Mayor Hazel McCallion
MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION
When I first met Her Worship Mayor Hazel McCallion in 2001, she had already been Mayor of the City of Mississauga for 23 years. She had been appointed by Minister Chris Hodgson to chair the Smart Growth Panel for Central Ontario, a region that was exponentially growing in leaps and bounds, with rapid sprawl and infrastructure failing to keep up. She had become known as the Queen of Sprawl and it did not go unnoticed that she was chosen to lead the vision for managing that growth/sprawl.
I had the privilege of bearing witness to her transformation over an extensive three year planning process. How does one stay driven and focused on the success of the municipality you lead, while also being open enough to transform your whole view and outlook? Respect for others and a brutal honesty. Always able to hit on an issue like a laser beam, she has taken the smart growth philosophy and sought the impossible – transforming a sprawling suburban mall into a thriving intensified urban centre – something many other politicians would not even dare to attempt. Mind you, Her Worship has an approval rating over the last three years around 78%, down from her prior track record of 92%. She is loved by the folks of Mississauga. Her gentle hand ad kind heart reached me personally in 2012 when I received a hand written sympathy card from her when my dad passed away. We had not seen each other for almost a year.
Today, at the age of 92, she describes herself as a conservative with a liberal point of view, a social conscience and always looking for reform in other words a totally modern woman. She has announced that she will not run for another political term in 2014. Despite this she remains focused on the revitalization on the city’s waterfront and the delivery of their first ever light rapid transit. An eternal city builder.
What has been your most important lesson as a city builder?
Cities are built over decades and 92 year old Hazel McCallion, the eleven consecutive term Mayor of the Mississauga, population over 700,000 has presided over enormous transformation and success.
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, (aka Hurricane Hazel) 92 yrs old. Serving over 30 years as Mayor of Mississauga, Canada’s 4th largest city