white-tailed deer perhaps in a green burial ground

Natural burial grounds in Ontario

Natural burial grounds are found either attached to conventional cemeteries (“hybrids”) or they are acres of land in the countryside (“stand-alones”).  There aren’t any stand-alones in Ontario yet (we’re working on it), but there are four hybrids that are our favourites because they really take care of both the families and the land.

Sign-up for our e-news  and we’ll let you know when a site launches in your community. When you sign-up, you lend your voice to the cause, which is a great help. There are people advocating for green burial across the province. Here you can see whether there’s an initiative underway in your community.

Willow`s Rest

Willow`s Rest

Niagara Falls

Willow’s Rest, which opened in 2017, offers 2 acres of natural habitat nestled at the back of Fairview Cemetery. Nearly two hundred new native trees were planted which will ultimately create an enclosure for the beautiful wildflower meadow. A local artist carved a bench and sculpture from a fallen ash tree, and a communal stone to engrave the names of those buried in the green section was culled from a local quarry. There are several monarch butterfly pollinator gardens. An educational program invites school groups to help plant wildflowers and expose them to something natural in life: death.

Parkview Cemetery

Parkview Cemetery

Waterloo

With two osprey nests, and wildflowers in abundance, Waterloo’s Parkview Cemetery has created a green burial area as a natural means of caring for the deceased with minimal environmental consequences. The green burial area offers a colourful and pleasing cemetery landscape that promotes native insects, wildlife and organisms to find habitat. Once a green burial has been completed a new cover of native wildflower seed mix is spread over the site, and a locally sourced communal stone memorial is available for engraving the names of loved ones.

Union Cemetery

Union Cemetery

Cobourg

Union Cemetery’s green burial section, which opened in 2012, is Ontario’s first modern day green burial. Behind the conventional cemetery lies a meadow overlooking Cobourg Creek. The managers of the site do all they can to minimize a carbon footprint, including digging the graves by hand. Dedicated land stewards, they also pull out any invasive species by hand. If cremated remains are at home waiting to be interred together with a loved one then they will accept those cremains, understanding that partners and families desire to rest together.

Glenwood Cemetery

Glenwood Cemetery

Picton

In the middle of the picturesque town of Picton lies a cemetery that dates back to the 1870s. Within the cemetery grounds, Glenwood Cemetery created a quarter-acre of green cemetery to offer the community a final resting place among the trees and a simpler, greener burial. Names of the deceased are etched in bronze plaques attached to a large boulder. What is truly unique about this natural burial site is that it is within wooded area. Burials occur in a forested area, with the sun poking through. Great attention is paid so  the tree roots are not disturbed.