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Mountain View Cemetery (Vancouver) facts for kids

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Mountain View Cemetery
Mountain View Cemetery Building (144831783).jpg
Mountain View Cemetery's landscape operations building
Details
Established 1886
Location
5455 Fraser Street, Riley Park–Little Mountain, Vancouver, British Columbia
Country Canada
Type Non-denominational
Owned by City of Vancouver
Size 0.43 square kilometres (110 acres)
No. of graves 92,000
No. of interments 145,000

Mountain View Cemetery is the only cemetery in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. Opened in 1886, it is located west of Fraser Street between 31st and 43rd Avenues. It is owned and operated by the City of Vancouver and occupies 0.43 square kilometres (110 acres) of land, containing more than 92,000 grave sites and over 145,000 interred remains. The first interment took place on February 26, 1887. The first interment was supposed to happen in January 1887 but poor weather, a new road, and a broken wagon wheel resulted in the intended first occupant being temporarily buried outside the cemetery. His body was relocated to inside the cemetery months later.

History

Only one existing cemetery in the vicinity, Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster (established in 1870), is older than Mountain View. When Mountain View Cemetery opened in 1886, it supplanted burial grounds in what was designated Stanley Park that same year as the city's cemetery. The original parcel of land now known as the "Old Section" is bounded by Fraser Street on the east, 37th Avenue on the south, 33rd on the north, and three remaining trees from what was once a row of tall Lawson Cypress trees on the west. Land on the north of this was purchased in 1901 for an expansion and became the "Horne I Addition" – named after the developer who sold the land. The Jones farm between 37th and 41st Avenues was added in 1910 as the Jones I and Jones II Additions, and in 1922, an additional piece was acquired west of the Horne I Addition. The "1919 Addition" is a tract bounded by 41st and 43rd Avenues, and contains many victims of the Spanish flu pandemic that took many hundreds of lives of local residents. The final addition is the Abray Park Addition on the western side, acquired in 1941 through a land swap with the Vancouver Park Board and was named after a squatter, Nonus Abray, who previously lived on the land and tended an orchard and grazed cattle there. Burial sites historically were often grouped together along the lines of religion (e.g., Jewish), nationality (e.g., Chinese and Japanese), or organizational affiliation (e.g., Freemasons and Oddfellows). Other groupings are pauper grave sites and war veterans.

The New Chelsea Housing Society and the Department of Veterans' Affairs, unveiled a memorial consisting of three granite stelia in 1983 dedicated to all Canadian military members who have died. The cemetery also has more than 12,000 Canadian military graves. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains the graves of 579 Commonwealth service personnel – 319 from World War I and 260 from World War II. The war graves of the former war are in a special Soldiers' Plot, while those of the latter are either concentrated in a Veterans' Plot or scattered within the cemetery. Most of the airmen died serving at the Royal Canadian Air Force base at Sea Island, and many sailors were from the HMCS Discovery naval station of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve.

In 2005 Birmingham & Wood Architects were commissioned to design three buildings and collaborate in the design of landscape elements as part of the upgrading of Mountain View Cemetery. The three structures included an administration building, landscape maintenance facility and a memorial service building with associated functions. The Celebration Hall has become a popular venue for cultural events adding to the City's roster of performance spaces.

In addition to Birmingham & Wood, the consultant team was composed of two firms of landscape architects, Lees + Associates Landscape Architects and Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg; BTY Group cost consultants; Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Limited heritage consultants; Bush Bohlman Consulting Engineers, The RADA Group and Perez Engineering. The cemetery was officially rededicated July 2009.

Mountain View has been one of the few North American cemeteries allowing 2 members of a family to share the same grave. As of January 1, 2020, City Council expanded this practice via a by-law allowing individuals to share their own or their deceased loved one's grave with up to 3 non-family members or strangers. This option is only available for new graves and primarily designed to reduce the environmental footprint of one's burial. It is also a cheaper alternative as plot cost is divided among its individual buyers. Those opting for this arrangement would be buried on top of one another in a single 4'x8'x9' vertical column and must consent to be interred in a more environmentally-sustainable option, such as 'a shroud or biodegradable container'.

