Schedule: Jack Layton's funeral


Several public events were scheduled leading up to the state funeral of NDP and Official Opposition Leader Jack Layton. Here are the details of those events and his state funeral on Saturday.

(All times Eastern.)

Lying in repose

Toronto: After two days lying in state on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Layton's casket was viewed by more than 6,000 people on Friday in the rotunda of Toronto's City Hall. The public can still pay respects and sign books of condolences on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

State funeral Saturday

Procession: A procession takes Layton's casket from Toronto City Hall to Roy Thomson Hall at approximately 1:15. The hearse is escorted by Toronto police on horseback. The procession will travel west on Queen Street West, south on University Avenue, west on King Street West and south on Simcoe Street.  The funeral commences at 2 p.m.

Public seating: There are seats reserved for the public. At 8 a.m. Saturday, bracelets were handed out to the first 600 members of the general public in line at Roy Thomson Hall. At noon, those 600 can return to the same area to receive an assigned seat ticket.

CBC live coverage Saturday

CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge hosts a live special on CBC Television, CBC News Network and streaming on, beginning at 1 p.m. ET with the procession from Toronto City Hall to Roy Thomson Hall.

Alison Smith, Michael Enright and Chris Hall lead live coverage on CBC Radio One beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Coverage will be available through CBC News' mobile site and apps, and on-demand as well at

More Layton coverage appears on our special online page.

Overflow: Four large video screens will be set up in David Pecaut Square, to the west of Roy Thomson Hall, for overflow crowds. St. Andrew's Church, directly east of Roy Thomson Hall at King and Simcoe Sts., is also offering overflow seating, with video screens of the funeral service. And CBC coverage of the funeral will be shown live in the Barbara Frum Atrium of the CBC Broadcast Centre (250 Front St. W.), with limited seating available.

Expected guests

A total of 1,700 seats in the hall are reserved for members of Layton's family (including his wife Olivia Chow, children Mike and Sarah and their partners, granddaughter Beatrice and other close relations), MPs, premiers and former NDP premiers, other politicians and invited guests. Some of the guests include:

  • Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife, Sharon
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen
  • Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae
  • Interim Bloc Québécois leader Louis Plamondon
  • Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
  • Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty
  • Former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stéphane Dion
  • Former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe
  • Former prime ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien
  • Former NDP leaders Alexa McDonough and Ed Broadbent

The service

The service begins with several musical performances. Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will perform Pifa from Handel's Messiah, jazz musician Richard Underhill will perform Van Morrison's Into the Mystic and Magnificat, composed by J.S. Bach.

The choir from Layton's church, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto will sing the processional followed by O Canada by Joy Klopp.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo will do an aboriginal blessing.

Rev. Brent Hawkes and Layton's chief of staff Anne McGrath will make welcoming remarks followed by several readings.

Martin Deschamps will sing Croire then a video tribute called "Together, we'll change the world," will be shown. 

There will be three eulogies. One will be delivered by Stephen Lewis, the former Ontario NDP leader famous for his activism on social justice issues. Layton's children, Michael and Sarah, will speak about their father together. Karl Bélanger, Layton's senior press secretary, will deliver his eulogy in French. 

Steven Page will sing Hallelujah then Rev. Hawkes will deliver the homily, followed by Lorraine Segato's performance of Rise Up.

Rev. Hawkes will say a final blessing, then Julie Michels will sing Get Together.

The final song will be Hymn to Freedom, performed by Chris Dawes.

In keeping with Layton's wishes, mourners will have a chance to write down something they will do to make the world a better place.

The funeral is scheduled to end at approximately 3 p.m.

The honourary pallbearers are:

  • Ed Broadbent, P.C., C.C., Former Leader of the federal New Democratic Party and former Member of Parliament
  • Alexa McDonough, O.C., Former Leader of the federal New Democratic Party and former Member of Parliament
  • Gary Doer, O.M., Ambassador of Canada to the USA, former Premier of Manitoba
  • Roy Romanow, P.C., O.C., Q.C., S.O.M., M.L.A., Former Premier of Saskatchewan
  • Marilyn Churley, Former Member of Provincial Parliament for Toronto-Danforth and Cabinet Minister
  • Bob Gallagher, Former Chief of Staff to the Honourable Jack Layton
  • Prof. Tim Flannery, Internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer, conservationist and activist
  • Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers
  • Dr. Winnie Ng, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University in Toronto
  • Audrey McLaughlin, P.C., O.C., Former Leader of the federal New Democratic Party and former Member of Parliament
  • Greg Selinger, M.L.A., Premier of Manitoba
  • Darrell Dexter, M.L.A., Premier of Nova Scotia
  • Joy McPhail, Former Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and Cabinet Minister
  • Prof. Charles Taylor, C.C., G.O.Q., FRSC, Professor Emeritus at McGill University and acclaimed Canadian philosopher
  • Brad Lavigne, Principal Secretary to the Leader of the Official Opposition
  • Jamey Heath, Former Research and Communications Director of the New Democratic Party

Other places to pay respects

Books of condolences can be signed at the 103 New Democrat MP offices, and most other MPs' offices across the country.

For those not able to visit Parliament Hill, City Hall or the constituency offices there are online books of condolences on the NDP's website, the Government of Canada and