Toronto Necropolis Entrance

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The rather picturesque Crematory Chapel and entrance to the Toronto Necropolis in Cabbagetown.

Time for some badly paraphrased history.

The Necropolis is a non-denominational public cemetery that was opened in 1850, making it one the oldest such cemeteries in the city. It contains the remains of more than 50,000 people. The crematorium there was built in 1933.

The city established Toronto Necropolis to replace the overflowing Potter’s Field, which opened in 1826 and was closed just 30 years later in 1855. Following the closure, they gradually moved all 6685 inhabitants elsewhere. This included the remains of “984 Early Settlers of the Town of York” who were relocated to the shiny new Toronto Necropolis. Incidentally, the only indication that Potter’s Field ever existed is a plaque marking the former site on Bloor Street West.

Toronto Necropolis is the final resting place of many famous Torontonians, including William Lyon Mackenzie who was Toronto’s first mayor and grandfather of Canada’s longest-serving prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Perhaps fittingly, grandpa Mackenzie was instrumental in the creation of Potter’s Field.

Other famous inhabitants include Anderson Ruffin Abbot, the first black surgeon to be born in Canada; John Ross Robertson, the founder of the Toronto Telegram; George Brown, the founder of The Globe and Mail and one of the “fathers” of Canadian confederation; William Peyton Hubbard, the first black Toronto alderman; and several other mayors of Toronto.

The Necropolis also contains 34 Commonwealth war graves, mostly from World War I.

Anyway, it’s a beautifully serene and leafy cemetery with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and all manner of weird and wonderful grave markers and crypts. Definitely worth a look if you happen to be in the area.


4 Replies to “Toronto Necropolis Entrance”

    1. Me too! I need to make my way to Mount Pleasant Cemetery at some point, but that might have to wait until spring now (I don’t really fancy cycling there in winter)!

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