“Act like a lady, think like a man, and work like a dog.”
That’s the motto of 93 year old Mississauga Mayor, Hazel McCallion. She is legendary for her leadership, feisty personality, and boundless energy. Hazel McCallion began her rise to power when politics was very much a man’s game, winning as Deputy Reeve in Streetsville in 1967. She ran for Mayor of Mississauga in 1978 and has never looked back. After 36 years, Hazel recently retired as the Mayor of Canada’s 6th largest city. She is notorious for getting things done! Her handling of the train derailment and toxic spill in Mississauga, which forced the largest peacetime evacuation in human history, became known as the 1979 Mississauga Miracle. Just one of Hazel’s many triumphs.
In Hazel, we will find what makes this woman tick. Born in Journeaux, Quebec, she was the youngest in a family of five. Though she longed to attend university, the family could not afford it. By 1942, she was working for the Canadian Kellogg Company. During the war years, Hazel played professional women’s hockey, earning $5 a game. Her passion for the sport continued and Hazel has been a strong supporter of Women’s Hockey in Canada persuading the Olympic Committee to include the sport in the Winter Olympics back in the 1990’s.
Why look at the life of this amazing woman? Because we need heroes! Hazel exudes a vitality and energy that defies her age. She has been both a role model for young people and door-opener for young women throughout her career. To this day, with a spirit of humility that chooses to connect to all in her community, Hazel does her own housework and gardening, she drives her car to work, always keeping her skates in the trunk in case she gets a chance to go for a skate. Hazel’s strength is drawn from her deep Christian roots. A member of Trinity Anglican Church in Streetsville, Hazel has raised millions for various charities including Hazel’s Hope – an outreach to those with AIDS in Tanzania.