Very Popular Mayor for Over Thirty Years

Hazel McCallion

Not only has Hazel McCallion been the highly popular mayor of Mississauga for an unheard-of thirty-three years, in the most recent election, she received more than seventy-five percent of the votes. 

A lot of things have changed in Mississauga, Ontario since 1978. It has grown from a collection of small towns and villages to the sixth-largest city in Canada. But one thing has not changed since 1978—Hazel McCallion is still the mayor! After more than three decades, she is one of the longest-serving and most popular politicians Canada has ever known.

Hazel was born to a poor family in rural Quebec that couldn’t afford to send their bright daughter to university. She became a secretary instead, determined to earn her own way. Hazel didn’t mind hard work and was ready to make the best of any challenge.

After being transferred to a job in Toronto, Hazel married a man she’d met at church, and one of their wedding presents changed her life—and Canadian politics—forever. The present was a small plot of land in a little town called Streetsville, not far from Toronto.

At the time that Hazel McCallion and her husband settled in Streetsville, the area was growing rapidly. Together, they started a small newspaper and became involved in local issues. It wasn’t long before McCallion, with her keen mind and tremendous energy, was a real force in local politics. By the time that Streetsville and other towns in the area were put together to form the new city of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion was ready to run for mayor.

She not only won that first election, she has won every single election since—a remarkable string of twelve consecutive elections. McCallion became so popular that she really didn’t need to campaign, and she asked people to donate money to charity rather than to her election fund!

Running the city—in her words—“like a business” has made Mississauga one of the few debt-free cities in Canada. Her effective management and plainspoken style has kept voters loyal to her for over thirty-three years. In the most recent election—in 2010—she received more than three quarters of the votes.

Over the years, McCallion has been called a heroine for her roles in safely evacuating the city after a massive train derailment and explosion in 1979, for talking down an armed man in 2006, and for her relentless work in getting more funding and jobs for her city.

While her strong personality has at times gotten her into trouble and earned her the nickname “Hurricane Hazel,” the Mississauga mayor has also been honored with the Order of Canada and voted as one of the top mayors in the world.


This is an excerpt from the book Inspiration to Live Your MAGIC!™, 75 Inspiring Biographies by Larry Anderson. It is available as a print book from and as a Kindle e-book.


Bullying Is A Choice

Bullying is a choice. Enabling bullying, by ignoring or cheering a bully, is a choice. Bullying or enabling a bully are bad choices. Make a better choice. Reach out and support someone who has been bullied. That’s a choice can save a life.

Short Video: The Locker


Five Regrets of Dying People

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By Bonnie Ware

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Bonnie Ware is the author of the new book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.  Visit her official website Inspiration and Chai.


The Proud Canadian Soldier Project

On this Remembrance Day I recall, with gratitude and pride, a special project I was involved with in 2005, Canada’s Year of the Veteran. The Proud Canadian Soldier Project.

My friend Jay Anthony Willis, who served in the Canadian Navy, is a gifted songwriter and singer. In 1999 he wrote an amazing song, Proud Canadian Soldier, after watching the Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Ottawa and reflecting on his fathers service in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.

Jill Younghusband, a mutual friend, and an amazing vocalist and a former member of the Canadian Air Force, performed Proud Canadian Soldier at the 2004 Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Edmonton at the Butterdome. Jill’s performance evoked strong emotions and accolades from the thousands in the audience.

After hearing Jill perform the song, Captain Brian Greenwood, conductor and arranger for The Royal Canadian Artillery Band asked if he could do an arrangement of the song for the Royal Canadian Artillery Band. Jay agreed.

I will never forget the night I sat with Jay in the Myer Horowitz Theatre at the U of A as we heard Jill perform Proud Canadian Soldier with The Royal Canadian Artillery Band for the first time. Wow! The mostly veteran and military audience rose in unison with a heartfelt and enthusiastic ovation, many with tears running down their cheeks. It was one of those amazing moments when the talents of many artists come together to create something truly special.

Jay was choked up and said to me, “Jill has taken my ballerina in dance classes and turned her into a prima ballerina.”

I said, “Jay, Proud Canadian Soldier, is something really special. Would you be willing to give it away as a musical poppy in celebration of The Year of the Veteran (2005). Can you imagine school children performing Proud Canadian Soldier at Remembrance Day services across the country and radio stations playing it coast to coast on Remembrance Day.”

