Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie was among the first to sign a book of condolences for the late Hazel McCallion on Monday morning, telling reporters afterwards that a part of her always felt like her longtime friend and mentor might just “live forever.”

McCallion, who served as Mississauga’s mayor for 36 years, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 101.

She was just weeks away from her 102nd birthday.

“I think she's like the Queen. I think we thought she would live forever. But I want to share with you that she will always live forever in our hearts,” Crombie told reporters. “So thank you Hazel for all that you did. You built a city that we chose to live, to work in, to invest in and to raise our children in. It is the greatest city in Canada and we are so grateful. You always put service above self and you left incredibly large shoes to fill but we've all tried to do that.”

Books of condolences for McCallion have been set up at Mississauga City Hall and 11 different community centres across the city.

On Monday morning Crombie, who succeeded McCallion as mayor in 2014, was flanked by current members of city council as she made a lengthy inscription in one of the books at Mississauga City Hall.

Afterwards, she told reporters that it was important to her to state for the record just how much McCallion meant to her and the city.

“It's so important to be documented in history. Wherever this condolence book lays, whether with her family, in the archives or with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, it is important that they know how much we loved and respected this great woman,” she said. “She built the city where we stand today. Fifty years ago this was farmland and fruit trees and we are an economic powerhouse today, largely because of her intuition that we needed to continue to attract foreign investment to Mississauga.”

Funeral details have not yet been finalized for McCallion.