After 15 years at the helm of the town of Baie-D’Urfé, Maria Tutino’s stint as a mayor has come to an end on Monday.
The now-former mayor was sent off by the town’s volunteer groups with a special surprise: dozens of cars lined up outside of Tutino’s home for a drive-by.
As the emergency service cars alarms went off, it was clear there was no emergency, just the pressing need to say thank you.
“You deserve all of it, Maria. Thank you so much,” said Greg Kelley, Liberal MNA.
With gatherings banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers didn’t want the day to pass unmarked.
“Maria loves Baie-D’Urfé. She loves it, she supports and it’s been a passion for her and she should know how much it’s meant to people,” said Gillian Bennett, the co-director of Baie-D’Urfé COPS, the town’s citizen patrol.
“She just needs to know that her 15 years had value.”
Some of the organizations that took part in the caravan were started by Tutino, a part of her legacy.
“She’s definitely left an impression on the town and a big impression: just having the rescue squad started up and having the citizens on patrol, which were her ideas at the time,” said Wayne Belvedere of Sauvetage Baie-D’Urfe Rescue Squad.
Francis Scarpaleggia, Member of Parliament for the area, also attended. He says Tutino’s impact went beyond the town’s borders.
“She’s an inspiration for all elected officials and all levels of government,” Scarpaleggia said.
Upon seeing the dozens of cars drive by, Tutino was overcome with emotion.
“Look at me, I’m just bowled over. I mean, these are my friends,” Tutino said in tears.
For Tutino, the gratitude goes both ways: ” I can’t believe this, thank you,” she said over and over as the cars drove by.
“It’s really not a job, it’s a passion and I’m so pleased people have realized that this has been a passion.”
Tutino announced her resignation in October, saying she needed to tend to her family’s growing needs.
The former mayor says she will continue to volunteer with the town’s COVID-19 task force.