Jack Layton: Thoughts from Metcalfe Street at Midnight

Today, August 22, 2011, Jack Layton passed away at the age of 61. If you're Canadian, you already know this. 

A few hours after noon, I biked up to Parliament Hill, just a few blocks north of my apartment. There were already dozens of flowers, candles and a few signs sitting alongside fencing near the Centennial Flame. I'd estimate a hundred mourners stood around, and the same amount came and went over the next hour. I looked up at the Peace Tower, and the flag at half-mast stopped me. I've never been affected by a flag at half-mast before.

I pulled out my skechbook and leaned on the wall on Wellington St. I did a few quick sketches of the peace tower, and the flag. One of the sketches I left amongst the flowers. It rained shortly after and got quite windy, so I suspect it is now gone. I kept the best sketch and took it back to my studio (only after trying to make it to another job, which I quickly gave up on, due to rain, and the nature of the day). Once in the studio I wanted to work with the sketch a little more, but only slighty. The result is below.

After posting the image on Facebook and generating a lot of "likes" very quickly, I printed the image at my local shop, and eventually brought them back to Parliament Hill, when we attended the vigil around 8pm. There were hundreds, if not thousands of people there tonight. Hard to get a real sense of numbers in the dark, with people coming and going. There were hundreds of candles, flowers and notes along the fence by this point. We walked around the crowd, and eventually made our way to light candles and place prints of my illustration. I saw Paul Dewar, and gave him the only signed copy.

I've had a few people interested in re-publishing the image. As usual, with my work, you're welcome to re-publish the image, provided it's for non-commercial purposes. Title of the image is Parliament in Mourning, courtesy Patrick Alonso. Here is a higher-res download of the image, linked. Also below, an image of me lighting candles tonight, courtesy my girlfriend Amanda, as well as a photo of the print.