Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to my very good friend, Hazel McCallion, the former Mayor of the City of Mississauga. We have all heard about Hazel, one of the best-known and longest-serving mayors in Canada and in the world. She retired last Sunday at the age of 93, leaving the mayor's seat after 36 years. She earned the nickname "Hurricane Hazel" for her tireless energy and determination. She was the first female elected Mayor of Streetsville back in 1970 and later elected as the first female Mayor of Mississauga. A Member of the Order of Canada, she was among the top finalists for the World Mayor Award.
Mayor Hazel McCallion oversaw the development of Mississauga from a town of fewer than 300,000 people to the sixth-largest city in Canada. She is an inspiring figure for many in politics and community service. She is leaving a legacy that will be hard to surpass.
Hazel and I have shared many memorable moments together. A year and a half ago, I took her on a trip to China. We hiked Mount Wutai in the north, which is over 3,000 metres above sea level. At one point, we climbed 200 steps on the steep slopes, and nobody could keep up with Hazel's pace. Indeed, the local government was concerned about a senior from Canada hiking in the mountains. They secretly sent a doctor and a nurse with oxygen tanks to join us. In the end, no help was needed, and everyone was surprised at the great physical shape Hazel was in.
As a proud resident of Mississauga and a senator representing Peel Region, I ask all honourable senators to join me in congratulating Mayor Hazel McCallion on her retirement and thanking her for her dedication to public service.
In closing, I would also like to extend my warmest wishes and good health to my colleague, Senator Seth, on her retirement. Thank you, merci.
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