Burial Services

Traditionally, a burial service involves a visitation, followed by a funeral service in a place of worship, or a funeral home.  The casket is typically present at both these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or not.  You have the option of having the remains interred (earth burial), or it may be entombed in a crypt inside a mausoleum (entombment).  Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing burial.  Decisions need to be made on whether the body needs to be embalmed, what kind of casket to use, the use of a vault (outer burial container), and what cemetery to use.

Burial Frequently Asked Questions

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?

Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery.  Typically, the opening and closing fee includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles. 

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?

The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee.  Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.

Why is having a place to visit so important?

To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs.  A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased.  Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture.  Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin.  Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be there?

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity.  There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

How soon after or how long after a death must an individual be buried?

There is no law that states a specific time limit for burial.  Considerations that will affect the timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations.  Contact your local funeral provider for more details.

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?

In Ontario, embalming is not required by law, however, in some instances a funeral home may recommend it due to the length of time between death and the visitation, burial, cremation or entombment. If a deceased person is being transported to another country, then embalming and a sealed casket or container may be required by the receiving country or the transportation company.

What options are available besides ground burial?

Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums.  In addition, most cemeteries provide choices for those who have selected cremation.  These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or inurnment in an urn space. 

What are burial vaults?

Burial vaults are outer burial containers that the casket is sometimes placed into prior to burial. The main purpose is to support the weight of the earth around the casket to keep the grave from settling unduly over time. They are usually made of reinforced concrete.