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Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion speaks to the media after chairing her last meeting on Sept. 10, 2014.

MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has endorsed John Tory.

The popular outgoing Mississauga mayor's endorsement comes just three days before Toronto residents are set to go to the polls, and after the frontrunner has already received endorsements from a wide range of public figures, including politicians at all three levels.

"If the Toronto residents elect John Tory, I know he will make every effort to provide the leadership that is lacking at the present time by the mayor of Toronto in providing that co-operation [in the Greater Toronto Area]," Ms. McCallion said in an interview with the National Post and in a statement provided by the Tory campaign.

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Ms. McCallion famously went on a fishing trip with Mayor Rob Ford last year, where the 93-year-old was nearly pulled into the water by a giant fish. Mr. Ford was photographed stepping in and holding back Ms. McCallion before she went overboard.

Though Ms. McCallion initially had a friendly relationship with the Fords, she has distanced herself in recent years.

Recently, Ms. McCallion – who has been mayor for 36 years – lent her support to Mississauga mayoral candidate Bonnie Crombie. That endorsement was credited in part with pushing Ms. Crombie from trailing in the race to leading by 25 percentage points in a recent Forum Research poll.

Ms. McCallion has also been a key ally to Premier Kathleen Wynne – endorsing her in her run for the Ontario Liberal leadership, and again when she ran in the general provincial election.

"It is an honour to have the support of Mayor McCallion," said a statement from Mr. Tory. "She is a legend. She has served the people of Mississauga for decades and led the city through a period of tremendous growth and prosperity."

Doug Ford said Friday:  "Hazel's a nice person but …again she was the mayor of Mississauga not Toronto.  I went out many times with Hazel, she's a very nice person  and I wish her all the best in her retirement."

With a file from Sherrill Sutherland

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