Nearly 100 people braved the storm clouds on August 24th to attend a vigil for Jack Layton at the Ontario New Democratic Party headquarters on Murray Street.

Many were dressed in the appropriate orange and white colours of the party, while one woman even wore orange Crocs in a tearful sendoff to the former leader of the official opposition.

Marc Laferriere, the Brant candidate for the NDP in the past federal election, and Ontario candidate for Brant Brian Van Tilborg, led the proceedings, with both men needing frequent pauses to hold back their strong feelings for a man that was revered by many.

Laferriere recalled being a young journalist attempting to grill Layton with “tough questions”.

“He (Layton) spent more time talking to the student journalists than anybody from the CBC because they needed longer to form their questions…that’s the type of guy he was.”

Appropriately, there was a toast to the man who had recently brought the NDP party back to national prominence. In the end, the vigil was as somber as going to a family funeral, as Layton had a way to make everybody feel like a member of his extended family.

Oh, and the drink that was fittingly toasted: orange juice.