City of Mississauga

City of Mississauga

December 07, 2007 08:58 ET

Mississauga Presents Swim to Survive Program At World Leadership Awards

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2007) - The City of Mississauga and Lifesaving Society Ontario presented the Swim to Survive® Program as part of the 2007 World Leadership Awards this week in London, England.

Presented annually in London, the World Leadership Awards celebrate the very best in modern city leadership. Mississauga was short-listed among 400 cities across the world that were asked to submit projects in a wide range of disciplines; the winner of the competition was Lima, Peru in the Education and Development of the Young category.

Last year, the City won the 2006 World Leadership Award in the health category for its Healthy City Stewardship Centre (HCSC) initiative.

"We were delighted to once more be able to share with the world an example of what makes our community great and in particular this wonderful program which the rest of the world can now learn from," said Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, Barbara Byers, public education director of the Lifesaving Society (Ontario), Barbara Underhill, world champion figure skater and founder of the Stephanie Gaetz Foundation, and John Lohuis, the City's director of Recreation and Parks, presented the Swim to Survive program before a panel of judges from Britain's education sector.

Swim to Survive was designed to teach children how to survive an unexpected fall into water in three lessons. "It is easy to administer, easy to teach (three lessons in three hours), and is portable," said Barbara Byers. "It can be taken to any city in the world, developed or developing, and be successful."

According to the World Leadership Forum, the purpose of the World Leadership Awards is to identify exceptional leadership in cities across the world and to use that leadership as an example and inspiration to other cities facing similar problems. Cities are judged on the following criteria:

- quality of leadership displayed

- difficulties or obstacles that the city has overcome

- degree of inspiration that the city may give to others

In its presentation, the City showcased how City staff and other community partners identified a need for all children to be comfortable in the water and learn lifesaving skills. With the support of City officials, the Lifesaving Society developed the three-step model to help prevent drowning. With initial financial support from Barb Underhill and the Stephanie Gaetz Keepsafe Foundation, and support from the City's Recreation and Parks division, a pilot program was carried out in Mississauga in 2005. The program has already been expanded across Ontario and into five other Canadian provinces.

For more detailed information about the Swim to Survive program, please visit the City's web site at

Mississauga is Canada's sixth largest city with a population of more than 700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the City is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic, diverse, and progressive municipality, known for its economic strength and for being Canada's safest city.

The Lifesaving Society - Canada's lifeguarding expert - works to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart® public education, safety management services and lifesaving sport. Annually, over half a million Canadians participate in the Society's swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard and leadership training programs. The Lifesaving Society certifies all of Canada's National Lifeguards.

The Stephanie Gaetz KEEPSAFE Foundation was founded by Barbara Underhill and Rick Gaetz in memory of their daughter Stephanie who tragically drowned in 1993. The foundation is dedicated to preventing childhood injuries, with an emphasis on water safety.

The World Leadership Forum is a not-for-profit organization which promotes leadership internationally by spotlighting the work of exceptional leaders and achievers in 15 disciplines ranging from architecture and civil engineering, culture and the arts, to health, science and technology.

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