Pantalone at a news conference outside city hall.

He said Pantalone has the experience and ideas needed to be Toronto's next mayor, and cited projects dealing with the environment.

Pantalone may need the help as a recent poll indicated he is well behind in the race.

The survey suggested Rob Ford continues to lead, with former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman in second place.