Throughout her groundbreaking career in business and politics, Hurricane Hazel McCallion saw it all. In 1978, she defeated a popular incumbent to win election as mayor of Mississauga, a rising city near Toronto that was, until then, a collection of towns, villages and farms. No one foresaw that the indomitable Hurricane Hazel would become so wildly popular that she would remain mayor until 2014, retiring at age 93.
Within months of taking office, Mayor McCallion orchestrated the world’s largest peacetime evacuation at the time after a train derailment put almost 250,000 Mississauga residents in harm’s way of deadly chlorine gas. The incident made her an international media star and cemented her reputation as a plain-speaking, decisive political leader. She’s been courted by federal and provincial parties over the years but has turned them all down, declaring, “I could never toe the party line. I’d wear out the carpet crossing the floor.”
In Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose, McCallion writes about her early years as the feisty mayor of a growing city; her battles with politicians and business leaders; her love of hockey and abhorrence of on-ice violence; where the feminist movement misses its mark; and how she watched and dealt with her beloved husband’s fall into the grip of Alzheimer’s. Hazel’s run as the leader of Canada’s sixth-largest city has been nothing short of remarkable. This book is the story of Hazel’s political, personal and business life, with all of its bumps and bruises along the way, and is as honest, bold and straightforward as the woman herself.