Skip to content

Remembrance service honours Sir Sam Steele

Officials from OPP, RCMP, Grey and Simcoe Foresters join political representatives and others at special service at St. George Fairvalley

More than 100 people, including members of the church congregation and local dignitaries, turned out to a special service of remembrance held at St. George Anglican Church in Oro-Medonte.

“This day is a day to honour everyone,” said Rosemary Athron, a member of the church congregation.

Sunday morning's service began with Rev. Phil Morley, a military chaplain, introducing the special guests that were in attendance including officials from the OPP, RCMP, Strathconas, the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, members of the military, and the public.

Morley shared his own personal military service journey as a military chaplain.

“I have travelled all around the world including places like Iraq and Afghanistan and have brought church services and remembrance services to many military bases around the world that didn’t have a church or church services,” he said.

During his speech, Morley noted his most memorable service — one that sticks with him.

“I remember being called out to CFB Cold Lake Alberta to perform a service for the 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron after one of their pilots was killed, and the thing that sticks with me is the final salute known as the missing man formation the pilots do," said Morley. "It’s something to see and not a dry eye on the base when it happened."

After his touching and moving speech, Morley proceeded with the church’s regular service held every Sunday at the church.

After the church service was over, the church held their Remembrance Day ceremony.

A moment of silence was heard as Mike Smith played the trumpet followed by piper Sgt. Paul Connell playing the bagpipes.

In Flanders Fields was read out by OPP Supt. Mike McDonnell, Sgt. Michelle Welsh of the RCMP and Insp. Tim Dell’Anna of the RCMP.

Following that, local dignitaries, law enforcement officials, military officials and others who were in attendance laid wreaths inside the church.

On top the Remembrance Day ceremony, the church also held a special ceremony to honour Maj. Gen. Sir Samuel Steele.

Steele was a Canadian soldier and policeman. During his policing career, he was an officer of the North-West Mounted Police, now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Steele was the commanding officer of Strathcona's Horse during the Boer War.

In 1832, Steele’s family donated donated 100 acres of their 1,000-acre wooded estate as an endowment for a parish church and eight acres for a church building and cemetery. The family continued to live on the property until the later 1900s. Though the family no longer lives in the area, the property still remains.

The special ceremony started out at the church with a salute and immediately after, an honour march parade took place all the way down to the Steele monument on the old Steele home site in Fairvalley, not far from the church and cemetery.

Members of the church and officials from local agencies marched down to the monument where another moment of silence took place as well as another wreath laying and a special bagpipe salute all to honour Sir Sam Steele.

After both services were completed, a luncheon and tea was held at the church.

The Sir Sam Steele monument is located at the top of the hill on the curve hill just down the road from the entrance to St. George Fairvalley if you would like to go look and stand on the original property.

In addition, if you would like to know more about the history of the church and the connection is has to Sir Sam Steele, click here.