Celebrating 150 years of history at Beechwood Cemetery

In 1873 — just 18 years after Bytown officially became Ottawa — Beechwood Cemetery was established with a groundbreaking commitment. It was determined that this final resting place would not be affiliated with any single faith group. The poignant decision opened Beechwood to servicing all Ottawans.

Today, 150 years later, that same decision has ensured that Beechwood is both a place of connection and a caretaker of the city and the nation’s history. “I think the role of cemeteries is for people to find themselves in them,” says Nick McCarthy, Beechwood’s director of marketing, communications and community outreach. “Cemeteries are the people that we are and the people that we were. At Beechwood, you have opportunities for connection, and you also get to see Ottawa evolve from a rough lumber town to Canada’s capital and a community that welcomes everyone.”

Here since the beginning As Beechwood commemorates its 150th anniversary, its history — and its role in history — will be told in a yet-to-be-named book. It’s a story that begins with the idea to, literally and figuratively, create something bigger as two local cemeteries were closing down, one after another. At the time, everyone from residents to local newspapers seemed to collectively acknowledge the opportunity and the significance of establishing an impressive resting place in Canada’s capital city.

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