Toronto’s St. James Cemetery

If you’re reading this blog, you already know that I have a soft spot for cemeteries. I take the Victorian view of them, meaning that I find them as serenely bucolic as public parks (though usually far less noisy, and with much better art). So it will come as no surprise that, when it came time to get my author photo taken, I returned to one of my old favorites.

The St. James Cemetery is Toronto’s oldest, and arguably its grandest, burial ground. It doesn’t boast the wide-ranging expanse of Mount Pleasant or the elaborate entryway of the Necropolis, but it’s filled with statues and mausoleums dedicated to some of the 18th- and 19th-century’s famous families: Jarvis, Austin, Gooderham, Brock, Cowan. It’s also in use by the St. George’s Society of Toronto, a volunteer organization that  has assisted poor families with burials since 1859, making the cemetery’s permanent residents an intriguing mix of social strata.

My friend Trish Snyder volunteered to take my photo, and fortunately for me she’s a very good sport. When I suggested the cemetery as a location for the shoot, she wrote back, “Strangest — and most fun — date location ever!” It was. If you’re in Toronto, give yourself at least an hour there for a quick tour. And be sure to take pictures.

2 Responses to “Toronto’s St. James Cemetery”

  • David Cranmer Says:

    I enjoy visiting cemetaries and have done many posts on them. I figure folks think I’m nuts and never really had an answer as to why I found bone orchards intriguing. Now I have an answer: “serenely bucolic as public parks (though usually far less noisy, and with much better art).” Me gusta!

  • Kathleen A. Ryan Says:

    I am fascinated by cemeteries, too. I’ve done a lot of genealogy work which has included many cemetery visits. The St. James Cemetery sounds like a beautiful one. Can’t wait to see the photo Trish took!

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