New Ferry Terminal and Park

International designers are competing to do a much-needed facelift of The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park along the lake. Waterfront Toronto has chosen five finalists, whose preliminary designs will be on public display at City Hall’s Rotunda from Monday, March 16 to Friday the 20th.

The exhibit opens at noon on the first day with general viewing, followed by a presentation of the five designs from 6pm to 8pm. Comments from the public are welcome. A group of residents have already met with the designers to give necessary information and requests to suit the neighbourhood. The Ferry Dock is a crowded and rather bleak place that serves a million customers going to the islands each year. The adjacent Harbour Square Park is basically undeveloped and needs to be more attractive and practical for visitors and residents alike.

This project is part of the transformation of Toronto’s Waterfront, which is getting attention around the world for its size, complexity and fine execution by Waterfront Toronto. It is the subject of lectures at Harvard University and other prominent institutions. When Queens Quay opens this June as a beautiful pedestrian promenade, it is hoped that Toronto’s citizens and mandarins also will recognize the Waterfront as unique and worth protecting.

Jack Layton Statue Unveiled

Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford help unveil a bronze sculpture of Jack Layton. (Screen capture from YouTube)
Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford help unveil a bronze sculpture of Jack Layton. (Screen capture from YouTube)

More than a thousand people met on August 22 at the foot of Bay Street for the naming of the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and the unveiling of a great sculpture of Jack on a tandem bike. It was donated through fundraising by the OFL on behalf of the working people of Ontario and is valued at approximately $350,000. The artist is the well-known David Pellettier of Toronto. It depicts the late Jack Layton, who was an avid cyclist and Toronto MP, 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.”

Olivia Chow, our MP for the Waterfront and Jack’s partner through their long private and political life together, said:

“Jack loved the city of Toronto, Toronto Islands, and most of all, the people of Toronto. 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.” She was met with great applause.

Councillor Pam McConnell praised her former colleague and introduced the many speakers and musicians as well as the Layton’s extended family. Emotions ran high, as many in the large crowd remembered this very popular MP and his generous nature. Mayor Rob Ford spoke of his first year as city councillor. He and Jack sat side by side in Council, and although they had different political views, Jack was always kind and ready to help him with advice.

Take a stroll to the ferries and hop on the bike with Jack! This will probably become the most photographed work of art in Toronto.