Happy early birthday to Hazel McCallion!
February 14, 2021 is the 100th birthday for our beloved former Mayor. In recent years, we have begun to see Hazel McCallion’s name imprinted on our landscape, in honour of her significant impacts on our city. In 2007, the new library building at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus was named the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre. In 2001, “Hazel’s Walk” at Square One was dedicated.
In 2011, Sheridan College named their new Mississauga campus after Hazel McCallion. In 2016, the Province of Ontario proclaimed February 14 as Hazel McCallion Day, and the Hazel McCallion Centre for Heart Health at the Mississauga Hospital and the Hazel McCallion Senior Public School also carry her name, creating a permanent link on our landscape for one of the most impactful and significant people to have shaped the story and identity of our city. More tributes are certain to come.
Today, on February 10, 2021, the Council of the City of Mississauga will be paying tribute to Hazel, in celebration of her upcoming 100th Birthday, which will feature, amongst other things, a virtual ceremony, tribute video, remarks from Mayor Bonnie Crombie and members of Council, a testimonial documentary by the Mississauga Arts Council, and the unveiling of new library signage formally renaming the Mississauga Central Library to the Hazel McCallion Central Library (the decision was passed by Council in October of 2020). You can watch the virtual ceremony here:
Hazel McCallion served in public life for over 50 years, as a Councillor and Reeve in Streetsville, then as Councillor and Mayor of Mississauga. As many know, her tenure as Mayor of Mississauga began in 1978, and she held office for 12 consecutive terms, retiring in 2014.
There are many avenues for exploring the life and times of Hazel – more than even are listed here. In terms of books, there are three “must reads”, at least to this author. The first, in terms of chronology, is the (somewhat) fictional and satirical story presented in “The Ideal Candidate” (2006) by Benjamin Thornton, which follows the journey of “Nat Drennan” who tries to enter politics in the fictional town of “Newhazel”, which is run by a powerful octogenarian female mayor. The book provides a funny, suspenseful, and home-spun tale of local politics – very much inspired by Mississauga.
The second is “Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga” (2009) by Tom Urbaniak. “Her Worship” chronicles the path, personality and policies of Mayor McCallion in the development of the City of Mississauga. This exceptional book offered the first study of Hazel McCallion’s politics, and examines her shrewd pragmatism and calculated populism. The book provides a fascinating look at both a remarkable public figure and of an area that is emblematic of “edge city” development in North America, Her Worship is a fresh look at municipal governance and politics.
The third book is her official biography, entitled Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose (2018) by Hazel McCallion with Robert Brehl. The book follows Hazel’s life and times, from Port Daniel-Gascon on the Gaspe to Streetsville and Mississauga. In this memoir, McCallion recounts her early years as the mayor of a rapidly growing city; battles with politicians and business leaders; her love of hockey; her personal life and her beloved late husband, Sam McCallion; and her remarkable career in politics. The book is the story of her political, personal and business life, with all of its bumps and bruises along the way.
All three books, as well as innumerable other resources, provides valuable perspectives on the life and times of Hazel, and help us connect even more to the growing number of place-name references on our landscape.
Stay tuned to Heritage Mississauga’s social media for more “Hazelisms” and Hazel-happenings this week.
There are many other ways to celebrate Hazel’s 100th Birthday and connect with her remarkable story:
“Hurricane Warning! The Life & Times of Hazel McCallion” from PAMA:
“Hazel McCallion: The Hurricane that changed Mississauga”:
“Do Your Homework” from the Museums of Mississauga”
Ask A Historian – “Life & Times of Hazel McCallion” with Professor Tom Urbaniak:
Hazel A Celebration: 100 Years in the Making from MAC (7:30 pm on February 14)
#Hazel100 and Hazel’s 100th Birthday:
Hazel McCallion’s 100th Birthday Photobook fundraiser for Trillium Health Partners:
Hazel 100 Years of Memories
Date: Stay tuned
Details will be available on Facebook shortly