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June Rowlands celebrates her election victory as the first female mayor of the city of Toronto, on Nov. 12, 1991.

Hans Deryk/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The first female mayor of Toronto has died. June Rowlands was 93.

Bruce Rowlands says his mother died on Thursday night at a long-term care facility.

Rowlands was elected mayor in 1991 and served until 1994.

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Her term as mayor was the culmination of a long career in municipal politics that started when she was elected to city council in 1976.

During her time on council she served as the city's budget chief and was the first woman to head the Toronto Transit Commission and the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission.

She also made her mark fighting for affordable housing and trying to preserve the city's ravines and historical neighbourhoods.

Bruce Rowlands said his mother was a humble person who wanted to serve her community.

"She had a burning desire to make a contribution," he said in an interview.

Rowlands was also a strong advocate for women and always spoke up to help the disadvantaged, her son said.

"Even socially she advocated for the disadvantaged, in terms of the kinds of conversations she got into around the dining room table," he said.

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"There wasn't a lot of frivolous stuff generally speaking, we zeroed in on issues and that's what she liked to talk about."

Current Toronto Mayor John Tory called Rowlands a trailblazer.

"She helped build this city and blazed a trail as the first woman to serve as a TTC commissioner, budget chief, executive committee member, chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission and Mayor," Tory said in a statement.

The family plans to organize a memorial service in the New Year.

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