MP Olivia Chow and Councillor Paula Fletcher (right) celebrate the opening of a street named after Jack Layton on Sunday afternoon.
Credits: MARYAM SHAH/QMI AGENCY
With parts of the old Don Jail building incorporated into the new Bridgepoint hospital, MP Olivia Chow, widow of late NDP Leader Jack Layton, said that naming the street after the politician is a fitting memorial to a man who spent "thousands of hours" advocating for improvements in the neighbourhood.
Located just east of the Don Valley Parkway, the curving street runs between Gerrard St. E. and Broadview Ave.
Chow added that to see a "menacing" jail turned into a place for community healing is the best way to remember Layton, who represented the area as MP for the Toronto-Danforth riding.
"It's a place where we can come together and hopefully it's not just about Jack Layton, it's about a place where we can come together and celebrate the support of the community because really, building a strong community is what Jack Layton was about," she said.
Seeing his father's name on a street sign felt "very special," Councillor Mike Layton said.
"This neighbourhood meant a lot to him and to our whole family and I think, in some way, he meant a lot to the neighbourhood having represented it for so long," he said.
Supporters cheered and held "Re-elect Jack Layton" campaign signs at the event.
Riverdale resident Laura Fast said the neighbourhood benefited from Layton's leadership, adding his achievements included preserving green space and helping people access benefits.
"He always gave you his full attention and he had that effect on so many thousands of people across the country," Fast said.
Plans call for patients to be moved into the hospital in April.