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Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan

2012 Master Plan Review

The 2012 Master Plan Review describes the state of the existing Cemetery Office, Mausoleum, Chapel, and smaller structures. It recommends that each of the structures be assessed, and a 5 year maintenance management plan restore the structures.

Background Information

The initial master plan for Greenwood Cemetery was completed in 1993 by the Landplan Collaborative Ltd. (Landscape Architects). In 2012, following changes in the provincial regulatory framework, staff undertook an update of the master plan through the Recreation & Parks Advisory Committee.

The plan contemplated a review cycle every 5 years. 

A master plan provides guidance to ensure that the Cemetery continues to meet the needs of the community it serves. It also ensures that Cemetery services are responsive to changes in the bereavement industry including how services are delivered, and the scope of services that are offered.

Overview of Greenwood Cemetery

Greenwood Cemetery has been an important cultural landmark and repository of the City’s history since its inception in April of 1858. Charles Rankin submitted a plan to town council for the original 5 acres of what was known then as “The People’s Cemetery”.

Over the last 160 years, Greenwood Cemetery and its caretakers have provided quiet and respectful end of life care for citizens and their families who live in or have links to Owen Sound. The Cemetery is designated as a park, and provides important active transportation links via Nine Bends trail from the upper southwest quadrant of the city to Harrison Park, the river precinct and downtown.

Greenwood Cemetery is 43 acres and has been used as a Cemetery since 1858.

The Cemetery includes some of the City’s most significant heritage buildings:

  • Cemetery office (1847 – formerly residence of Cemetery Superintendent)
  • Chapel (1905)
  • Mausoleum (1932)
  • Service building, storage bins and service yard (1990)
  • 4 columbaria (360 niches). The current plan provides for 2 additional columbaria to be added as need dictates.

Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm weekdays.
(Note: Interment services are made available 7 days a week, including holidays to accommodate the needs of families)

The Cemetery Division is responsible for the management, maintenance and care of the cemetery including:

  • Administer sale or re-purchase of burial lots, columbaria niches and mausoleum crypts;
  • Prepare contracts, manage and maintain cemetery records of all interments, inurnments and entombments and scattering;
  • Through an administration agreement with St. Mary’s of the Assumption Parish and Missions of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocese of Hamilton, staff provide administration for the sale of burial lots, and manage and maintain that Cemetery’s records;
  • Customer service – directly with families and funeral home professionals;
  • Opening and closing graves at Greenwood Cemetery and St. Mary’s Cemetery are, for the most part, arranged and undertaken with the involvement of funeral homes; however, with the increase in the number of people selecting cremation, the incidence of staff working directly with families that have opted not to retain the services of a funeral home for these arrangements has increased;
  • Cleaning and general maintenance of all buildings;
  • Groundskeeping including arboriculture, gardening and turf management;
  • Installation of foundations for monuments;
  • Installation of flat markers and corner blocks;
  • Winter storage for other cemeteries that do not do winter burials or for burials in Greenwood that are deferred at the request of the family (2017-18, 21 caskets stored);
  • Assist public researching genealogy; and
  • Oversee capital work program at Greenwood Cemetery.

The Cemetery is staffed as follows:

  • Manager of Parks and Open Space (shared between Parks & Open Space and Cemetery);
  • Parks & Cemetery Supervisor (shared between Parks & Open Space and Cemetery);
  • 2 Full Time Cemetery Attendants
  • 2 Seasonal Cemetery Attendants (22 weeks)
  • Parks and Cemetery Administrative Coordinator

Regulatory Framework

Under the Ontario Funerals, Burials and Cremation Services Act, the Cemetery section of the Parks and Open Space Division is responsible for the management and administration, customer service, maintenance and development of the 43-acre Cemetery grounds and buildings.

A By-law (2014-012) under the authority of the Municipal Act and Ontario Funerals, Burials and Cremation Services Act governs the regulation and management of the cemetery.

The Greenwood Cemetery By-law includes sections that direct:

  • Interment Rights - The sale of a lot at need or for future use via an Interment Rights Contract.
  • Interment Procedures - The administrative rules and conditions that must be met prior to performing an interment including Interment Rights Holder verification, and the authorization and payment via a signed services contract by the verified interment rights holder to open the grave and perform an interment, inurnment, entombment or scattering.
  • Disinterment Procedures - The administrative rules and regulatory framework that must be met prior to performing a disinterment, including the permission of the interment rights holder, and the Medical Officer of Health in some cases.
  • Mausoleum Vault Regulations - The rules and regulations that direct casket storage between December 1st and May 1st
  • Lot Decorations - The rules that guide what cemetery visitors can place or plant on a lot where they have interment rights, or permission form the interment rights holder.
  • Memorialization - The rules that guide monument (headstone) placement, material, size, and upkeep.  This section also details the requirement for monument foundations, installed by Cemetery Staff via a service fee and contract with the interment rights holder.

