If people know one cemetery in Toronto, it’s probably this one – the city’s largest and most prestigious. Some very notable people are buried here, including former Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, the founders of the Eaton empire, and other well-known local politicians and business people. This cemetery was the main focus of my Masters research papers, and I spent more time there than any other. Also, in a country that doesn’t feature many cemetery statues, this one had quite a few (although for me then, as now, not enough). Of course, it cannot compete with any of the larger cemeteries in the United States and Europe, if only because the population of Toronto was not as big, and a consequence, there was a smaller number of rich upper class people who could afford those types of monuments that you see in cemeteries like Staglieno, Montjuic, Pere Lachaise, and Green-Wood.
The first thing I noticed here were how many crosses, in particular Celtic crosses, were in the cemetery. They seemed to be everywhere, with lots of little variations to each of them.
There were a few large grand monuments and mausoleums, as well as numerous grave sites to famous Canadians (mostly politicians, mostly male).
Of course, I was on the lookout for white bronze monuments too, and hound a few throughout the grounds. Here’s one, front and back, that I quite liked:
This is an interesting cemetery to visit, but it’s huge so takes time.
Monuments: There are a number a larger family mausoleums and memorials, but cemetery doesn’t really have many statues, or ones that stand out significantly. Some of the reliefs are quite interesting.
Grounds: This is a fairly large, sprawling cemetery, and with its large trees and well-cared for lawns, feels a bit more like a park than a cemetery. The roads and paths are well-maintained so it’s very easy to get around.
Visitors: There were a few cemetery tourists like me, but most people in the cemetery seemed to be locals who were using it as a park.
Notes: Bring comfortable shoes and water if going on a hot day.
Cemetery: Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Established: November 4, 1876
Notable Internments: Over 168,000 internments, including WWI and WWII veterans, a number of Titanic survivors, Banting and Best (discoveries of insulin), musician Glenn Gould, numerous politicians
Location: 375 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto. The Yonge Street entrance is about halfway between St. Clair and Davisville stations. There is an underpass that connects the two sections of the cemetery so you don’t have to cross the road.
Hours: 07:00-20:00 daily