This story is featured in Episode 50.
It used to be a small bedroom community of Toronto – now Mississauga, bordering Toronto on the west, is a modern and multicultural city with a population of over 720,000 and Canada’s sixth-most populous municipality.
Home to the largest Polish community in Canada (Polish being its second non-official language), it was ruled for 32 years by “Hurricane Hazel”, Hazel McCallion.
The now 97-year-old and still extremely active McCallion held 12 consecutive terms as mayor winning or being acclaimed in every election from 1978 to 2010, often without even campaigning. She was Canada’s longest serving mayor and runner-up in World Mayor 2005. In 2014 McCallion did not run again, but endorsed Bonnie Crombie, who became mayor in November 2014. A true icon, adored by Mississaugans, Hazel McCallion is still active, attends dozens of events, and holds many positions among them that of Chancellor of Sheridan College.
Her successor Bonnie (Bozena) Crombie, former member of federal parliament and Mississauga councillor, highly educated and experienced in business, is of Polish descent and keeps very close contact with the Polish community.
Working on expanding the city, she is a powerful and highly respected Canadian politician. She is also very popular with Mississauga’s inhabitants, appearing at many community events.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie (with her daughter Natasha) came to our POLcast launch at the Polish Consulate in June 2016.
Apart from her effectiveness, knowledge and intelligence, Bonnie Crombie is known for her immaculate style, beauty and class. At numerous ethnic events she attends she often appears in gorgeous national attire and is admired and respected by 75 ethnic groups living in Mississauga.
Bonnie Crombie’s family: