Earlier today, Hazel McCallion died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 101.
A businesswoman and politician, Ms. McCallion served as the mayor of Mississauga from 1978 until 2014. A successful candidate in twelve municipal elections, she was acclaimed twice and re-elected ten other times. One unsuccessful opponent compared running against her to “challenging somebody’s favorite grandmother.”
During her term in office, Mississauga grew from a small collection of towns and villages to one of Canada’s largest cities. Politically savvy and pragmatic, she ran government like a business. At one point in her mayoralty, ratepayers went an entire decade without seeing a property tax increase.
In 2011, geriatrician Dr. Barbara Clive assessed Madam Mayor and stated, “At 90, her gait is perfect, her speech is totally sharp, and she has the drive to still run this city. She’s the poster child for seniors.”
My favorite quotations from Mayor Hazel McCallion:
I could never toe the party line. I’d wear the carpet crossing the floor.
Think like a man, act like a lady, and work like a dog.
I am a joiner and always have been. I can tell you it works.
I’m not saying all seniors should be running a city or running a business, but I am saying seniors are good for a lot more than simply running a bath, baking cookies or babysitting grandchildren.
I say it the way it is. I don’t play around. That has been my success, in my opinion, for Mississauga.
I never had the opportunity to go to college or university myself; it wasn’t financially possible. But I really believe education is so important because the future of our Canadian economy is going to be brainpower.
I learned to do with little. And that’s why today, I only spend the taxpayers’ money like I spend my own, which is seldom. The people of Mississauga love that.
I’ve been called other things too, and some of them uncomplimentary and sexist like the “Queen of Sprawl,” “Attila the Hen,” “The Mom who runs Mississauga,” and the “Mississauga Rattler,” so it’s little wonder that my favorite nickname is Hurricane Hazel.
From Premier Doug Ford of Ontario:
“Hazel was the true definition of a public servant. There isn’t a single person who met Hazel who didn’t leave in awe of her force of personality. I count myself incredibly lucky to have called Hazel my friend over these past many years.”
Thanks Corinne! 🙂
Very neat lady. A roll model for how to be a servant. Thanks for sharing, Joanne. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Marsha 🙂