Toronto [Canada], January 30 (ANI): Hazel McCallion, the longest-serving mayor in Canada, passed away on Sunday. She was 101, Toronto Sun reported.
As the mayor of Mississauga for 36 years, McCallion turned the city from an area of small towns and farmland into the sixth-largest city in Canada.
She was given the nickname ‘Hurricane Hazel’ for her political style.
McCallion was born in 1921 in a small town on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula and was the youngest of five children. She was elected mayor of Mississauga in 1978, envisioning it as a livable city and not just a suburb of Toronto.
But as Mississauga expanded the city became emblematic of urban sprawl -- low-density, car-dependent residential development, according to Toronto Sun.
She was acclaimed back into office in 1980, re-elected in 1982 and 1985, acclaimed in 1988, and re-elected in 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2010.
McCallion handled the world’s largest peacetime evacuation in November 1979 when a Canadian Pacific freight train loaded with explosive materials derailed in the city, reported Toronto Sun.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed condolences in a statement and added that he remembered the ‘unstoppable’ McCallion.
"My dear friend Hazel was an extraordinary woman who wore many hats: a businessperson, an athlete, a politician, and one of Canada’s — and the world’s — longest-serving mayors. Nicknamed ‘Hurricane Hazel’ for her bold political style, she was unstoppable," he said in a statement.
"’I want to assure you that the people will come first during my term’ she told a cheering crowd when she won her first term as mayor almost 45 years ago. And that was how she served: by putting people first. She inspired countless others, including myself, in her decades of tireless and selfless service. I will miss her as a friend, and I’ll always cherish the conversations we had, and the wisdom she shared over the years," he added.
Canadian PM further stated that Hazel McCallion led the transformation of Mississauga from a bedroom community to the sixth-largest city in Canada under her guidance as mayor from 1978 to 2014.
McCallion believed in the growth of her community and its potential to become a city where people could both live and work, and led the charge to do just that. Through her leadership, the city was known for its strong economy, thriving multiculturalism, and excellent public services.
"After serving as mayor for 36 years, Hazel McCallion was appointed Chancellor of Sheridan College and special advisor at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She also served as the chair of the World Health Organization’s Symposiums on Healthy Cities and was a strong advocate for ending discrimination toward seniors," he said.
Trudeau added, "On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our condolences to Hazel’s family, friends, and the people of Mississauga. We will remember her as a trailblazer whose career in politics and service to her community will remain an inspiration to all of us. But mostly, we will remember her as a dear friend." (ANI)