Remembering Jack a year later
KJ Mullins-Toronto: A year ago Jack Layton passed away. His death brought many in Canada together as we mourned the man loved by so many. Tonight Canadians gathered throughout Canada to remember the man and his vision.
In Toronto hundreds gathered at Nathan Phillips Square to mark the anniversary of Jack’s death. Joining with others to honour Layton’s life and remember stories of the man that gave his all to Canada.
His family, children Mike and Sarah and wife Olivia Chow spoke about Jack during the hour long program. Olivia thanked those who were gathering together for their kindness this year as the family struggled to deal with Jack’s passing.
The stage was shared by performances by Lorraine Segato, Jason Collett, Ron Sexsmith, Raffi, Richard Underhill, Eric Peterson and a special chalk drawing of Jack by Chalkmaster Dave.
It’s fitting that the family gathered in Toronto. The city was Jack and Olivia’s home. City Hall was where Jack started his political career, showing a leadership that would take him far. His compassion for every citizen in Canada and his drive to right wrongs and improve rights are just part of his legacy. His humour, love of music, love of life and love for his beautiful wife Olivia though are what we remember most. We remember that he thought he could help make Canada a better home for us all and set out to do just that.
But perhaps his legacy is that he was known as Jack, not Mr. Layton, not Leader of the NDP, just Jack. He was one of us. He inspired us to be more. His smile and wisdom live on past his death.
In his last days he composed a letter for the nation urging us to follow his dream for a better Canada and to love. He planned his own funeral and the final song to be played. That song ended the celebration once again tonight. Rise Up…just like Jack’s dream for all of us.