Hazel McCallion is a Canadian politician, businesswoman and the longest serving mayor in the history of the City of Mississauga.
Nicknamed “Hurricane Hazel,” she may deserve a stronger sobriquet, “Whirlwind woman” for all that she has done as Mayor of Mississauga.
Thirty-six years of service, victor in 12 municipal elections, acclaimed twice, re-elected ten times, McCallion must be Canada’s most dynamic politician.
Born in Gaspe, Quebec, the youngest of 5 children, McCallion attended school in Quebec City and Montreal but her family could not afford her attending university.
Her political career began when she moved to Toronto and left her previous employer, Canadian Kellogg.
She met and married Sam McCallion in 1951 and the newly weds moved to their wedding-present-gifted property in Streetsville, Ontario. Hazel and Sam had three children and Sam died of Alzheimer’s in 1997.
Hazel’s first success in politics was in becoming mayor of Streetsville in 1970. The city was amalgamated as part of the City of Mississauga and by the time McCallion became its mayor, she had served on every committee in the Peel Region and the City of Mississauga.
McCallion has led Mississauga through the crisis of the 1979 train derailment and through the dynamic growth of Mississauga as it joined many local towns and villages. As a political candidate, she refused political donations asking her supporters to donate the money to charity instead. During her final term, her twelve, she announced she would seek re-election and endorsed Bonnie Crombie to replace her as Mayor. Crombie won the next election.
McCallion credited her faith with giving her energy, and said she still does her own household chores. “Housework and gardening are great forms of exercise and keep one humble.”
On her 90th birthday in 2011, McCallion was assessed by Dr. Barbara Clive, a geriatrician, who stated that “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”.
An incredible woman of strength, endurance and longevity.