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Flaherty funeral details released

OTTAWA - Jim Flaherty's state funeral is being held at Toronto's St. James cathedral on Wednesday.

Canadian Heritage is inviting Canadians to pay their respects to the former finance minister who died suddenly in his Ottawa condo last week.

Visitation will take place at the Abilities Centre at 55 Gordon Street in Whitby, Ont., on Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Flaherty's funeral will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at St. James cathedral at 65 Church Street in downtown Toronto.

Canadian Heritage says Flaherty's family appreciates all the expressions of support and condolences and asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Abilities Centre.

Flaherty died of a heart attack late last week, less than a month following his retirement after serving as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's finance minister since 2006.

He'll become the latest in a tradition of Canadian state funerals that began in 1868 with Thomas D'Arcy McGee, an Irish-born nationalist who became an MP and was assassinated on the streets of Ottawa after a late-night House of Commons debate.

Jack Layton, the late NDP leader who was opposition leader when he died in August 2011, was also given a state funeral.

It is an honour normally reserved for current and former governors general, prime ministers and sitting members of cabinet — although a state funeral may be offered to any eminent Canadian at the discretion of the prime minister.

McGee, Layton, and now Flaherty, are the only three Canadians accorded a state funeral since Confederation beyond the prescribed list, according a list provided by Canadian Heritage.

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