Hazel McCallion, the matriarch of Mississauga rock climbed days before her 98th birthday!
The excitement inside Hub Climbing Mississauga had been building for months and it finally piqued on the Saturday February 9th 2019 during our Grand Opening exhibition when four regional politicians entered the 3636 Hawkestone Rd facility. Over the course of the day, each representative had a profound climbing experience.
The fun started right after the opening formalities when Mississauga Centre MPP Natalia Kusendova, and both past and present Mississauga mayors, Bonnie Crombie and Hazel McCallion and Ward 6 councilor Ron Starr lined up beside our bosses here at the gym to cut a ceremonial opening ribbon.
Another round of photos downstairs captured the giving and receiving of certificates declaring a big welcoming from Mayor Crombie, Councillor Starr and MPP Kusendova.
The caterers laid out quite a spread that afternoon. There was fruit and veggies and fingers sandwiches beside a bountiful cheese board. This was a healthy feast before the fun began.
The whole day was pretty special. But when Hazel McCallion slipped-on a climbing harness over her clothes and clipped into the top rope, we knew that some of these photos would live on forever as part of her legacy. And the shots we put on our Instagram broke the internet!
Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has a big following on Instagram (on every social network), and we knew this image was destined to be iconic the moment it was snapped. This picture is a testament to her incredible physique; being health and fit in your late nineties is the greatest test of an athlete’s body. Hazel turns 98 next week!
It’s a little-known fact that Hurricane Hazel McCallion played professional women’s hockey while attending school in Montreal. The story is that a teenage McCallion began playing hockey in the late 1920s in the town of Port Daniel, Quebec. She played there with her two sisters and was a forward on their team. McCallion later played hockey semi professionally (she was paid $5 a game) in a women’s hockey league that was sponsored by a soft drink company in the City of Montreal. And it’s clear she’s being keeping super healthy ever since.
Other dignitaries who scaled the walls that day include Ward 6 Councillor Ron Starr, and Mississauga Centre MPP Natalia Kusendova, and current Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie who really demonstrated a good natural athletic climbing style. It didn’t take her long to scale the heights in one of our harder climbing sections.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie is a natural rock climber. She made it all the way to the top of a forty five foot wall on her first go. This is just another reason why she’s so darn popular. As our city’s chief magistrate, Bonnie Crombie (incumbent) garnering nearly 80 per cent of the vote in the last municipal election (Oct. 22nd 2018) winning her second term as mayor by a landslide.
There were more than 200 roped climbs to choose from that day, as there is here everyday, and so all the guests and visiting official had lots of opportunities to test themselves and get the perfect selfie shots for their own social media channels. We live in an age of shared moments and rock climbing gyms are amazing backgrounds for selfies.
Hazel McCallion just proved what we already know; climbers of every age and skill level, from novice to expert, can get comfortable at Hub Climbing Mississauga. This is the best place in the city to learn the sport and test your skills.
Hub Climbing Mississauga is a 30,500-sq.-ft facility, the largest climbing gym in the country, and its very existence proves our organization’s commitment to the sport. “Everyone at Hub Climbing is proud of our new facility and what it can do to grow our sport and support climbing in the community,” said Hub Climbing co-owner Steven Brown. “This facility is designed for every level of expertise. It’s a welcoming place for people interested in climbing and bouldering to give it a try, for beginners to learn the sport, and for experts to challenge their skills.”