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NDP Leader Jack Layton takes to the stage to deliver his keynote speech to the party's 50th anniversary convention in Vancouver on June 19, 2011.


The Toronto Island Ferry Terminal will be renamed in honour of late Official Opposition leader Jack Layton.

Mayor Rob Ford will ask Toronto City Council next week to waive the usual two-year waiting period and formally rename the launching point for ferries to the Toronto Islands the "Jack Layton Ferry Terminal."

Mr. Ford, who sat next to Mr. Layton when both were local councillors, called the gesture a "fitting tribute" to the long-time Toronto politician, who died of cancer last summer.

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"Not only did [Mr. Layton]represent waterfront communities during his career as an elected representative, but he was also a great supporter of the Island Public School and helped save Island residents' homes," the mayor said in a news release Thursday.

The ferry terminal was chosen by a committee of councillors who've been working with Mr. Layton's family to find the best way to honour him in the city.

City Councillor Mike Layton said some of his earliest memories are of running around the terminal waiting for the ferry to the island. "It's the place where you are on the beginning of a great adventure," he said. As such, Mr. Layton said his family felt it would make a fitting tribute to his dad.

Councillor Pam McConnell, a friend of Mr. Layton whose ward includes the downtown waterfront, said there were lots of ideas thrown out, such as bike trails and squares, but when the ferry docks were suggested "it was an ah-ha moment."

"The ferry docks are a gathering place and they are a bridge between the busy urban life that Jack loved and the tranquilly and peacefulness of the island. It was a perfect match," she said.

Ms. McConnell said she hopes the naming will lead to the revitalization of the site, as well.

With a report from Elizabeth Church

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Kelly Grant is a health reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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