Lieutenant Governor at Bravery Park Opening

After years of planning and fundraising, Bravery Park opened today, north of the Alder Recreation Centre. Bravery Park promotes awareness and understanding of the sacrifices and struggles our Canadian Forces experience in their efforts to promote peace at home and around the world. It is a peaceful, educational space where the realities of war, bravery, freedom and healing are embedded in every aspect of the park. 

Accompanied by a military parade, a Snowbirds fly-by, and attendance by Canadian Forces representatives, the grand opening featured keynote speaker Jody Mitic, a retired elite sniper who served in Afghanistan. Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, was on hand to inspect the troops and officially open the park, with Dufferin-Caledon MP Kyle Seeback, and Solicitor General, MPP Sylvia Jones, Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown and other dignitaries in attendance. 

Bravery Park was inspired by the life and service of Cpl. Matthew McCully, a member of Canada’s elite Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, responsible for training the Afghan National forces. On May 25, 2007, while conducting a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol west of Kandahar, Cpl. McCully stepped on an improvised explosive device. He died not only trying to protect his country, but training Afghan soldiers to protect their own.  

Cpl. McCully’s mother, Valerie McGrady and sister, Shannon McGrady, turned their grief into a vision of creating a living testament to Canadian soldiers. A fundraising campaign over several years raised more than $200,000 and saw the creation of a Bravery Park Committee. The Town donated the land, staff assistance, and a $5,000 community matching grant.

Orangeville’s Bravery Park features several installations: statue featuring a Canadian soldier and two Afghan children, memorial stone honouring Canadian Forces personnel, traditional medicine garden and wheel, tempered glass art, children’s playground, five donated meaningful benches, wheelchair accessible picnic table, park signage, interpretive plaques, and donor dedications, and gardens and plantings.


“Canada does an incredible job of honouring our fallen soldiers. Our family has received the utmost respect and support since Matthew’s passing. However, many Canadians remains unaware of the daily sacrifices our troops make in service to Canada. They sacrifice months, even years, with loved ones to complete humanitarian and environmental missions all over the world. Some of these missions expose them to extreme poverty and danger, often having a lasting impact on their mental health.  Bravery Park will help foster a culture of support so that our soldiers know they are supported both on and off the battleground.” 

– Shannon McGrady, Cpl. Matthew McCully’s sister and Chair of the Bravery Park Committee 

“Bravery Park is a beautiful place to pay tribute to our peacekeepers. A place that allows for commemoration of the past, for coming together and healing, and that also provides a path for the future. All of us must be encouraged to reflect on everyone, throughout the years, who served to protect us, not only in times of conflict, but any time assistance was needed – in our long-term care homes during this pandemic, during climate-related disasters like wildfires and floods, and serving on United Nations peacekeeping missions. So much needs to be done to support veterans and their families both while they serve, and afterwards. It is time for us to be there for those who have been here for us.”

– Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell