12-term mayor was instrumental in shaping Mississauga’s economic and residential development
MISSISSAUGA – Heading into retirement after more than four decades of public service leadership, Mayor Hazel McCallion was honoured by Mississauga city council colleagues for one last time on November 26.
“When I sat down in the mayor’s chair for the first time, there were cows and horses grazing where our city core is today,” said McCallion at the meeting, acknowledging Mississauga’s considerable commercial and residential growth during her 12 terms as the city’s mayor.
McCallion, now 93, has been the recipient of many community accolades over the course of what she has decided will be the final year of her political career – a career that began in 1968, when she became the Deputy Reeve of Streetsville, later serving as its mayor from 1970 to 1973 (before Streetsville was annexed into the City of Mississauga in 1974).
A beloved and highly active community leader in the Western GTA, McCallion served as a Mississauga and Peel Regional Councillor from 1974 to 1978 before being elected as the amalgamated City of Mississauga’s third mayor that year – a mayoralty that continued, unbroken, through 11 subsequent terms and came to an end on November 30.
Within Greater Toronto’s real estate community, McCallion’s mayoralty will be remembered as one that both shaped, and later reshaped, an ambitious and evolving vision for urban planning in Mississauga.
Living up to her reputation for adaptability, negotiation, and city council leadership, McCallion’s many years of mayoralty have allowed her to oversee – from planning to completion – many of the innovative developments that have helped establish Mississauga as a global city, including:
- Mississauga’s rejuvenated and densified downtown core. McCallion’s leadership was crucial to securing many of the neighbourhood’s most prominent developments, such as the Mississauga Civic Centre, Living Arts Centre, and the award-winning Absolute World condo towers – arguably the GTA’s most widely renowned high-rise community.
- A similarly urbanized Erin Mills community, where successful high-rise completions like the Miracle in Mississauga are soon to be joined by brand-new projects like HOT Condos and Daniels Erin Mills.
McCallion has also been commended for taking a leadership role in the city’s shift towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly development practices. Mississauga city council’s commitment to “smart growth” would eventually enable landmark achievements such as the recent partial opening of the Mississauga Transitway – arguably the region’s most ambitious rapid transit investment to date.
While McCallion’s years in public office have come to an end, her legacy will prove difficult for Mississauga residents to ignore – especially as institutions like the Seneca College’s expanding Hazel McCallion Campus and the Hazel McCallion Senior Public School continue to play a vital role in community life.
Many of the biographical details included in this feature were obtained from Mayor Hazel McCallion’s official biography on the City of Mississauga web site.