Here’s a look at some incredible women of Mississauga
Published March 8, 2022 at 12:53 pm
Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day dedicated to the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of the women around us.
So, we take the time to celebrate the women in our lives and all the things they have done to get us where we are now, whether the achievements were big or small or anywhere in between.
To celebrate this day, we’ve identified some incredible Mississauga women who have bridged the gender gap and shown how valuable women are in our city and far beyond its borders.
It was challenging to put the list together because Mississauga has so many incredible women from which to choose. The city has long been governed by female mayors and boasts six women on City council and many other women in influential positions.
Here’s a look at some of Mississauga’s most notable women who have made an impact on the city and beyond:
Since being elected in 2014, Mayor Bonnie Crombie has made a splash in Mississauga.
Before becoming mayor, she was a Liberal MP for the riding of Mississauga–Streetsville from 2008-2011. She was also a councillor for Ward 5 from 2011-2014.
Crombie’s endorsement from Hazel McCallion may have helped secure her victory in the 2014 mayor’s race, but her achievements since then have spoken for themselves. They include, but are not limited to, her aim to tackle poverty and homelessness, her international strategies and her management of other social and political issues.
This list couldn’t possibly be complete without a nod to our former mayor, Hazel McCallion, who turned 101 last month.
Anyone born and raised in Mississauga during her reign knows the depths of her impact on the city. Many argue that no one could have run the city better. Others may see things differently on that front, but one thing is certain–she will not be forgotten.
Though McCallion left office in 2014, her continued appearances around the city give us our fill. She has received countless honours and eponyms over the years. Whether you agree or disagree with her policies, you can’t deny that she was a larger-than-life force that propelled our city from a small bedroom community into a thriving semi-urban area.
McCallion was definitely a formidable force–a strong and determined female leader who ruled for over 30 years. That says something.
Last September, Rechie Valdez became the first-ever Filipina-Canadian to be elected a Member of Parliament when she won the race in the riding of Mississauga-Streetsville.
Valdez, who handily defeated Conservative Jasveen Rattan as part of a Liberal sweep in Mississauga, is the second Filipino-Canadian to be in the House of Commons. Rey Pagtakhan represented the Liberals in Winnipeg North from 1988 to 2004.
“I am so proud to stand here with all of you in this history-making moment,” Valdez told supporters after her historic win. “Today we make history and her-story, as you helped elect the first Filipina in parliament. I thank you for believing in me, for trusting me…and for being present.
Valdez spent 15 years in corporate banking and also boasts a wide range of entrepreneurial and community service experiences. As she states, she “became a baker, podcaster, non-profit executive, apparel marketer and basketball newbie in a few short years, just before turning 40.”
She says she has always been a community builder.
Never Have I Ever star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, 20, was among the Canadians on Time magazine’s 100 Next list released early last year.
In Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, Ramakrishnan plays the lead role of a first-generation Indian-American dealing with the death of her father and the hormone-fuelled challenges of adolescence.
Ramakrishnan auditioned for the part in the coming-of-age comedy series after seeing an open casting call on social media. She beat out some 15,000 other hopefuls and went on to receive an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance.
Ramakrishnan made the “Phenoms” section of Time’s list, which is an expansion of the magazine’s flagship Time 100 franchise that highlights emerging leaders. The profiles are written by Time 100 alumni.
Comedy star and Never Have I Ever co-creator Mindy Kaling wrote the profile of the Tamil-Canadian performer in the Time article. She wrote Ramakrishnan is a “gifted comic actress” who “has an activist’s heart and wants to use her platform to help others.”
Although Mona Awad isn’t quite as famous as, say, Hazel McCallion (who is?), she’s an incredibly talented author whose debut novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, was shortlisted for a prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize. The book also won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
The biting, funny and poignant memoir-style novel is spectacular and more than worth a read. We actually wrote quite a bit about it here. The novel is partially set in Mississauga, the city where Awad was raised, and even opens in the McDonald’s at Burnhamthorpe and Wolfedale Rds. The 43-year-old novelist studied literature at York University, Brown University and the University of Denver. Her work has been published in The Walrus, St. Petersburg Review and Maisonneuve.
She currently lives in Boston.
Fran Rider was one of the founders of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association and has proven herself to be quite a powerhouse in the sports industry in Ontario.
She was the first female recipient of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association’s Award of Merit and the first woman to receive the Ontario Hockey Association’s Minor Hockey Service Award.
Rider is a member of both the Mississauga Sports Hall of Fame and the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. Her contributions have helped shape the world of women’s hockey.
Mississauga inducted Rider into Legend’s Row in 2015, a relatively new but prestigious ceremony and award that honours the contributions of well-known people who live in or are from the city.
Canadian champion rower Silken Laumann was born in Toronto Township, known today as Mississauga. She has made a name for herself winning numerous awards and medals, including two gold medals in single sculls rowing at the Pan Am Games, and a gold medal in quadruple sculls at the U.S. championships.
In May of 1992, just as the Olympic Games approached, she was injured in a rowing accident that shattered her right leg. Though she was told by doctors she may never row again, after a mere 27 days and five operations, she was back at it and in August of the same year, she won the bronze medal for Canada.
More than being an Olympian, Laumann is now an author and inspirational speaker and is a symbol of strength and hope.
She was inducted into Legend’s Row in 2014.
Mississauga tennis phenom Bianca Andreescu had an electric year on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour just over two years ago.
In 2019, Andreescu saw her WTA ranking skyrocket into the top five in the world. Her rapid ascent was a result of Premier titles at Indian Wells and Rogers Cup as well as a Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open. Andreescu is the only Canadian in the Open Era, male or female, to win a Grand Slam singles title and the youngest Grand Slam champion since 2004.
She capped off a memorable 2019 with two more prestigious awards–the 2019 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete of the year and the WTA Newcomer of the Year award.
Andreescu’s U.S. Open win also prompted the creation of the She The North Rally at Celebration Square in Mississauga. The September 2019 event attracted thousands, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In December 2019, Andreescu was also named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year.
After spending 15 months away from competition, Andreescu returned to action at the 2021 Australian Open, her first Grand Slam tournament since her 2019 U.S. Open run. She was eliminated in an upset in the second round.
Last July, the Mississaugan entered Wimbledon as the fifth seed, but was upset in the first round. At last year’s U.S. Open, she made it to the fourth round.
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