“Whatever it is that anger and outrage are helping you to accomplish, love will do a better job.” These were the words of Lianne Hovingh at a November 28, 2020 funeral service at Manitoulin Secondary School in M’Chigeeng, Ontario for her husband, Provincial Constable Marc Hovingh, of the Manitoulin Detachment. Fellow OPP Provincial Constable Marie Ford assumed the role of a family liaison, and carried Marc’s hat behind eight of his fellow officers who were pallbearers for a giant of a man inside a casket draped with a large Ontario flag later presented to Lianne and family by OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique who stated “I am very confident that his competence and commitments very likely saved others from enormous risk that unknowingly awaited them that day. Truly nothing short of heroic.”

Marc was killed in the line of duty on November 19th in Gore Bay, Ontario on Manitoulin Island by a lone gunman after responding to a call for a trespasser. Marc is survived by his wife Lianne and children Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sarah.

On  Monday, November 23rd, the entire province paid tribute to Marc in a “Highway of Heroes” style escort of his body back home to Manitoulin Island from the Coroner’s Office in Toronto. Personnel from several police services, first responders, members of the military, government dignitaries, and  community members, lined roadways and bridges for the six hour drive back to the Island.

In Espanola, an entire youth hockey team could be seen tapping their sticks on the roadway as the escort passed. By the time the procession reached the final destination of Little Current, it was dark, and the streets were lined with supporters for as far as one could see. The sound of Indigenous drummers and singers and a helicopter were the only sounds breaking the eight minute silence as the escort crossed the bridge onto Manitoulin Island and came to a stop for Marc’s loved ones to welcome him home.

When Marc’s body was taken to Mindemoya Missionary Church for his visitation on Friday, November 27th,  the entire town of Mindemoya closed down and lined the streets.  A large Canadian flag was draped across the road between two hydro trucks. All of the medical staff at the local hospital stood out front with tears in their eyes and blue cardboard hearts held to their chests.

Signs were everywhere on Manitoulin Island supporting Marc and the policing community. The Island adapted blue as their colour for this mourning period.

Mindemoya resident Dave Clark, was among those offering informal tributes and said, “When Marc Hovingh talked to you, he talked to you. He was not going to the door or say see you later, he would stop and talk to you. That is something that a lot of folks don’t do and something that Marc did and it certainly stands out in my mind.”

At the visitation he was remembered by many as a kind and caring man. “He made us feel safe. It’s not a violent area and so sometimes we have a false sense of security.” “We always used to joke around. He had the lightest heart and the biggest heart for people and was a very giving, self-sacrificing man.”

Manitoulin Secondary School Principal Jamie Mohamed shared that he had collaborated with Marc for the success and safety of the students for over twenty years. Beaverhouse First Nation and the family of the late Provincial Constable Jennifer Landry provided blue and black ribbons for all funeral attendees.

The Honourable Premier Doug Ford, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and The Honourable Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General attended the funeral which was conducted under strict COVID-19 protocols.

At the conclusion of the funeral community members gathered for a final farewell as the procession wound its way around Manitoulin Island before a private burial at a local cemetery.

Upon leaving Manitoulin Island after the funeral, one could not help but carry the love conveyed by Lianne and all people on the Island home with each and every one of us. Marc was a hero in life, not death.

We extend our deepest condolences to Marc’s family, his friends and colleagues and we all share in the loss of a husband, father, friend and police officer who made the world a better place for countless others.