'She was the real deal': Pam McConnell celebrated and remembered
'She was a kind and compassionate person who you could work with,' says Mayor Tory
Friends, family, colleagues and dignitaries, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory, attended the celebration of life Friday for the late city councillor and deputy mayor Pam McConnell.
As the event took place at the Cathedral Church of St. James, flags at city hall, Metro Hall and the Toronto civic centres were at half-mast.
Tory said he will always remember her character and how she always wanted to help others.
"I didn't know her well when I asked her to be deputy mayor, but I knew what she was about," he said.
"I knew she was the real deal and I knew she was a kind and compassionate person who you could work with."
Tory noted her accomplishments, love for her family and how her constituents considered her a friend as well as a councillor.
Barbara Center, who campaigned for McConnell, is one of those constituents.
"I live in the Diane Frankling co-operative homes on Bleecker Street and Pam was at every one of our events and celebrations and just supported us every step of the way," she said.
Center said she will remember McConnell as "a lovely neighbour" and friend.
Former mayor Barbara Hall said she will remember McConnell as a friend, neighbour and political colleague.
"Our friendship goes back more than 30 years and I've been missing her in the deli or at the butchershop on Parliament Street," said Hall.
"She was a friend who cared about the community we shared and we often talked and schemed and strategized about how to make good change."
Before becoming mayor, Hall was the councillor for Ward 7 and was succeeded by McConnell in 1994.
Born in England, McConnell was a child under 10 when her family immigrated to Canada in 1954.
She became politically active long before being elected to a formal position, first in 1982 as a school trustee. After serving 12 years in that role, McConnell became a city councillor in 1994, serving a total of seven terms.
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Serving as deputy mayor before her death, McConnell spent the bulk of her career championing social justice issues, in particular affordable housing and access to education.
McConnell died on July 7 after falling ill with a lung condition. She was 71.
Flags on official poles at City Hall & civic centres will be flown at half-mast today to celebrate life of late Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell <a href="https://t.co/1GE969j7vu">pic.twitter.com/1GE969j7vu</a>—@TorontoComms