New honours for Dr. Roberta Bondar from her hometown
It was an emotional day for Canada’s first female astronaut , Dr. Roberta Bondar, as she was back in her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, where she was given two special honours by the city.
The road leading from the airport into the city is now re-named “Roberta Bondar Parkway,” and she was also given the ceremonial “key to the city.”
"Every award I get is special on its own for sure. To be given these two things at the same time is like a double whammy". said Bondar, who shed a tear while watching old footage of her return to the Sault after her historic flight.
“How can I possibly keep my emotions under control. It is such an honour and a privilege to be from this community and come back to this community." she said.
Mayor Christian Provenzano says the city shares that sentiment. He says he’s not sure why Dr. Bondar has not been given the key to the city long before this, but said he was happy to be the one to present it to her.
"She is a Canadian icon. She is a living Canadian icon. And she's ours, she's from Sault Ste. Marie. She's proud to be from Sault Ste. Marie, we're proud she's from the Sault.” said Provenzano.
Canada’s first female astronaut also said the area around the airport has a special place in her heart, as she earned her pilot’s wings at the airport, and it’s where her parents helped her discover her passion.
"It was a place my parents brought me to see The Golden Hawks. We came here for all my flying lessons out this way.” said Bondar.
She says she counts herself as very privileged to be honoured by her hometown.
“It's great that I have this support from the city and I don't even have to don skates.” she laughed. “It’s great. It's just, it's very, very touching."
Dr. Bondar is in the Soo all weekend to take part in Canada 150 celebrations, and she’ll be at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion for part of Canada Day festivities on Saturday.