Committed to Community

Cedric Steele’s philosophy of taking care of others has served him well

Cedric Steele

Cedric Steele

It was on a South African farm where Cedric Steele adopted his dedication to taking care of others.

“I was taught very early to look after all those in your village, because they were really your responsibility,” Steele says nearly 60 years later, in the office he’s occupied for 30 years, overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

“That stayed with me all my life.”

Steele’s biography contains no shortage of projects he’s taken on – and asked why he became involved with the multitude of boards, committees and non-profits, his answer always comes back to service.

As a member of the local Salvation Army’s advisory board, he helped improve the organization’s Christmas kettles campaign by encouraging businesses to become corporate sponsors.

Noticing a TV commercial for an initiative called Crime Stoppers in Hawaii in the 1980s, he brought the idea back to the Victoria police board and helped launch Crime Stoppers’ local branch.

His involvement on the board for the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health was slightly more personal, having lost the use of his left arm to polio at age 12, he adds, “I thought I would like to serve and help the children.”

Outside his many community-minded endeavours, Steele has two businesses. He has owned and operated Prospect Lake Golf Course since 1974 and is president of Cedric Steele Realty, which he founded in 1972.

That latter business, located on Wharf Street and lending Steele his stunning harbour-view office, also gave him the means to dedicate himself to so many extra-curricular activities, he says.

“I always believed if you would keep a property for 50 years and not sell it, I would be in a position now where my family doesn’t have to worry about money.”

Steele also took on the task of “building a bridge” between the navy and the rest of the Victoria community.

“I wanted to reopen this dialogue because I hear (military) people say it was uncomfortable coming downtown because of the way they were treated. That was probably 20 years ago. Now I hear people say they’re proud to be in their uniforms.”

He was named Honorary Captain of CFB Esquimalt in 1997 and in that time, sailed on several warships, and brought the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to Canadian waters.

Steele and retired Rear Admiral Ken Summers co-chaired a committee that gathered enough funding to install the Homecoming statue at Ship Point for the navy’s 100th anniversary.

The committee raised enough money to install a second statue there. That installation happens May 1.

Despite making community service a priority, Steele says he has a mandate on caring for those closest to him. “It’s like the ripples of a pebble in a pond – the first circle is family, then there’s all the people outside your family who are related to you,” he says.

Next, there’s the small scale-village of acquaintances and friends, and finally, the larger village that encompasses the whole city.

The 67-year-old adds he’s got about 20 years of service left in him.

“I think life is a runway. I’m probably three-quarters of the way down this runway of life and I still see some things in the distance I want to do.”

ecardone@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Construction will begin soon on a building in Victoria designed for families and seniors with low to moderate household incomes. (Black Press Media file photo)
New building in Victoria aimed at providing more affordable homes for families, seniors

Four-storey building will provide 58 homes for residents with low to moderate household incomes

Victoria police are looking for the owner of a pink and white bike they recovered in North Park. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for owner of child’s bike

Officers recovered the pink and white bike in North Park

A report on food security in Sooke reveals that nearly 15 per cent of people in Sooke have trouble getting food on the table. (The Canadian Press)
Food security a growing challenge in Sooke

‘This isn’t going to get any better if we don’t do anything about it’

Four residents and two cats were displaced from their home in James Bay when a fire broke out Sunday afternoon. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
No injuries in James Bay house fire

Fire broke out at about 2 p.m. Sunday

A single-vehicle incident impacted the morning commute on the Pat Bay Highway. (Black Press Media file photo)
TRAFFIC: Single-vehicle incident closes section of Pat Bay

Northbound traffic down to one lane, southbound reopened

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Most Read