Notable occupants

Disaster victims

  • 1918 sinking of the SS Princess Sophia near Juneau, Alaska, the worst maritime disaster in terms of casualties on the Pacific Coast of North America. Sixty-six of the 353 passengers who perished were buried in Mountain View.
  • 1910 Rogers Pass slide disaster (62 victims, 30 buried at Mountain View)
  • 1909 Lakeview BCER streetcar wreck. This was the worst transit accident in Vancouver's history (15 killed, 12 buried at Mountain View).

Individuals

Monument top of the Gravestone of Malcom Alexander MacLean (1842-1895) First Mayor of the City of Vancouver (1886-1887)
Monument on top of the gravestone for Malcolm Alexander MacLean, the first Mayor of Vancouver, at Mountain View Cemetery
  • Malcolm Alexander MacLean, first Mayor of Vancouver, serving 1886 to 1887.
  • Ross J. McLeod, unrelated to Alexander, Co-Founder of Great Canadian Gaming
  • Alexander McLeod, unrelated to Ross, lighthouse keeper at Stanley Park's Brockton Point lighthouse, also in charge of firing the 9 O'Clock Gun.
  • Harry Churchill Beet, recipient of the Victoria Cross for gallantry during the Second Boer War.
  • Henry O. Bell-Irving, wealthy cannery owner
  • Edward Evans Blackmore, local architect and designer of the city's first Pantages Theatre.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Carey, recipient of two DSOs and the Order of St Michael and St George.
  • William Carey Ditmars, business man who brought the first automobile to Vancouver.
  • Charles Edgar Edgett, DSO, MiD, warden of the BC Penitentiary from 1929–1931, Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police from 1931 to 1933, and zealous anticommunist.
  • Joe Fortes, a.k.a., "Old Black Joe," popular lifeguard.
  • Samuel Greer, fought with the CPR over his claim to Kitsilano Beach.
  • Eric Hamber, Lieutenant Governor from 1936 to 1941.
  • Laurence William Herchmar, fifth commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police.
  • Harry Jerome, Olympic runner.
  • John Chipman Kerr, Victoria Cross recipient
  • Thomas Ladner, founder of Ladner, British Columbia.
  • Malcolm MacLennan, Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police, killed in the line of duty in 1917.
  • Robert McBeath, Victoria Cross recipient, killed in the line of duty as a Vancouver police constable in 1921 at the age of 23.
  • William McGuigan, tenth mayor of Vancouver.
  • Sara Anne McLagan, first woman newspaper publisher in Canada.
  • James Skitt Mathews, Vancouver historian and archivist.
  • Rev. George Charles Fraser Pringle 1873–1949 founder of Camp Pringle, Shawnigan Lake, B.C. From the boat "Sky Pilot", of the Loggers Mission, he ministered to over 75 logging camps and communities on the west coast of B.C. He served in the Yukon during the Gold Rush, Atlin, in Northern B.C. as well as overseas as Chaplin during World War II. He is located in JONES section, Block 40, Plot 3, Lot 1, on Prince Edward Street.
  • Robertha Josephine Marshall, survivor of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic.
  • Jonathan Rogers, builder of the Rogers Building on Granville Street.
  • Yip Sang, prominent Chinese business leader, founded the Wing Sang Company in 1888 and supplied the CPR with Chinese labourers.
  • Sarah Emily Service, mother of poet Robert W. Service.
  • Robert Shankland, Victoria Cross recipient. [NOTE: The cemetery records do not include any reference to Robert Shankland ever being interred in the cemetery. It may be that his cremated remains were scattered in the cemetery.]
  • Janet Smith, a.k.a. the "Scottish Nightingale"
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