Hazel McCallion

Last updated
Hazel McCallion

Hazel McCallion.jpg
McCallion in 2010
1st Chancellor of Sheridan College
Assumed office
June 6, 2016
Preceded byFirst in office
5th Mayor of Mississauga
In office
December 1, 1978 November 30, 2014
Preceded by Ron Searle
Succeeded by Bonnie Crombie
Personal details
Hazel Journeaux

(1921-02-14) February 14, 1921 (age 98)
Port Daniel, Quebec, Canada
Political party Independent
Sam McCallion
(m. 1951;died 1997)
Signature Hazel McCallion Signature.svg

Hazel McCallion, CM (née  Journeaux; born February 14, 1921) is a Canadian politician and businesswoman who served as the 5th mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, from 1978 until 2014. [1] She is the first and current Chancellor of Sheridan College. [2]


McCallion was first elected in November 1978, and is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history, having served for 36 years at the time of her retirement in 2014. [1] She was a successful candidate in 12 municipal elections, having been acclaimed twice and re-elected 10 other times. [1] Her supporters gave her the nickname "Hurricane Hazel" because of her outspoken political style. [3] [4]

Personal life

McCallion was born in the community of Port Daniel, Quebec on the Gaspé Coast of Quebec. Her father, Herbert Armand Journeaux (1879–1944), owned a fishing and canning company. Her mother, Amanda Maude Travers (1876–1955), [5] was a homemaker and ran the family farm. The family also comprised two older sisters and two older brothers. After graduating from Quebec High School, she attended business secretarial school in Quebec City and Montreal. She has stated, especially while receiving university honours, that she would have wanted to attend university, but her family could not afford it. After beginning her career in Montreal with the Canadian Kellogg company, she was transferred to Toronto in 1942, where she helped set up the local office. McCallion left the business world in 1967 to devote her life to a career in politics. [1] As a volunteer, McCallion also served as president of the Anglican Young People's Association of Canada, and later, provided leadership as a district commissioner with the Girl Guides of Canada in the early 1960s. [6]

She met her future husband, Sam McCallion (1923–1997), [7] at an Anglican Church congregation in Toronto in 1951; they married on September 29 of that year. [8] As a marriage present from McCallion’s in-laws, a piece of land was given to the newlyweds near the village of Streetsville, Ontario, to which they moved in December 1951. [9] Before entering politics, she and her husband founded The Streetsville Booster in 1964. [lower-alpha 1] McCallion has three children. In 1997, her husband died of Alzheimer's disease. [10]

Political career

Early years

McCallion began her political career in Streetsville. Her first campaign was in 1964 for the position of deputy reeve. It was unsuccessful, and she later considered herself to be a victim of dirty tricks. [10] Having later been appointed as the chairman of the Streetsville Planning Board, she was elected as deputy reeve in the 1967 election [11] and was appointed reeve in 1968. [12] She was elected as Streetsville's mayor in 1970, [13] serving until 1973. The Town of Streetsville was amalgamated with the Town of Mississauga and the Town of Port Credit to form the City of Mississauga at the beginning of 1974. McCallion advocated unsuccessfully to preserve Streetsville as a separate municipality. [14] In the 1976 municipal election, McCallion won her seat on Mississauga council by acclamation. [15] By the time she was elected mayor of Mississauga, she had sat on virtually every committee in Peel Region and the City of Mississauga. She has also served on the executive of many federal and provincial committees and associations.

Mayor of Mississauga

Mississauga City Hall MississaugaCityHall.jpg
Mississauga City Hall

McCallion was first elected mayor in 1978, defeating popular incumbent Ron Searle by about 3,000 votes. [16] She had been in office only a few months when the 1979 Mississauga train derailment occurred, where a Canadian Pacific train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a heavily populated area near Mavis Road. A large explosion and fire ensued as hazardous chemicals spilled. McCallion, along with the Peel Regional Police and 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 René Lévesque's Parti Québécois government sparked an exodus of Anglophones and corporations from Montreal to the Greater Toronto Area. [17] [18] [19]

McCallion was easily elected throughout her career as mayor, with no serious challengers coming close to unseating her. [20] She never campaigned during elections and refused to accept political donations, instead 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. [21] She announced during her final term that she would not be running for re-election in the 2014 municipal elections [22] and endorsed councillor and former federal MP Bonnie Crombie to replace her as Mayor. [23] Crombie defeated former city councilor, Member of Provincial Parliament and federal cabinet minister Steve Mahoney to win the 2014 municipal election. [24]

In 2012, McCallion was the third highest paid mayor in Canada, with a salary of $187,057. [25]

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." [26]

On her 90th birthday in 2011, McCallion was assessed by Dr. Barbara Clive, a geriatrician, who stated that "at 90 her gait is perfect, her speech is totally sharp and she has the drive to still run this city. She’s the poster child for seniors". [27]

Conflict of interest allegations

In 1982, McCallion was found guilty of a conflict of interest on a planning decision by the Ontario High Court of Justice due to not absenting herself from a council meeting on a matter in which she had an interest. In 1983 The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act would have required her to vacate her seat and prohibited her from running for the following term. [28] [29]

In 2009 McCallion was the focus of public opinion when it was alleged that she failed to disclose a conflict of interest when attending meetings that concerned her son's company, World Class Developments Ltd. [30] [31] On October 3, 2011, Judge Douglas Cunningham found McCallion "acted in a 'real and apparent conflict of interest' while pushing hard for a real estate deal that could have put millions of dollars in her son's pocket." [32] On June 14, 2013, charges under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act were dismissed as World Class Developments did not have a financial interest as defined under the Act, and the application was also statute-barred. [33] In a later ruling concerning costs, Judge J. Sproat said, "Out of seven major issues, Mayor McCallion was successful on only three. On two of the three issues Mayor McCallion was successful, not because of any prudence or diligence, but only because World Class Developments’s project had not progressed at a faster pace." [34]

