FOCUS ON SENIORS: Hurricane Hazel ‘keeps on keeping on’

Opinion Jun 04, 2015 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Hazel McCallion played women’s professional hockey in the early 1940s.

McCallion was mayor of Mississauga – Canada’s sixth largest city – for 36 years where she earned a reputation as a plain-speaking, decisive municipal politician. While in office, McCallion garnered international attention when she orchestrated the world’s largest peacetime evacuation of almost 250,000 city residents from harm’s way.

McCallion never attended university, but she has an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Toronto.

Not bad for a 94-year-old whose only daily medication is a baby Aspirin.

“I remember 81 people were killed and thousands left homeless when Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto in 1954. I wasn’t in politics but I knew I wouldn’t make mistakes in alerting the public and making tough decisions,” McCallion said.

Years later, in 1979 during the Mississauga train derailment, McCallion was tested.

“Our residents didn’t need best-case scenarios as in if everything works out perfectly you’ll be home tomorrow. That’s not leadership. That’s sugar-coating,” she said. “Instead I said things like ‘If you think you’ll be out of your home for two days, then plan on being out for four days.’ People want the truth, not namby-pamby possibilities and what-ifs.”     

It was a big decision for McCallion to leave politics this past December. She said, “I would be 98 years old if I had gone another four years. I knew I could help in other ways.”     

McCallion will be in Brantford on June 24 as the guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Grand River Council on Aging. The event at the Best Western Brant Park Inn is open to the public.    

In her book, Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose, McCallion writes about the need for clear, concise information.  

McCallion believes in the adage, “It’s always better to be an original than an imitation.”

“Throughout my life, I tried to be positive,” McCallion said. “We can choose to be happy or sad. We can condemn or forgive. We can complain or contribute. The choice is ours.             

“I may be 94 years old but I feel like I am maybe 55 or perhaps 60 years old,” McCallion said.

“I do my own housework. I also watch what I eat – I love veggies and fruit. And each morning I exercise at my home and play with the dog in the yard, where I also like to garden.”

She adds, “age is a real form of discrimination.”

During McCallion’s tenure as mayor, Mississauga completed a major study over a period of almost four years to determine the age-friendly needs of its residents.

“The city employs a person responsible for seniors’ needs,” McCallion said.

“I am proud that in our community centres we have meeting spaces for seniors and, based on seniors’ needs and income, discounted services are available.”

McCallion stops short though when it comes to helping wealthy seniors.

“There are some seniors who may be living in million-dollar mansions and protecting their estates that we cannot afford to look after,” she said. “Our approach is if they require financial assistance, then you get some help.”

As Canadians age, the impact of seniors on cities is, in McCallions words, “going to be huge.”

“The burden is increasing given our growing and aging population,” McCallion said. “The economic situation determines your success. Economic setbacks mean fewer dollars are available. The need for seniors’ services such as long-term care is increasing. However, the revenue is not.”

In her book, McCallion writes, “There is a lot of luck and good genes involved when you live a long life, but feistiness plays a role, too. Ageism is a form of discrimination, and I think seniors, whenever possible, should stand up and be counted more instead of passively, allowing society to shuffle us off somewhere. As Bette Davis said, ‘Old age is for sissies.’”

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Hurricane Hazel ‘keeps on keeping on’

Former Mississauga mayor coming to Brantford for GRCOA meeting

Opinion Jun 04, 2015 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Hazel McCallion played women’s professional hockey in the early 1940s.

McCallion was mayor of Mississauga – Canada’s sixth largest city – for 36 years where she earned a reputation as a plain-speaking, decisive municipal politician. While in office, McCallion garnered international attention when she orchestrated the world’s largest peacetime evacuation of almost 250,000 city residents from harm’s way.

McCallion never attended university, but she has an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Toronto.

Not bad for a 94-year-old whose only daily medication is a baby Aspirin.

“I remember 81 people were killed and thousands left homeless when Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto in 1954. I wasn’t in politics but I knew I wouldn’t make mistakes in alerting the public and making tough decisions,” McCallion said.

Years later, in 1979 during the Mississauga train derailment, McCallion was tested.

“Our residents didn’t need best-case scenarios as in if everything works out perfectly you’ll be home tomorrow. That’s not leadership. That’s sugar-coating,” she said. “Instead I said things like ‘If you think you’ll be out of your home for two days, then plan on being out for four days.’ People want the truth, not namby-pamby possibilities and what-ifs.”     

It was a big decision for McCallion to leave politics this past December. She said, “I would be 98 years old if I had gone another four years. I knew I could help in other ways.”     

McCallion will be in Brantford on June 24 as the guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Grand River Council on Aging. The event at the Best Western Brant Park Inn is open to the public.    

In her book, Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose, McCallion writes about the need for clear, concise information.  

McCallion believes in the adage, “It’s always better to be an original than an imitation.”

