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Fix, Mary

Mary Fix’s tireless dedication and passion for the community had a deep impact on the landscape of this city. Mary Fix was born in Ottawa in 1896 in a French/Irish family. Her father was a businessman and her mother, Anna O’Reilly McNulty, was a journalist interested in the financial and political matters of the government. At sixteen, Mary Fix and one of her friends formed the Equal Franchise Association to fight for women’s rights to vote. After graduating from Osgoode School of Law in 1918, she went into practicing law and became the first woman lawyer in Ottawa. Disappointed that as a woman lawyer she did not get important cases, she turned her interest to business and became a European buyer for a clothing store in Ottawa.

In 1931 she married Albert Alphonse Fix, a virtuoso pianist, and settled in Toronto. The couple built their house in Toronto Township. After her husband’s death in 1945, Mary Fix opened the Cloverleaf Dress Shop and intended to live a quiet life. However, Toronto Township had to face a lot of crucial issues. The tax increase of 300% was the issue that concerned most the ratepayers! The issues were the direct result of unexpected residential and industrial growth after the World War II. This growth overwhelmed the municipal and provincial governments which had not yet devised laws, by-laws and procedures for managing such growth. It is under these circumstances that Mary Fix, in January 1953, entered the political arena of the
Toronto Township as Deputy- Reeve, Chair of Council’s Water Committee. She was the first woman to enter public office in Toronto Township. In 1954, she was re-elected as Deputy-Reeve as Chair of the Industrial Committee and in 1955 she became Reeve. She was re-elected as Reeve in 1957 and 1958. In 1959, Mary Fix became Peel County’s first female Warden. In 1961 she was once again elected as Reeve. A pioneer in many ways, she championed development of industrial lands in 1950’s. However, she was shocked at the unregulated commercial development around her and became concerned for the residential quality of life.

Aside from her political life, Mary Fix was interested in all aspects of the community. Mary Fix was a member of the Library Board where she helped plan the strong library system in use today. She was a founding member of the Toronto Township Historical Society (now The Mississauga Heritage Foundation), where she helped with the development of the Lewis Bradley Museum. She also fought to save the trees in the Hurontario Street and Pinetree Avenue neighborhood south of the Queen Elizabeth Way. On May 2, 1972, Mary Fix died after undergoing a second hip operation. As a final gesture of her attachment and dedication to the town, she left her property to the Town of Mississauga (now City of Mississauga).

© Mississauga Heritage 2009