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August 22, 2013
Jack Layton sculpture unveiled at Toronto's Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
Today, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43 Scarborough East), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee, and Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale) joined members of Jack Layton's family including Olivia Chow (MP, Trinity-Spadina) and Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), as well as Sid Ryan, President Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), other labour union leaders and members of the public to unveil a bronze sculpture of Jack Layton. The sculpture is called Jack's got your back. Stronger Together: The Layton Memorial.

"Jack Layton made significant contributions to Toronto during his long career as a public servant. This dedication is Toronto's way of saying thank you to Jack," said Mayor Rob Ford. "Jack shared a special bond with the Toronto Islands, that's why I was pleased to introduce a motion at City Council to have the Island Ferry Terminal renamed in his honour."

Donated through fundraising by the OFL on behalf of the working people of Ontario, the life-size monument, valued at approximately $350,000, was created by well-known Toronto artist David Pellettier. It depicts Jack Layton, who was an avid cyclist, riding on the back seat of a tandem bicycle. The front seat welcomes visitors to sit and have their photo taken "with Jack at their back."

"We are pleased to see this area enhanced by the infusion of art," said Councillor Ainslie. "This sculpture and message work together to create a positive greeting to all enjoying our City's waterfront parks and Islands."

The event also officially recognized the renaming of the Toronto Island Ferry Terminal to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. The terminal, a key hub on the waterfront, had more than one million ferry riders last year.

The unveiling took place on the second anniversary of Jack Layton's death. Mr. Layton was the leader of the Official Federal Opposition and the New Democratic Party, former Toronto City Councillor, and past-president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

"Jack loved the city of Toronto, Toronto Islands, and most of all, the people of Toronto," said Chow. "How fitting that this sculpture will serve as a reminder to the people of Toronto and visitors to the waterfront that Jack always had their back."

"This sculpture and the naming of the Ferry Terminal are wonderful celebrations of Jack Layton's life and his work as a city builder and agent of change," said Councillor McConnell. "This remaking of the terminal and the sculpture of Jack are transforming this space into a magical gateway to his beloved Toronto Islands."

"This monument was born out of the initiative of labour unions from across Ontario, but it was made possible because hundreds of working people came together to make generous donations - big and small,” said Ryan. “Today, labour unions are honouring Jack’s dedication to working Canadians by memorializing his legacy of love, hope and optimism and reminding visitors that Jack always had their back.”

A number of changes are underway at the terminal to improve the public's experience at this Toronto Island gateway. This sculpture is not the only new art there. The City, along with partners, engaged local children to express themselves through art by drawing their "favourite things" at Toronto Island and along the waterfront. Drawings were selected to produce banners that were recently installed along the terminal path. There is also a mosaic mural and a temporary public art project beside the ferry boat waiting area.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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