Hazel McCallion, Mississauga’s longest-serving mayor has died just short of her 102nd birthday. The family had asked Premier Doug Ford to make the announcement. His statement reads:
“At the request of the family, I announce with a heavy heart, the passing of my dear friend and mentor, Hazel McCallion. Hazel passed away peacefully at her home in Mississauga early this morning at the incredible age of 101.
Hazel was the true definition of a public servant. She dedicated her long life to her community, including 36 years as mayor of Mississauga – the longest serving mayor in the city’s history. She led the transformation of Mississauga into one of Canada’s largest cities. Hazel’s mark on her community can be found in the many places and organizations that bear her name, including the Hazel McCallion (LRT) Line.
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. As I entered the world of politics, I was fortunate enough to learn from her wisdom and guidance, which she selflessly offered until the very end.
Hazel will be missed dearly by the people that she so faithfully served. I know we will all miss the wit and tenacity of the one and only Hurricane Hazel.
On behalf of all Ontarians, I want to extend my condolences to Hazel’s family, especially her children Peter, Linda and Paul. Thank you for sharing your mother with us for so many years.
Her city, and our province, are better places because of the amazing life of Hazel McCallion. Rest easy, my friend.”
When Hazel McCallion first entered municipal politics in 1967 there was no Mississauga. Instead, the southern part of Peel County as it was then known, was dotted with small towns—Port Credit, Cooksville, Dixie, and Streetsville. She started out as deputy reeve of Streetsville, becoming mayor in 1970. When the City of Mississauga was formed out of Port Credit, Cooksville and Streetsville, McCallion, who had campaigned against the amalgamation, became a councillor and was elected Mayor of Mississauga in 1978. Not long afterwards, McCallion rose to national prominence for her no-nonsense handling of the evacuation of the city after a derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals. Prior to her political career, McCallion had a 20-plus year career with Canadian Kellogg—a construction and engineering firm. When she and her husband Sam married, they settled on a property in Streetsville, gifted by Sam’s parents. In Streetsville the couple published a community newspaper, the Streetsville Booster, and Hazel became head of the Streetsville Chamber of Commerce. All this before Hazel embarked on what would be almost 50 years in municipal politics.
Hazel McCallion, (nee Journeaux) was born in Gaspe of French Hugenot stock. After graduating from Quebec High School, she attended business secretarial school in Quebec City and Montreal. She has stated, especially while receiving honorary degrees from the University of Toronto and the former Ryerson University, that she would have wanted to attend university, but her family could not afford it. McCallion played for a professional women’s hockey team while attending school in Montreal, earning $5 a game. The team was sponsored by Kik Cola and was part of a three-team women’s league.
At the 1987 World Women’s Hockey Tournament (not recognized by the IIHF), the championship trophy was named the Hazel McCallion World Cup. At one time, McCallion was a board member of the Ontario Women’s Hockey League, and was instrumental in the construction of the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
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