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Beechwood Cemetery: A place for everyone

As a National Cemetery, Beechwood prides itself on reflecting the diversity of Canadian citizens "from Atheist to Zoroastrianism"

Beechwood Cemetery, Funeral and Cremation Services is a national cemetery purpose-designed to allow people from all faiths and walks of life to rest together. While this may not be the case around the world at this point in time, Beechwood offers a true haven for every culture to truly rest in peace.

“Everyone is welcome,” says Nicolas McCarthy, Director of Marketing. “The cemetery has sections for every community including Asian, Egyptian, French Canadian, Greek, Latvian, Lebanese, Muslim, Polish, Portuguese and Ukrainian. We offer services for every religion, faith and practice and also for the secular community, including pagan. As a national cemetery, we pride ourselves on offering services from A-Z: from atheist to Zoroastrianism."

Beechwood opened in 1873. In 2000 it started the process of becoming the national cemetery in Canada. McCarthy notes that, “We are unique in that Beechwood is also a non-profit organization.”

The diversity started in 1904, with the first few Ottawa Chinese burials and starting the process to build its Chinese community section, breaking new ground literally and figuratively.

“This was at the peak of the Chinese head tax,” says McCarthy. Beechwood opened its doors to a community that was being discriminated against. We continued to evolve the cemetery as waves of immigration brought in people from all over the world.”

He continues, “What makes Beechwood special is all the wonderful community sections that all wind up being together. Inclusion is important and history will prove us right. The longer you are we around, the longer you are right – and we are proud of our 150 year heritage.”

McCarthy concludes, “Everyone deserves their own type of funeral. We have had Indigenous jingle dances. We have had Wiccan ceremonies. We have done religious services. We ask the families to tell us they type of service they want. The traditional funeral is what tradition means to your family. What we are trying provide is simply what's right for the family. Beechwood is a reflection of Canadian society and our beauty, from our military and police officers to the ethnic communities that make up our diversity and are representative of Canadian society.”

Learn more about this diverse, unique national cemetery at online, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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