Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Oh Hazel, how cute you are...
I wanted to take some time to tell you all about a woman that I think is a great example of leadership and I think she can be an inspiration to us all.
Her name is Hazel McCallion and she is the mayor of the city of Mississauga, Ontario. She has been the mayor for 30 years, since 1978, and she will be 88 this Valentines Day!
I first really took an interest in her not too long ago, when they had a special segment on the news about her for her 30th anniversary of being mayor. Then I started doing some research to learn more about her.
Hazel is nicknamed "Hurricane Hazel" because of her outspoken no-nonsense manner. She is one of Canadas best known and longest serving mayors and many times that she has been re-elected, it was without having done a campaign and often with over 90% of the vote. She used to play on a hockey team, and I think she still plays here and there for fun. They were showing her playing hockey on the news a few months ago. It was so cute! lol
Apparently she does all her own grocery shopping, gardening, and housework, claiming it is a great form of exercise and keeps a person humble. According to my parents, who grew up in the city, she never believed in using taxpayers money to have a driver to drive her around, she always drove herself everywhere. She did have a bad car accident a few years ago and I am not sure if she is still driving herself around since then.
One thing she is known really well for is the way she handled the "1979 Missisauga Train Derailment." A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a heavily populated area of the city resulting in an explosion and the hazardous chemicals spilling everywhere. She is known ( as well as the police and other authorities) for overseeing an "orderly and peaceful" evacuation of the entire city. Literally the entire city had to be evacuated, which according to my research was about 200, 000 people at that time. And not one person died during all of this. My parents recall that after this mess was over, residents of the city got some money reimbursed to them for lost wages etc. My mom said she just filled out a form and mailed it in and she was reimbursed about $200. And she didnt even miss any work because her work was like on the outskirts of town so she was still able to go. But she still got $200 basically for being inconvenienced.
According to one article, she carries a camera around in her car on the way to work, so she can stop and take pictures of anything that needs attention such as potholes or a missing street sign.
Hazel believes you should run a city like a business: live within your means, and save for the unexpected. This is probably why Mississauga has been DEBT-FREE since 1978!!
I'll leave you with a cute little picture of Hazel biking to work for "car-free day" :)
Here are the articles that I got my info from, if you would like to read more: