Jim Flaherty visitation held ahead of Wednesday's state funeral

A visitation was held for Jim Flaherty at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont. on Tuesday, a day before the state funeral for the former finance minister, who died suddenly last week of a suspected heart attack.

A visitation was held for Jim Flaherty at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont. on Tuesday, a day before the state funeral for Canada's former finance minister.

Flaherty and his wife, provincial Tory legislature member Christine Elliott, were supporters of the centre, located in his riding.

More than 4,000 people attended the visitation Tuesday, according to Heritage Canada.

The state funeral will be held on Wednesday afternoon at St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto.

Flaherty died suddenly at age 64 last Thursday of a suspected heart attack, less than a month after he resigned from cabinet.

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov. Gen. David Johnston, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau plan to attend the funeral, along with many MPs and several members of the Conservative cabinet.

CBC's Shannon Martin was at the Abilities Centre as the visitation opened just after 12 noon ET. 

"I'm seeing a lot of green — on the gentlemen in particular — green ties in honour of Jim Flaherty and his love of everything Irish," Martin reported.

Martin said the Abilities Centre is seen as a fitting venue. Flaherty and wife played a key role in getting the centre built.

"This was a place that was very special to Jim Flaherty," reported Martin. "It was an idea the two of them had a decade ago, a space for both the abled and the disabled."
MP Kelly Leitch, right, hugs Ontario MPP Christine Elliott in front of the casket of Elliott's husband, former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, during a public visitation in Whitby, Ont., on Tuesday. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

One of those who came to pay his respects to Flaherty on Tuesday was Richard Turner, who has been in a wheelchair since a serious accident a few years ago.

He visits the Abilities Centre for physical therapy, but also as a social venue. He said without the centre, his life would be very different.

Flags have been flying at half-mast on Parliament Hill and Canadians have been lining up to sign an online book of condolences.

On Wednesday, the casket will leave the W. C. Town Funeral Chapel in Whitby shortly before 2 p.m. ET. Flaherty's widow, Christine Elliott, and his triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn, will travel the route along with an RCMP and OPP escort.

The procession will travel along Dundas Street East, to Brock Street and the westboundHighway 401 to Toronto. It will then turn south down the Don Valley Parkway, along Richmond Street East, to Jarvis Street and King Street East. 

The procession is expected to arrive at the cathedral at 2:50 p.m. ET. See below for road closures in the area. 

See full map of closures here.

With files from CBC