Hon. Hazel McCallion
Hazel McCallion was first elected mayor in 1978, defeating popular incumbent by about 3,000 votes. She had been in office only a few months when a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a heavily populated area near a large explosion and fire ensued as hazardous chemicals spilt. McCallion, along with the other governmental authorities, oversaw the evacuation of the city. Despite having sprained her ankle, she continued to hold press conferences and update briefings. There were no deaths or serious injuries during the week-long emergency, and Mississauga gained renown for the peaceful evacuation of its then 200,000 residents.
During McCallion’s terms in office, Mississauga grew from a small collection of towns and villages to one of Canada’s largest cities, much of which occurred after the 1976 election of government sparked an exodus of and corporations from Montreal to the Greater Toronto Area. The shifting geography of corporate power in Canada.
McCallion was easily elected throughout her career as mayor, with no serious challengers coming close to unseating her. She never campaigned during elections and refused to accept political donations, instead of asking her supporters to donate the money to charity. Her final term as mayor, won in the election of October 2010, was her twelfth consecutive term. She announced during her final term that she would not be running for re-election in the 2014 municipal elections. In 2012, McCallion was the third highest-paid mayor in Canada, with a salary of $187,057.
In a first-person account for Canadian magazine ‘Confidence Bound’, McCallion credited her faith with giving her energy, and said she still does her own household chores. “Housework and gardening are great forms of exercise and keep one humble.” On her 90th birthday in 2011 McCallion was assessed by Dr. Barbara Clive, a geriatrician, who stated that “at 90 her gait was perfect, her speech was totally sharp and she had the drive to still run this city. She was the poster child for seniors”.