Facility Forum - Winter 2017 - 19
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
Non-Traditional Ways to
By Trisha Bradshaw, CIM, CHRL Manager of Cemeteries
City of Kitchener Cemeteries, Crematorium & The Dedication Centre at Williamsburg
f you have recently attended a
funeral service, you may have
noticed some non-traditional
ways family and friends are
choosing to pay tribute to their
loved one. Within the obituary,
you may see the ever popular
selfie has replaced the traditional studio photo. At the service, you might
hear the bass guitar of a Rolling Stones
tune rather than the usual melody of a
Celine Dion ballad. When guests arrive
for the service, they may be greeted
with a card of Grandma's favorite cookie
recipe rather than usual bookmark
poem. Increasingly, families are looking for creative ways to personalize the
funeral and create a meaningful service
for those left behind.
Not only has the funeral services
industry seen a shift in families wanting
non-traditional options but so have cemeteries. In the past, many families would
chose a resting place that consisted of
a cemetery plot with two graves sideby-side, intended for casket burial, later
to be embellished with a typical upright
monument. Today, families want a resting place that is unique and is reflective
of the life of the deceased.
Choosing a cemetery as a final resting
place offers a number of advantages,
including maintaining a permanent
record of the deceased for future generations to reference and providing friends
and family with the opportunity to visit
and pay their respects into the future. It's
important for cemeteries to consider the
changing needs of customers in order to
stay competitive in today's market.
The City of Kitchener anticipated
this change and designed Williamsburg
Cemetery with this modern customer in
mind. Although Williamsburg continues
to offer traditional grave spaces for casket
burial, they also offer choices for loved
ones to honour the deceased in unique,
personal and meaningful ways.
Some of the ways Kitchener Cemeteries
has responded is to offer casket lots
where a tree such as a maple or birch
acts as a living memorial. These living
memorials are clustered together to create a natural tree grove called "Sanctuary
Woods." This is a popular option for those
individuals who loved nature.
Another green option offered at
Williamsburg Cemetery is scattering.
Scattering within a cemetery is a simple and affordable option without the
requirement of getting the property
owner's permission or the worry of the
property changing ownership, like at a
cottage, for example. Williamsburg has
two scattering gardens: one is located
in a shaded wooded area, the second
located near natural wetlands.
Williamsburg also has a replica golf
putting green where many families
participate in a ceremonial putt at the
graveside service in remembrance of
their loved one who was an avid golfer.
Below the putting green is an underground chamber called the Ossuary.
An ossuary is a simple and affordable
option similar to scattering and is available for everyone.
Families can choose to have an individual bronze plaque located on a community boulder within the scattering
gardens or families can choose a tribute
FACILITY FORUM | 19