WARMINGTON: Exhibit puts spotlight on ‘Hurricane’ Hazel McCallion

Article content

There are many great historical treasures on display in a magnificent exhibit in Mississauga but none grander than former mayor Hazel McCallion.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

There were also some double-takes Tuesday from people touring the 100 Years of Memories display inside the Erin Mills Town Centre when they saw “Hurricane” Hazel sitting at the wooden desk she used when first getting into politics in Streetsville in 1968.

“I am not retired,” said 100-year-old McCallion. “And I don’t plan to.”

The exhibit, sponsored by Community Foundation of Mississauga, Erin Mills Town Centre, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mantella Corp., Liuna Local 183, and Lakeview Community Partners limited, offers a magical trip down memory lane with a remarkable Canadian.

The display includes pictures from McCallion’s youth, her hockey-playing career, her days as small-town reeve, and later from her 36 years as mayor of Mississauga.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“But it’s not how long you were mayor for that counts, but what you got accomplished,” said McCallion.

She got a lot accomplished in Mississauga which at one time was farmers’ fields.

Not any more.

“We wanted it to be a great place for families from all over the world to raise their children and have a good, safe life,” she said. “We achieved that.”

The exhibit, which runs until Feb. 28, 2022, offers a visual and physical history of all of that progress with a lot of fun sprinkled in.

One of those light-hearted memories was encapsulated in a photo of McCallion with a salmon on the hook off Port Credit. She was on a Walter Oster-chartered Great Ontario Salmon Derby boat with late Toronto mayor Rob Ford giving her a bear hug, so she wouldn’t be pulled into Lake Ontario.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“I wasn’t going to drop the rod,” she recalled. “I don’t quit until the salmon is in the boat.”

She said it’s cool to see pictures of people like Rob and Oster, who are both no longer with us but are remembered fondly in the display.

“They were great guys and I am thrilled for Rob’s brother, Doug, who has done such a good job as Ontario’s premier,” she said.

“Nothing great gets done without doing your homework before and working with a team to get things done,” added McCallion. “I like the exhibit, but I didn’t do any of this alone. I always had good people around me on council and from other cities who partnered with us.”

A number of those mayors and councillors were there for “Hazel McCallion Day” Tuesday, including Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, former Brampton mayor Susan Fennell, Mississauga  Councillor Pat Saito, and the now longest-serving mayor, Gordon Krantz, of Milton, who will mark 41 years on the job in December.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“Hazel passed the longest-serving crown to me that she wore so well for so long,” said Krantz. “She is a remarkable person who I have worked with on so many things.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Brown said the iconic McCallion — born on Valentine’s Day in 1921 when Arthur Meighen was Canada’s prime minister — is inspirational because of her “work ethic” and big-picture thinking.  

“She’s a great politician, but aside from that, Hazel is a great person,” added Krantz, who has sat on Milton’s council since 1965 and been elected 21 times.

For her part, McCallion said after she stopped being mayor in 2014, she never looked back.

  1. Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion is pictured on her front lawn on her 100th birthday. A large ice sculpture and pink flamingos helped mark the day, Feb. 14, 2021.

    WARMINGTON: Birthday wishes roll in as Hazel McCallion turns 100

  2. Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion is pictured at her home on July 26, 2020.

    Former Mississauga mayor ‘Hurricane’ Hazel McCallion turns 100

  3. Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion turned 100 on Valentine's Day.

    WARMINGTON: Hurricane Hazel reminds people to spread some good news

“I’m not a backseat driver,” she said. “We have a great mayor — Bonnie Crombie — and an excellent council, and I am busy sitting on many boards.”

For those coming to experience this outstanding collection of history, you just may see Hazel looking over the memorabilia.

“I live nearby,” she joked.

Plus, there’s no better place to get some work done than at her old desk.

    Advertisement

    Story continues below

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Share:

    Share on facebook
    Facebook
    Share on twitter
    Twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    LinkedIn
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world