A Strong Community with a Strong History
The Rural Municipality of Grahamdale
The RM of Grahamdale has communities within its jurisdiction: Mulvihill; Grahamdale; Camper; Hilbre; Faulkner; Moosehorn; Steep Rock; Fairford; Gypsumville; and, St. Martin.
The RM began as The Local District of Grahamdale; it was formed January 1, 1945. All assets of the existing school districts were vested in The Local Government District of Grahamdale, namely; Allenby, Aston Villa, Bayton, Birch Bay, Blairholm, Byng, Carn Ridge, Crossen, Davis Point, Fairford, Fox, Grahamdale, Gypsumville, Heaton, Hilbre, Idylwild, Karpaty, Kissman, Longridge, Lonewood, Martin, Moosehorn, New Scotland, Scandia, Springburn, Steep Rock, Van Dusen, Walmore, Woodale, Barnwald, Kirkfield, New Home, Parker, and Silver Bay.
The first office was situated in the Hamlet of Grahamdale, named after the earliest settler, Mr. Graham, until the building burned in 1969. An office was rented in Ashern until 1972 when the Administration Office was constructed in Moosehorn. Unfortunately, records were lost in the fire. The first meeting recorded was held on Tuesday, April 1, 1969.
Occupations in the area consist of farming, ranching, fishing, small business owners, credit union branch, corporate citizens such as Continental Lime Ltd. and Lafarge Canada, open pit mining and forestry. Canadian Forces Station Gypsumville (Pineimuta) left the area in 1987. On January 1, 1997 the LGD of Grahamdale became the RM of Grahamdale.
The Village of Steep Rock
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 was named in 1914 after a massive cliff of limestone on the shore. It was 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 1930s, 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, the 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 9PM curfew that always provided a challenge.
The uniqueness of Steep Rock is not only told in its history of hard work, perseverance and love of life but it is also displayed in its natural beauty. Steep Rock will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who explore it.