Star-studded event to mark what would have been Jack Layton’s 71st birthday

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TORONTO — Family and friends of former federal NDP leader Jack Layton will host a virtual event next month to mark what would have been his 71st birthday.

The event will involve a concert on Aug. 22 with appearances by Steven Page, William Prince, Donovan Woods, Raffi, Rupi Kaur, David Suzuki, Sarah Harmer and Tim Baker.

It is part of the Layton Legacy project, which aims to bring people together and support social justice and reconciliation activism while celebrating the late politician’s message of love, hope and optimism.

The project was launched in June with an announcement revealing that applications had opened for a new academic scholarship and two new awards to be given out in Layton’s name.

Layton led the NDP to its best showing ever in the 2011 federal election, sweeping Quebec to vault the party from its perennial third- or fourth-place finish into official Opposition status.

Just a little over three months after that historic electoral breakthrough, Layton, who had previously battled prostate cancer, died after being diagnosed with a new cancer.