The review of the Cemetery By-law will occur following the master plan process to ensure the regulatory by-law reflects the intent of the master plan.

2012 Master Plan & Report Card

The Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan, completed in 2012 has provided strategic guidance for administration, operations, major maintenance and capital.  This plan was completed in house by City staff and included significant consultation with the general public as well as staff from funeral homes who interact with Cemetery staff frequently. 

The plan offers a snapshot of the state of the Cemetery in 2012 and details 17 recommendations relating to structure, circulation, vegetation, operations, facilities and expansion, and mapping. The recommendations are prioritized on a scale of 1 to 4. On this scale, a ranking of 1 is deemed very important.

There has been significant progress on implementing the initiatives in the 2012 Master Plan. Staffing resources and capital budget does impact the ability to implement all the recommendations; however, overall significant progress has been achieved.

Survey (Now Closed)

The review and update of the Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan relies greatly on input from the community and stakeholders throughout the process. The plan review launched with an open house on February 20, 2019. Please read the background information (included above) prior to completing the survey.

Project Contact:

Adam Parsons
Manager of Parks & Open Space
City of Owen Sound
519-376-4440 ext. 1221

All survey responses will remain confidential and will be analyzed and submitted as aggregated data.

Important Terms for Completing the Survey:

1)  Lot – A single grave space

2)  Plot – Two or more lots where Interment Rights have been sold as a unit

3)  Niche – An individual compartment in a columbarium for the entombment of cremated remains

4)  Crypt – An individual compartment in a mausoleum for the entombment of human remains

5)  Interment Rights – The right to require or direct the interment of human remains in any lot

6)  Interment – Burial of human remains and includes the placing of remains in a lot, tomb, crypt compartment or niche

7)  Inurnment – Placing of cremated remains in a niche

8)  Entombment – Placing of human remains in a crypt

9)  Scattering – The scattering of cremated remains in a location at a cemetery designated for this

10) Natural Burial – Natural Burial can be defined in many ways, and must take into account the health and safety of staff and visitors to the Cemetery while providing an option to those seeking a higher degree of environmental consciousness for their interment. 

Survey is now closed.

Thank you for taking the time to offer your input. The information you submitted will play a vital role in guiding how we serve the community at Greenwood Cemetery.

Presentation of Draft Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan Review and Update - December 18, 2019

On December 18, 2019, City staff presented a draft of the 2020-2025 Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan to the City's Community Services Committee where the public had an opportunity to provide feedback on the recommendations contained in the Master Plan.

Draft Recommendations Questionnaire (Now Closed)

The update relies greatly on input from the community and stakeholders throughout the process. 

  • The plan review launched with an open house on February 20, 2019;
  • A public engagement survey also launched on February 20, 2019 and was available for 39 days;
  • Staff reported on progress and next steps on October 16, 2019; and
  • There was a presentation and public meeting on December 18, 2019 for the draft plan update where attendees were offered an opportunity to help prioritize the 16 recommendations.

Please read the background information (included above) prior to completing the questionnaire.

All questionnaire responses will remain confidential and will be analyzed and submitted as aggregated data.

Project Contact:

Adam Parsons
Manager of Parks & Open Space
City of Owen Sound 
519-376-4440 ext. 1221 

Please help us prioritize the recommendations for the 2020-2024 Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan.

The number that precedes the recommendation corresponds to the plan.

For each recommendation, indicate:

  • If you support the recommendation remaining in the plan
  • If you support the recommendation remaining in the plan, what priority should it be given?
    • Short term - It’s something we should do in the next 1-3 years;
    • Medium term - It’s something we should do in the next 2-4 years;
    • Long term – It’s something we should do in the next 3-5 years.

Questionnaire is now closed.

Thank you for taking the time to offer your input.

Presentation of Final 2020-2024 Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan - February 19, 2020

On February 19, 2020, City staff presented Staff Report CS-20-023 Re: 2020-2024 Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan Recommendations Survey and Next Steps to the City's Community Services Committee.

The Committee recommended that Council approve the Greenwood Cemetery Master Plan Review and Update, 2020-2024 and request that staff bring forward a by-law to amend the Greenwood Cemetery By-law to implement the recommendations as outlined in Appendix 8 of the Master Plan.

The final Master Plan was sent to Council for approval with the minutes of the Community Services Committee meeting at Council's meeting on March 2, 2020. City Council approved the Master Plan.


Greenwood Cemetery has not had an accurate base map from which to work and plan. Digital and hard copy base mapping are now required for Greenwood Cemetery for future planning and record keeping. Data can be entered on this base map as needed with new cemetery database software.

Staff Reports & Presentations

Media & Communications

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