Archive for April 6th, 2009

Welcome to Mississauga

The population of Mississauga is approximately 700,000, making Mississauga the 6th largest city in Canada. Boris Johnson, eat your heart out, but Mississauga is probably the only city in the entire world which is “Debt Free”.

The following short video will show you how the city is run by Hazel McCallion (age 88) who was first elected Mayor of Mississauga in November, 1978, and is the longest serving Mayor in the City’s history. She was acclaimed in 1980, re-elected in 1982 and 1985, acclaimed again in 1988 and re-elected in 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006. Eleven elections to date!

In the video you will hear that she was hit by a truck a few years ago. She was OK but the truck had to go in for repair!

The city’s website states: In 1991, Mayor McCallion became the first Mayor of a major municipality to submit the annual operating budget to residents for their input and scrutiny. She is also among the first mayors of major municipalities to be openly committed to a pay-as-you-go philosophy. The City has not had to borrow money since 1978 and is currently debt-free with reserves of Can$700,000,000. (As far as I can make out, she is not related, in any way, to Baroness Margaret Thatcher!)

If you take a look at Wikipedia you will learn more about this remarkable woman, including the following honours so far awarded to her:

  • In 2005 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada. She is also one of the few non-Germans to be a Member of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

  • She ranked second in the 2005 international World Mayor poll, behind only Dora Bakoyannis of Athens.

  • The University of Toronto at Mississauga has named their new library and academic learning centre after McCallion, in appreciation for the support offered to the campus in its growth and development.

  • The Peel Board of Education has named a school after her: the Hazel McCallion Senior Public School.

  • Four different Hazel McCallion bobblehead dolls have been made.

  • Bell Mobility commemorated her achievements with a ringtone featuring her saying “Answer the phone! This is Hazel McCallion calling from the great city of Mississauga.” All proceeds from the ringtone sale will go to charity

  • She was named “American Woman of the Year” in Who’s Who of American Women, as well as “Woman of the Year 2001” by an international business lobby

  • The Delta Meadowvale Hotel has a Hazel McCallion Room in her honour

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How much do you pay for a cup of coffee?

In the UK, the going price for a cup of coffee in London is £1.85 for an “Americana”. This consists of a cup of medium size black coffee with a small jug of cold milk on the side. We are assailed by advertising that 70% of people prefer Costa’s coffee to Starbucks. And I have to admit, I have always thought they were the best of the chains and Starbucks the worst. So I will talk about Costa.

Many people buy much more fanciful coffees and pay up to £5 a cup and, no matter how much people earn, I do find this difficult to understand. What on earth are their objectives when visiting a coffee bar? Mine are either to waste a little time between appointments, pass a little time with clients or friends, or have a shot of caffeine to keep me awake. One thing it is not is to gorge myself in thick cream or lots of milky froth. Or to waste money I could more productively use elsewhere.

This is not to say I don’t appreciate the taste of coffee. I am a coffee fanatic. But I like the taste of coffee a lot more than I like the taste of milk or froth. I spent £725 on a “beans to cup” coffee machine which makes really professional coffee. And I have discovered a half priced pachaged coffee from I.K.E.A. Apart from assemble-your-own furniture, their stores have a small Swedish shop by the checkouts where you can buy all sorts of foods from Sweden. Their coffee, at £1.15 for a 250 gram bag is much less that half of the price of a bag from the Supermarkets and tastes 100% better. For example, Tesco’s top of the range at £2.80.

Using my machine, 250 grams make 36 cups of coffee – I have just measured it for this article. That is 3.2p per cup of first rate adorable coffee. And 58 cups of this excellent coffee work out at the same price of a single Costa, Starbucks or any other of the chain coffee shop Americana coffee..

How much do you pay for your coffee? If you just drink one cup each working day in a coffee bar, that works out at £481 a year for an Americana. However, if you drink the top of the range fancy coffee, then you are paying up to £1,300 a year. If you buy three cups a day, then you are paying between £1,443 and £3,900 a year. This is sheer madness. If I were still working, I would take a flask to work to cut down most of my expenditure. A cup of my home coffee for a 7 day week for the year works out at £11.65, or £34.95 if I have three cups a day.

Those of you still in jobs who think they can afford to ignore this must be very, very sure that their jobs are secure.


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