Origin of Steep Rock's name:
The Post Office opened in 1915 on 33-28-10W as Steeprock and changed to Steep Rock in 1937. Also, a Canadian National Railway Point named in 1914 after a large, steep cliff of limestone on the shore. Later adopted by the Geographic Board of Canada as Steeprock Point. The School District name was recorded as both Steep Rock and Steeprock.
"The hands of those who cultivated and foraged this land still join with ours today in celebration of life...................."
In the fall of 1913, Canada Cement Lafarge Co. opened the Quarry pit for operation. The plant operated only in the summer months during the thirties, which led people to supplement their incomes through winter fishing and farming. These industries caused Steep Rock to become a growing and thriving community.
The year 1913 was significant for Steep Rock; The Railroad and telephone service arrived and two stores and a fish shed were built by the Fairford Trading Co. and The Armstrong Trading Co. From 1914 until 1919, a cream boat service; passenger train service; school and telephone were added. The United Church missionaries arrived in 1923, which eventually led to the building of the church in 1957.
During my interviews, I found one person who is fondly remembered for his generosity and community mindfulness. Fiddi Snidal, owner of the General Store, extended credit for long periods which allowed many families the opportunity to continue on. Eric Hjartarson (age 81) recalled the incident when Fiddi loaned money to a hired hand so he could attend his mother’s funeral.
In spite of all the hard work required, Steep Rock had a unique presence of fun and laughter. Ed Bednarek (age 72) and Lynden Shiells (age 78) recall fond memories of many dances held in town especially New Year’s. The arrival of as many as thirty cabooses from far and near presented an air of excitement to be rivalled only by the enchanting music of Simon Nord; Ruben Larson and Harry Wallman. Ed and Lynden mentioned that there were a lot of activities for the children, and recall the 9:00 p.m curfew that always provided a challenge.
The uniqueness of Steep Rock is not only told in it’s history of hard work; perseverance and love of life, but it is also displayed in it’s natural beauty. Steep Rock will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who explore it.