Friends? Jack Layton had a few
Life for hundreds came to a standstill Tuesday afternoon in sunny Nathan Phillips Square as passers-by stopped at the perimeter of a growing sea of chalk graffiti messages written in honour of Jack Layton, the former NDP leader who died Monday.

A bucket bore a sign “Chalk 4 Jack,” and people added their own messages: “Jack Layton was the reason I started voting,” and “Live by Jack’s example. Don’t agonize — organize.”

The graffiti has spread up the ramp to City Hall’s green roof (Layton would have approved) and now fills perhaps 100 of the square’s two by two-metre concrete paving tiles. Only the journalists walk on the chalk; at 1:30 p.m. about 100 people stood, some eating hot dogs or drinking Pepsi, some on bikes, many with cameras, one with a parasol against the hot sun, reading the hundreds of sendoff notes. Others took up the orange, blue, yellow and green chalk and added their own wishes. (About 50 people were lined up inside City Hall to sign a condolence book, but the graffiti seemed to fit more with the public and effervescent nature of the late leader).

(Photo: Tyler Anderson/National Post)