St. James Cemetery in Toronto

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The Anglican St. James Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Toronto still in operation. Opened in 1844 as the burial ground for St. James Cathedral. To date over 89,000 interments and 75,000 cremations have taken place at the cemetery. Recognizing the growing trend towards cremation throughout the world, a crematorium was added in 1948. The cemetery was necessary as the burial ground around the cathedral itself, in use since 1797, was out of room. The cemetery was opened in July of 1844 for the burial of people professing the Anglican faith. At that time most of the city’s population of 18,000 lived south of Queen Street West and the cemetery's present location during that era must have been regarded as being outside city limits. The entrance to the cemetery is located at the intersection of Bloor and Parliament Streets, overlooking the Don River ravine. Just to the west is the St. James Town neighbourhood, which is named after the cemetery. The cemetery itself is home to the Chapel of St. James-the-Less which sites atop a knoll at the highest point in the cemetery. In its vigorous, harmonious composition, this small funeral chapel is a splendid example of Victorian Gothic design. Its sense of strength and spirituality is derived from the subtle contrast of its stone walls, enveloping roofs, and soaring spire. Erected in 1860 and opened in 1861, the chapel was designed by Frederick William Cumberland and Storm, one of Toronto's leading 19th-century architectural firms. It and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.

Notable interments

The cemetery is the final resting place of many of Toronto's oldest families and notable citizens:

  • James Austin - founder of what would become the Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Robert Baldwin - Joint Premier of the Province of Canada
  • Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn - Victoria Cross recipient in the Second Boer War
  • James Cockburn - Father of Confederation
  • George Gooderham - whiskey magnate
  • Casimir Gzowski - engineer and railway builder
  • William Pearce Howland - Father of Canadian Confederation
  • E. J. Lennox - architect of Casa Loma and Old City Hall
  • John P. Robarts - 17th Premier of Ontario
  • Henry Scadding - historian
  • Jones, Donald. "Tombs of Toronto's first families A walk in St. James' Cemetery recalls the pageantry in our past." Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: Oct 02, 1993. Sec. C. pg. G.8

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