Political trailblazer, respected icon of community service, and Revera’s beloved Chief Elder Officer Hazel McCallion passed away January 29, just two weeks shy of her 102nd birthday. She led an exceptional life, was a force in politics, business and sport, and her dedication to the communities she served was profound.
Most people knew Hazel McCallion as the longstanding mayor of Mississauga, where she led Canada’s fourth largest city for 36 years – an astounding 12 consecutive terms. After her retirement at the age of 93 – that’s 93! – she continued to dedicate herself to her community, serving on several boards and promoting many local causes.
But she had another role, as Revera’s Chief Elder Officer. In this capacity, Hazel continued her lifelong commitment to service as a strong advocate for senior living. She used to get quite a kick out of telling people she was Revera’s “other CEO.” While she was joking, she also took her status, and the impact she could make, seriously.
A Champion of Agelessness Spirit
One of the lessons Hazel taught us, and there were many, was how to live fully and with joy and purpose. Every day, no matter your age.
With her trademark good humour and compassion, she used her laser-focused, no-nonsense approach to identify opportunities and help to problem-solve.
For Revera, she championed diversity, inclusion and advocated against ageism, regularly speaking on behalf of seniors. Like all great leaders, she used her many talents to make the world a better place. She visited many long term care homes and retirement residences, always leaving a positive impression wherever she went. It’s a testament to her inspiring nature that residents, employees, and their families alike loved spending time with Hazel.
Most notably, Hazel was an advocate for Age is More, Revera’s social cause to change negative attitudes about aging. Through research, commentary and storytelling, Age is More aims to shine a spotlight on the exceptional lives of older people.
One of the last things she wrote for us was this: “I don’t think I’ve stopped for one minute in the past 50 years, but now I’m stopping to smell the roses a bit more than I used to. I think if anything, it helps me appreciate that life doesn’t have to be as fast as it used to be.”