“Throughout my life, I tried to be positive,” McCallion said. “We can choose to be happy or sad. We can condemn or forgive. We can complain or contribute. The choice is ours.             

“I may be 94 years old but I feel like I am maybe 55 or perhaps 60 years old,” McCallion said.

“I do my own housework. I also watch what I eat – I love veggies and fruit. And each morning I exercise at my home and play with the dog in the yard, where I also like to garden.”

She adds, “age is a real form of discrimination.”

During McCallion’s tenure as mayor, Mississauga completed a major study over a period of almost four years to determine the age-friendly needs of its residents.

“The city employs a person responsible for seniors’ needs,” McCallion said.

“I am proud that in our community centres we have meeting spaces for seniors and, based on seniors’ needs and income, discounted services are available.”

McCallion stops short though when it comes to helping wealthy seniors.

“There are some seniors who may be living in million-dollar mansions and protecting their estates that we cannot afford to look after,” she said. “Our approach is if they require financial assistance, then you get some help.”

As Canadians age, the impact of seniors on cities is, in McCallions words, “going to be huge.”

“The burden is increasing given our growing and aging population,” McCallion said. “The economic situation determines your success. Economic setbacks mean fewer dollars are available. The need for seniors’ services such as long-term care is increasing. However, the revenue is not.”

In her book, McCallion writes, “There is a lot of luck and good genes involved when you live a long life, but feistiness plays a role, too. Ageism is a form of discrimination, and I think seniors, whenever possible, should stand up and be counted more instead of passively, allowing society to shuffle us off somewhere. As Bette Davis said, ‘Old age is for sissies.’”

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Hurricane Hazel ‘keeps on keeping on’

Former Mississauga mayor coming to Brantford for GRCOA meeting

Opinion Jun 04, 2015 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Hazel McCallion played women’s professional hockey in the early 1940s.

McCallion was mayor of Mississauga – Canada’s sixth largest city – for 36 years where she earned a reputation as a plain-speaking, decisive municipal politician. While in office, McCallion garnered international attention when she orchestrated the world’s largest peacetime evacuation of almost 250,000 city residents from harm’s way.

McCallion never attended university, but she has an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Toronto.

Not bad for a 94-year-old whose only daily medication is a baby Aspirin.

“I remember 81 people were killed and thousands left homeless when Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto in 1954. I wasn’t in politics but I knew I wouldn’t make mistakes in alerting the public and making tough decisions,” McCallion said.

Years later, in 1979 during the Mississauga train derailment, McCallion was tested.

“Our residents didn’t need best-case scenarios as in if everything works out perfectly you’ll be home tomorrow. That’s not leadership. That’s sugar-coating,” she said. “Instead I said things like ‘If you think you’ll be out of your home for two days, then plan on being out for four days.’ People want the truth, not namby-pamby possibilities and what-ifs.”     

It was a big decision for McCallion to leave politics this past December. She said, “I would be 98 years old if I had gone another four years. I knew I could help in other ways.”     

McCallion will be in Brantford on June 24 as the guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Grand River Council on Aging. The event at the Best Western Brant Park Inn is open to the public.    

In her book, Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose, McCallion writes about the need for clear, concise information.  

McCallion believes in the adage, “It’s always better to be an original than an imitation.”

“Throughout my life, I tried to be positive,” McCallion said. “We can choose to be happy or sad. We can condemn or forgive. We can complain or contribute. The choice is ours.             

“I may be 94 years old but I feel like I am maybe 55 or perhaps 60 years old,” McCallion said.

“I do my own housework. I also watch what I eat – I love veggies and fruit. And each morning I exercise at my home and play with the dog in the yard, where I also like to garden.”

She adds, “age is a real form of discrimination.”

During McCallion’s tenure as mayor, Mississauga completed a major study over a period of almost four years to determine the age-friendly needs of its residents.

“The city employs a person responsible for seniors’ needs,” McCallion said.

“I am proud that in our community centres we have meeting spaces for seniors and, based on seniors’ needs and income, discounted services are available.”

McCallion stops short though when it comes to helping wealthy seniors.

“There are some seniors who may be living in million-dollar mansions and protecting their estates that we cannot afford to look after,” she said. “Our approach is if they require financial assistance, then you get some help.”

As Canadians age, the impact of seniors on cities is, in McCallions words, “going to be huge.”

“The burden is increasing given our growing and aging population,” McCallion said. “The economic situation determines your success. Economic setbacks mean fewer dollars are available. The need for seniors’ services such as long-term care is increasing. However, the revenue is not.”

In her book, McCallion writes, “There is a lot of luck and good genes involved when you live a long life, but feistiness plays a role, too. Ageism is a form of discrimination, and I think seniors, whenever possible, should stand up and be counted more instead of passively, allowing society to shuffle us off somewhere. As Bette Davis said, ‘Old age is for sissies.’”