Harold “Harry” Steele was born in the outport community of Musgrave Harbour in 1929.
He was a base Commander in Gander when he bought the Albatross Motel back in 1969. He later began working for Eastern Provincial Airlines, which he purchased in the mid 1970s.
In 1980 Steele founded Newfoundland Capital Corporation, which now has almost 100 radio stations across Canada, and continues to sit as chairman of the board of directors after stepping down as CEO in 2002.
Steele also became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992.
Because of his contributions to the area, Gander mayor Claude Elliott was more than happy to step to the podium on July 28 to declare the community centre will know be known as the Steele Community Centre in his honour.
“Mr. Steele has had many businesses here in Gander, even when EPA moved we thought this was going to be the end, but not Mr. Steele, he stayed here,” said Elliott.
“He’s purchased hotels and built upon what they’ve established here, he lives here, he’s a part of Gander and it’s a real honour to rename the centre in his name.”
Surrounded by family, a modest Steele took the podium, calling the town’s gesture a very humbling experience that was very much appreciated.
“When I came to Gander with my family in 1969 as commanding officer of the station I never dreamed that one day the community centre would bear the Steele name,” he said.
“My military training helped enormously in identifying the business opportunities in Gander and provided the skills to make them a reality.”
But family over business appeared to be key for Steele, which gave having his name on the community centre that much more meaning.
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the role that my life long partner Catherine played in all of our lives. Without her hard work and support I wouldn’t be standing before you today. The honour is just as much hers as mine,” he said.
“Gander is a great town and a great place to raise a family. My family was blessed to grow up here and I’m very pleased the Steele Community Centre will play a positive role in the life of families for years to come.”