The oldest and historic cemeteries in Ontario

The historical importance of Ontario is not just visible in the buildings and cultural sites of the province. It may sound queer to some, but the area is also home to some of the oldest and most historic burial grounds.

The cemeteries are remarkable examples of the contemporary architecture with statues and chapels dating back many years. People who love history and architecture would love to visit such beautiful cemeteries, but there are also people who are afraid of the cemeteries, old crypts and headstones, and while their friends or family members are looking for ancestors’ graves, they prefer to wait somewhere nearby trying to disctract themselves with watching memes or playing games. By the way, if sometimes you look for timekilling websites and you love gambling – try NBSO casino online gaming guide, where you will come across a great number of reviews and helpful information (Ici vous pouvez lire des informations utiles en visitant le célèbre guide de casino en ligne si vous parlez français).

Some of the cemeteries are maintained while may unmarked ones exist all over the province. Let’s take a look at the oldest cemeteries in Ontario which deserve a mention.

St. James’ Cemetery

St. James’ Cemetery is historically among the oldest cemeteries still functioning in central Toronto. It is one of the earliest burial grounds being opened in 1844 and located in Parliament Street and Bloor Street.

The Chapel of St. James-the-Less inside the burial ground is a fine example of Gothic Revival church architecture. The construction with rough cut stone and steep roofs and low side walls is a wonder of creation at those times.

The Government of Canada has deemed the cemetery and chapel as important displays of Gothic Revival trend in 1990. The cemetery has more than 89,000 burials to this day. There is also a crematorium which was added in 1948.

Toronto Necropolis

Located near Riverdale Farm in the western part of Don Valley, the Toronto Necropolis is one of the oldest cemeteries in Ontario. The historic cemetery dates back to 1850 when it was opened to take place of “Strangers’ Burying Ground.”

Today the cemetery is well maintained with beautiful greenery and interesting architecture. You can take a tour of the Victorian buildings and witness the huge collection of statues and sculptures.

The entrance portrays the unique Victorian Gothic architecture which is also prominent from the chapel. More than 50,000 people have been buried here and some graves are from the World War I and II time.

Many famous Ontarians like William Lyon Mackenzie, the first mayor of Toronto rest here. You can also find the graves of the Toronto Telegram founder John Ross Robertson, world champion rower Ned Hanlan and other personalities.

There is also a separate section containing the remains of 984 Early Settlers of the Town of York.

 Hamilton Cemetery

The cemetery located on York Boulevard is the oldest in the city of Hamilton. It started its operation during the 1850s and had three different burial sites.

Till 1892 the Christ Church Grounds, Burlington Heights Cemetery and the Church of Ascension Grounds were managed separately. But due to financial constraints the three burial grounds were brought together and named the Hamilton Cemetery. The responsibility of maintenance was taken by the City of Hamilton.

The cemetery is the final resting ground of many mayors of Hamilton like Colin Campbell Ferrie, Herbert Earl Wilton and Samuel Lawrence. You can also find graves of many Senators, artists and politicians. It also has the grave of Isabella Whyte who was supposedly Queen Victoria’s half-sister.

Many family vaults like the Stinson Family Mausoleum, the Sanford Vault and others are located here. The tree stumps carved from stones and the George Hamilton monument are also worth witnessing.


County famous and historical personalities

Elgin County has been the home to many historical personalities. From economists, politicians to noted actors, famous people of different professions were either born or used to live here. They have contributed heavily towards the country and also the United States.

Here are three of the top historical figures from Elgin County with a short bio of each. Brush up your history lessons!

Horace Harvey

Horace Harvey has remained an important name in the legal world in Canada. Born in Elgin County in October 1863, he went on to become the longest serving Chief Justice of Alberta.

After getting his degree in law, Harvey started practicing in a firm in Alberta. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Alberta in 1907. Change in power forced Harvey to initiate a legal case in the Supreme Court in Alberta where he was declared the Chief Justice. The ruling was again overruled and he finally attained the position in 1924.

