Canada celebrates 101-year-old political icon ‘Hurricane Hazel’


TORONTO: Hazel McCallion, 101, was recently reappointed to the board of Canada’s largest airport as she pursues a career that saw her serve as the city’s mayor for 36 years and play professional hockey .

His tenacity earned him the nickname “Hurricane Hazel”. “I don’t know how come they call me ‘Hurricane Hazel,'” she said in an interview at an exhibit in Mississauga, Ont., celebrating her life, adding with a Loud laughter: “I know I move fast. “And nothing seems to stop him. Throughout her long life, she says she followed the mantra: work hard and be ready.

“Hard work never killed anyone, my mom told me that,” she said. “If you want to go anywhere, you have to work hard.”

Born in 1921, in Port Daniel, Quebec, Hazel is the youngest of five children. Her father worked in the fishing industry while her mother was a nurse. She left the family farm at 16 to continue her studies, before taking a secretarial position during the Second World War in a Montreal engineering firm.

She also played on a professional women’s hockey team for two seasons, losing two teeth while earning C$5 (US$4) per game, which she described as “a princely sum at the time.” In 1951, she married Sam McCallion with whom she had three children.

“She wasn’t always there, but she was there when she needed her,” her son Peter McCallion recalled, describing her as a “wonderful” grandmother to his only granddaughter.

Inspired by former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton — the first female mayor of a major Canadian city — and Margaret Thatcher, she entered politics in the 1960s.

Posted in Dawn, May 22, 2022

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