Political views

While party preferences are not usually expressed in Canadian municipal politics, McCallion supports the Liberal Party at the federal and provincial levels, and was asked in 1982 to consider running for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. [35] She endorsed Kathleen Wynne on the convention floor of the 2013 Ontario Liberal Party leadership election, [36] and later endorsed her and her party in the 2014 Ontario general election. [37] Otherwise, McCallion has been described as a small-c conservative. [38] McCallion endorsed Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for the 2015 election. [39] She also appeared in a notable television advertisement for the federal Liberals during the final days of the 2015 election. [40] In the 2018 Ontario provincial election, McCallion endorsed PC leader Doug Ford who later went on to become Premier of Ontario. [41]

In 2007 McCallion responded to the federal government's refusal to give any of the GST to cities, a funding source long requested by many municipalities across Canada, by planning a 5 per cent surcharge on property taxes in the city. She was able to have the levy introduced and approved on the same day by Mississauga council. Most media coverage, as well as Toronto mayor David Miller, noted that McCallion was arguably one of the few mayors in the country with the political capital to implement such a strategy. [42]

In the 2018 provincial election, McCallion both endorsed Liberal cabinet minister Charles Sousa's bid for re-election in Mississauga and endorsed the Progressive Conservatives at the provincial level. [43]

After politics

McCallion at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Saint Athanasius in Mississauga in 2019. Church of the Virgin Mary and Saint Athanasius in Mississauga (33873842038).jpg
McCallion at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Saint Athanasius in Mississauga in 2019.

In November 2015, McCallion was appointed the Chief Elder Officer (CEO) of Revera Inc., to provide advice and counsel to the senior living sector company. [44] In September 2011, Sheridan College opened the doors to its Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga, which was greatly expanded in 2018, more than doubling its enrollment. Furthering her ties with the college, in 2016, McCallion was named Sheridan's first chancellor, as part of its bid to attain university status. [2] In February 2015, McCallion became a special advisor to the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto, providing advice on matters related to strategic development of the school. [45]

In 2016, February 14 was renamed Hazel McCallion Day across the province of Ontario in honour of McCallion's birthday. [46]

In January 2019, Ontario Premier Doug Ford appointed McCallion as a special adviser. [47] Although she has yet to formally accept the position she is exploring the idea and wants more details before formally accepting the Premier's appointment. [48] She would also be an adviser to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Steve Clark, and receive up to CA$150,000 per year. [47]



The following have been conferred on McCallion:


The following have been named in her honour:


McCallion established the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Mayors' Committee in 1992. She brought together the 30 Mayors, later adding the Chair of Metropolitan Toronto and the four Regional Chairs to work cooperatively for the economic promotion of the GTA. From 1992 to January 2000, the committee, chaired by McCallion, was a strong voice on key issues affecting the future of the GTA. [1] She is a founder and honorary co-chair of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance.

In 1996, McCallion was appointed to the "Who Does What" panel. She was also appointed to two sub-panels: Assessment and Property Taxation Reform, and Emergency Services. She represented the Association of Municipalities of Ontario on the Electricity Transition Committee for the Ministry of Electricity, Science and Technology.

McCallion is the first woman to hold such significant positions as president of the Streetsville and District Chamber of Commerce, president of the Anglican Young Peoples' Association of Canada, mayor of Streetsville, and mayor of Mississauga. She is responsible for the formation of Hazel's Hope, a campaign to fund health care for children afflicted with AIDS and HIV in southern Africa. [61]

McCallion hosts an annual gala in Mississauga to raise money for arts and culture in the city. [62]


McCallion played for a professional women's hockey team while attending school in Montreal. McCallion began playing hockey in the late 1920s in the town of Port Daniel, Quebec. She played with her two sisters and was a forward on their team. McCallion later played hockey for $5 a game in the city of Montreal. The team was sponsored by Kik Cola and was part of a three-team women’s league. [63]

At the 1987 World Women's Hockey Tournament (not recognized by the IIHF), the championship trophy was named the Hazel McCallion World Cup. [64] At one time, McCallion was a board member of the Ontario Women's Hockey League, and was instrumental in the construction of the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. McCallion provided assistance for Don Cherry’s group to bring an Ontario Hockey League franchise to the city in 1998, and she was instrumental in bringing the IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships to the city in 2000.

International politics

McCallion was one of the first Canadian politicians to openly support the creation of a Palestinian state. Addressing the annual convention of the Canadian Arab Federation in 1983, she argued that Palestinian issues had been distorted by the national media and was quoted as saying, "The Palestinians need and require and deserve a country of their own. Why shouldn't they get it?" [65]


In April 2006, a police standoff involving a distraught man threatening to kill himself ended after five hours when McCallion appeared on the scene and demanded he stand down so that police, paramedic, and fire personnel could attend to more important matters. [66]


  1. since merged with the Mississauga News , part of the Metroland group of community newspapers.

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Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Ron Searle
Mayor of Mississauga
Succeeded by
Bonnie Crombie
New title Ward 9 Councillor, Mississauga
Succeeded by
Ken Dear
Preceded by
Jack Graham
Mayor of Streetsville
Amalgamation with Mississauga
Preceded by
D.E. Hewson
Reeve of Streetsville
Succeeded by
Wm. Appleton
Preceded by
G. Parker
Deputy Reeve of Streetsville
Succeeded by
Wm. C. Arch