Harvey had an important role in the 1918 Conscription Stand Off. During the hearing of the writ of habeas corpus in court, Harvey went on to oppose the conscription alone. This encouraged other habeas corpus to be filed with the government creating problems for the state.

Harvey had also developed the Alberta Rules of Court during 1914.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Galbraith is one of the most famous and historic personalities to be born in Elgin County. He was an internationally recognized political advisor and economist. He was born in October 1908 in Dunwich Township, Elgin.

He was also an acclaimed adviser to American presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Galbraith supported American liberalism whole heartedly and wrote many bestsellers on economic topics.

Some of his most important works include the American Capitalism, The Affluent Society and The New Industrial State. He had thirty six books under his name and wrote many essays and journals on a variety of subjects. The Nobel Prize winner Economist Amartya Sen considers Galbraith the most widely read over the world.

Galbraith had also held many important positions throughout his career. He taught economics at the Harvard University for fifty years and also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was even made the US Ambassador to India by President Kennedy during his time. He also became the American Economic Association’s president in 1972.

Mitchell Hepburn

Mitchell Hepburn was a well known politician who served as the 11th Premier of Ontario. He had the record of becoming the Premier of Ontario at the youngest age of 37. He served from 1934 to 1942.

Hepburn was born in St. Thomas but moved to Elgin County for his schooling. He won the provincial election of 1934 with a huge majority and adopted many populist policies. He put the government limousines on auction and closed the lieutenant-governor’s residence. Areas like provincial financial systems, labor laws and industrialization was also promoted by him.

His speeches for the farmers of Ontario are quite famous for their wit than their economic logic.

Find your ancestors in Elgin county with Ontario Genealogical Society

More and more Canadians are getting interested in family history. Finding out about your ancestors and constructing a family tree is important to many people. It is equally interesting and many people find it exciting to piece together their family history.

Recently there has been an increase in the resources which help us to study our ancestors. From books to online guides and records, it is becoming a bit easy to research your ancestors.

The Ontario Genealogical Society deserves special mention in this regard. It has enabled many Canadians to research their family history by themselves and provide a lot of assistance too.

The largest Genealogical Society of Canada has 34 branches all over the country and Special Interest Groups. Today we take a look at the Elgin branch.

The Ontario Genealogical Society: Elgin county branch

The Elgin branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society provides important research which Elgin residents can use to trace their roots. The institution has extensive research which can be used to study your family tree.

It also has lookup volunteers who help out by finding answers to specific research questions. They are capable of performing limited research and can also provide image clippings from newspapers and publications.

Elgin county branch genealogical website

You can visit the official website of the Elgin branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society for a number of resources. In fact, the website suggests you to use all the resources available online before physically contacting the office.

Online Resources

The Ancestor Indexes website is the most important online tool containing the agency publications. You can perform a name search from the Elgin county sources available.

Records of Township Assessment Rolls, cemetery transcriptions, funeral home records, newspapers and other resources are available for an effective research.

The “Discovering Your Roots in Elgin” free online resource book answers all your questions about the location and availability of records. There is a separate list of libraries, museums and archives in Elgin where you can physically visit to access resources.

The Elgin branch of the society also publishes newsletters called Talbot Times. You can become a member to receive them directly. The past issues are also archived on the website.

How to Effectively use the Elgin Genealogical Volunteer Service

The volunteers are ready to help you out with your research but they need some information. You should try to disclose as much as you can about your ancestors like their name and time period. A specific location within the county will also help narrow down results.

For a small fee you can have image clipping from newspapers and articles or specific information extracted from different resources. They are either emailed or mailed at the physical address.

You have to get in touch with the Elgin branch Research Coordinator for all queries and lookups.

Contact Information

You can use the following information to contact the Elgin branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society-

Elgin County Branch

C/o Ontario Genealogical Society

2100 Steeles Avenue West, Unit # 202

Concord, ON L4K 2V1

Email- [email protected]

Research Coordinator- [email protected]