“Yes, Larry I would. What do you need me to do?”

“Introduce me to Captain Brian Greenwood.”

Everyone was very supportive. Jay and Captain Brian Greenwood, transferred their copyrights to my company, LIAP Media Corp. on the condition that the song and the music would be given away for non-commercial use. Jill and Captain Brian Greenwood and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band received approval and recorded the song and LIAP Media Corp. funded a few costs and owned the master recording.

Meanwhile my nephew Wesley Gunderson and I developed a website, to explain the program, to facilitate downloads of the song and to provide PDF copies of the sheet music. You can still go to the site.

I developed a public relations program, which included a national media release and a personal letter to every Member of Parliament and the Governor General. We launched the program in the fall of 2005, with enough time to learn the song for Remembrance Day 2005, The Year of the Veteran.


A Google search of “Proud Canadian Soldier” today will show a host of performances and links. My favorite is the performance by MCpl Tammy Shaw with the Governor General’s Foot Guards Regimental Band. It may be the best response I’ve ever received to a letter I’ve written.

The point of the Proud Canadian Soldier Project and Remembrance Day is to remember with gratitude and to honor the sacrifices made by Canadian service men and women past and present. I do.

One of my father’s last requests when he was dying was that I never to forget Remembrance Day, the veterans and the price paid for the freedom’s we all enjoy. “Please make sure you teach my grandchildren (my children) about Remembrance Day too and what it means.” He said.

I’m doing my best dad.

Thank you Jay, Jill, Brian and members of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band, Wesley Gunderson and the others who supported this project. Finally, thank you everyone who embraced this project and made and gave CD copies of the song to veterans in your community and said thank you to them in person. This is still a good idea.


Terry Fox – Hero


Terry Fox

When a teenager gets cancer and then loses a leg at age 20, you might forgive him for giving up on any big dreams. But Canadian Terry Fox refused to give up. In fact, he started dreaming bigger than ever.

Terry was determined to raise money for cancer research to help other young people. So, he decided to do something no-one had ever done before — to run some five thousand miles across Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, on one real and one artificial leg.

Terry prepared for 18 months running over 5000 kilometers (3,107 miles).
He set out quietly on April 12, 1980, dipping his artificial leg in the waters of Newfoundland. Starting that day, and every day that followed, he ran 25 miles. Through rain and shine, despite pain and exhaustion, from early morning darkness to long after sunset, he ran the equivalent of a marathon every day.

By halfway through his run, Terry had captured the hearts of his nation. Huge crowds appeared by the sides of lonely highways to cheer him on. He visited the notorious Kingston Penitentiary and the hardened inmates wept at his courage and determination.

Terry never finished his heroic run. His cancer spread to his lungs and he was forced to quit on September 1, 1980 near Thunder Bay, Ontario after running for 143 days and 5,373 kilometers (3,339 miles).

Terry’s goal was to raise $1 dollar for every Canadian to fund cancer research, a total of $24 Million. When Terry had to quit his raise a groundswell of support from across Canada inspired by Terry’s courage continued the fundraising efforts and by February 1, 1981 Terry’s Marathon of Hope had raised the $24 Million.

Terry got to see his dream realized, but on June 28, 1981, at the age of 22, Terry Fox died of the disease he had battled so hard.

Terry inspired new dreams, new commitment, to follow his example and continue to raise money for cancer research through Terry Fox Runs. In 1988 the Terry Fox Foundation was established to coordinate and manage Terry’s legacy. To date, Spring 2011, close to $500 Million has been raised for cancer research and over 5,000 locations in Canada plan a Terry Fox Run this September.

Terry Fox is remembered by Canadians as their greatest hero of all time, and the best example of courage in action.


This is a excerpt from my forthcoming book, Inspiration to Live Your MAGIC!™ to be published in January 2012. A collection of 75 biographical introductions that inspire. © Copyright 2011, LIAP Media Corp.

LIAP Media Corp. the publisher of the Live Your MAGIC!™ series of books is a social enterprise. Part of the Larry & Janet Anderson Philanthropies.

All author Royalties and publishing profits are donated to our charity, education and arts partners.

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