Street naming planned as tribute to Jack Layton

The road leading to one of the city’s most historic and scary buildings could soon bear the name of a politician revered by many.

City council is scheduled to vote on a proposal to rename part of the Don Jail Roadway, and a street extending easterly from St. Matthews Road to Broadview Avenue, after Jack Layton.

Layton’s widow and NDP MP, Olivia Chow, says she is thankful the city is considering naming the street after her late husband.

“I’m extremely happy to see this creation of Jack Layton Way,” she says.

The street, located in Layton’s former Toronto-Danforth riding, is part of the Bridgepoint Hospital redevelopment, a project close to Layton’s heart, which will include a new hospital and a hospice for sick children.

“[He] was very involved with Bridgepoint development to ensure that seniors and people that have some need to be supported would get the service they needed,” Chow says.

When the medical centre, then known as Riverdale Hospital, was slated for closure in 1997, Layton helped lead the charge to keep it open says Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher. She adds he was also an advocate for the redevelopment of the facility, where people with chronic illnesses are treated, to accommodate modern standards of patient care.

“[He was an] ardent supporter of Bridgepoint Health,” Fletcher says.

Bridgepoint Health CEO Marian Walsh says her organization likes the idea of a street on its campus named after the former NDP leader.

“Bridgepoint is honoured that Jack Layton is being recognized with an honourific in his name in our community,” she wrote in an email to Town Crier. “As a councillor, he was very engaged in supporting Bridgepoint and its connection with the local community.”

While the naming still needs council approval to go ahead, Fletcher says she doesn’t expect any opposition to the idea.

“It shows how well regarded Jack Layton is,” she says.