Researching your Military Ancestor - Digital Workshop

Are you interested in researching your ancestors' military service?

In this year of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland (May 4) and Victory in Europe (May 8), watch this digital workshop that teaches participants how to research your ancestry through military records and create a family tree.

Canada has a rich and varied history of military involvement from the 18th century to the present day and records on reflect this great military tradition. You will learn how to access their service files and consult various digitized resources such as war diaries and burial records to learn about the context of an individual's service.

Watch this workshop to learn about and Military Records Research



Reconciling History

Beginning in 2014, the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation have collaborated with the Indigenous community to create the Reconciling History program. Beechwood has partnered with the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society and KAIROS Canada.

With the ultimate goal of education and awareness, Beechwood strives to show both sides of history by not excluding the impact many prominent Canadians buried in our grounds had on the Indigenous community. Choosing rather to highlight both their achievements and their short comings to provide a rounded view of history.

The Great Canadian Plaque program is a refreshing and unique way to display history. Rather than tear down plaques highlighting the prominent work Canadians did, the plaques are transformed to a duel reflection informing the reader about both their achievements and the impact they had on the Indigenous community. Beechwood does not want to rewrite history or show one side of a person. People are complicated and conflicting beings, and these plaques reflect that.

Beechwood’s Reconciling History Program has updated plaques for Dr Peter Bryce, Nicholas Flood Davin and Duncan Campbell Scott.

Beechwood is a keeper of Canadian history, and strives to provide the best education to our families and those visiting the grounds.

Through the Tour Program, the Great Canadian Plaques, and Blanket Ceremonies, the Reconciling History program aims to foster respect and healing through education.

Beechwood Historical Profiles

Beechwood, established in 1873, is recognized as one of the most beautiful and historic cemeteries in Canada. It is the final resting place for over 85,000 Canadians from all walks of life, including important politicians such as Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn and Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, Canadian Forces Veterans, War Dead, RCMP members and everyday Canadian heroes: our families and our loved ones.

In late 1980s, Beechwood began producing a small booklet containing brief profiles for several dozen of the more significant and well-known individuals buried here. Since then, the cemetery has grown in national significance and importance, first by becoming the home of the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces in 2001, being recognized as a National Historic Site in 2002 and finally by becoming the home of the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery in 2004. This culminated in 2009 with Beechwood’s designation as the National Cemetery of Canada by way of Bill C-17, an Act of Parliament that received all-party support in the House of Commons.

Beechwood now serves as a place of national tribute and remembrance for all Canadians. And as the cemetery grew, so too has this book. It now contains close to 350 profiles of men and women who, in a wide variety of ways, have made a mark on our history. They range over a broad spectrum of the Canadian scene, spanning the country from east to west, and include writers and artists, politicians and businessmen, explorers, inventors, and even a few non-Canadians who found their final resting place in our beautiful country. This book remains a work in progress, with individuals being added through research or as they join ‘the quiet dead’ at Beechwood, so dubbed by poet Archibald Lampman.

It is meant to be more than a profile gallery of celebrated Canadians; it offers the reader a journey of discovery into our past collective history. Beechwood welcomes suggestions or submissions of any individuals we may have missed.

To read more, please download:

Beechwood Mausoleum

Overlooking the Beechwood National Memorial Centre sits the Beechwood Mausoleum. The first stones, quarried from Beechwood’s very ground were laid in the late 1920’s and the building was finally completed in 1930. The building of considerable architectural merit, it was constructed by a company separate from the cemetery, Canada Mausoleums Ltd. Shortly after building, the company soon disappeared and Beechwood took possession of the mausoleum and has cared for it ever since.

Unique in Ottawa, this 1930’s Gothic mausoleum reflects the same architecture as the Parliament Buildings. The Beechwood Mausoleum represents a revival of certain features of ancient buildings, particularly elaborately-carved stonework depicting mythological and other creatures, and the use of finely-crafted stained glass windows.

The centre of the Mausoleum contains the Chapel. While the altar has since been removed, the spectacular solid bronze Chapel doors are still in place. The doors, embossed with symbols of the Christian faith, open to reveal the vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, created by artist James Blomfield.

Come, experience this unique building in Ottawa, and let the Beechwood Mausoleum provide you with a moment of serenity in the heart of the city.

Beechwood Cemetery Virtual Tour with Erika Wagner

Join Beechwood Cemetery's Program and Fundraising Coordinator, Erika Wagner, on a tour of four of her favourite locations at Beechwood. Erika provides insights and the history of four unique locations and monuments within the grounds.

The Great Canadian Profiles plaques

Beechwood, the National Cemetery of Canada was established in 1873 on 160 acres of land. Since its founding, there have been over 85,000 people buried at Beechwood, including many prominent Canadian historical figures, some of whom are featured in the Great Canadian Profiles plaque program.

These bright green plaques bear a brief bilingual biography on a person of historical interest who is buried nearby. The plaque program was started in the late 1990s, and there are now over 70 plaques in place, with more being added each year.

As you walk around the cemetery, you discover incredible stories of Canadians who have made Canada the country it is. People who have contributed to every aspect of Canadian society from literature, arts, science, politics, military and health care. 

Explore and discover these interesting people who rest at Beechwood. Click here to download the Great Canadian Tour Pamphlet.