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Toronto Star - Aug. 1, 2010 - By Christopher Hume Urban Issues, Architecture - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hume: Hogtied in Hazel McCallion Country
Howdy partner. Welcome to Mississauga. If you’re aimin’ to get funny, you can leave right now. But if you’re lookin’ to settle down in a nice little homestead next to a mall, you’ve come to the right place. Just head on down that six-lane trail.
This here’s McCallion Country; Boss Hazel runs things ’round here. Always has. For as long as anyone can remember, Boss Hazel has worn the sheriff’s badge. Her word is law in these parts. Folks here love that woman. Tough as nails she is; even at her age, she makes grown men quake in their boots. Cross her and you better just hightail it out of Mississauga, the sixth largest town in the West.
A word, friend: keep an eye out for the son. Boss Hazel’s son, that is. He’s the one in the big black hat, big black boots, big black shirt and big black heart. Name’s Pete, Black Pete. Folks ’round here don’t know what to make of that dude.
Some reckon he’s the smartest whipper-snapper they’ve seen in Mississauga. Always schemin’, he is, workin’ on some deal or other, mostly to do with buildin’. There’s a lotta land round here and folks gotta build. Lotta money to be made buildin’ in McCallion Country.
Others figure he’s a doggone fool, runnin’ ’round on his Ma’s coattails, always tryin’ to pull a fast one. Why, only a while ago, Pete got into a little dust-up with some fellers from Alberta. Tried to buy a piece of land from the varmints. Almost did it, too, till they figured out who his Ma was. Then they were outta town so fast we couldn’t see ’em for dust.
Landed Pete in a heap o’ trouble with the do-gooders; a bunch of fancy-pants lawyers from the Big Smoke showed up to ask questions. Turned out no one had even told Pete he was part-owner of the company he was representin’.
Mighty embarrassin’ that was. I tell you, if they didn’t love Boss Hazel like they do, folks ’round here woulda hogtied Pete and dropped him off on the edge of town. Specially after what he done to his Ma, misleadin’ her an’ all ’bout his business dealins.
But others figure cowboys will be cowboys. Besides, Hazel would never let things get so outta hand she couldn’t lasso them back in when she needed to. A meetin’ here, a meetin’ there.
That’s the kinda boss Hazel is; the kinda boss Mississauga needs. Folks ’round here too busy lookin’ after theirselves to care much about what goin’ on downtown. They leave that to her.
Thanks to Boss Hazel, Mississauga’s the best damn burg around, and did I tell you, the sixth biggest in the Great White North. Not much room left for ranchin’ with so many homesteaders stakin’ claims. The buffalo ain’t roamed here in many a moon.
They call it progress, pilgrim, and if you don’t like it, you know where you can go. Otherwise, follow that line of wagons heading west, then turn north on Hurontario. Yes sir, we call it Big Buy Country. There’s space here for a man to park his cars and till his field.
But until Boss Hazel proved herself the bravest of them all, used to be that women ran scared and men stayed off the street, even at night. Not now. But like I said, watch out for Pete and don’t sell no land to anyone claimin’ to be Hazel’s son.
Say, is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just glad to be here?
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