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City Hall open for business while Layton lies in repose

Mr. Layton's family pays their respects as he lies in state on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Ryan Remiorz/CP/Ryan Remiorz/CP

It will be business as usual – after a fashion – at Toronto city hall on Friday, even though the building's distinctive rotunda is where the coffin of Jack Layton will lie in repose.

Members of the public will be able to pay their respects to the NDP leader on Friday and Saturday morning. The flag-draped casket will be placed behind the large white column that rises up from the centre of the main-floor lobby – the support for the building's trademark "clam shell" that houses the council chamber.

The main-floor area, which rises two storeys and is surrounded by balconies, also is home to several city service counters, including the sign bylaw unit and the kiosk for parks and recreation permits. The viewing area at the back of the rotunda where the coffin will be placed will be separated by blue drapes from the counter where Toronto residents settle their taxes.

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A spokeswoman for the city said all regular services will be available Friday, but advised that given the crowds expected to file through the building, it may not be the best day to do business at city hall.

Limited seating is available for the public at the state funeral Saturday at Roy Thomson Hall. People can obtain a bracelet by lining up on King Street West outside Roy Thomson Hall beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday that can be exchanged for an assigned seat ticket at the same lineup area at noon. Bracelets will be handed out to approximately the first 600 people in line.

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Toronto City Hall bureau chief


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