Toronto Necropolis

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Toronto Necropolis
Toronto Necropolis.JPG
The entrance to the Necropolis
200 Winchester Street
Toronto, Ontario
M4X 1B7
Coordinates43°40′05″N 79°21′41″W / 43.667958°N 79.361484°W / 43.667958; -79.361484Coordinates: 43°40′05″N 79°21′41″W / 43.667958°N 79.361484°W / 43.667958; -79.361484
TypeNon-profit, non-denominational
Owned byMount Pleasant Group
No. of graves50,000
Find a GraveToronto Necropolis

Necropolis Cemetery is a historic cemetery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the west side of the Don Valley near Riverdale Farm.[1]


Opened in 1850 to replace "Strangers' Burying Ground" (or Potter's Field), the cemetery is the resting place for many dead Torontonians including:

  • Joseph Bloore – for whom a major Toronto thoroughfare, Bloor Street, is named.
  • William Lyon Mackenzie – Toronto's first mayor and leader of the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion
  • George Brown – One of the Fathers of Confederation and founder of what is now The Globe and Mail
  • Roy Brown (RAF officer) – World War I fighter pilot, officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron"
  • John Ross Robertson – founder of the Toronto Telegram
  • George Blewett (1873–1912) – academic and philosopher
  • Wilson Ruffin Abbott – successful Black Canadian businessman and landowner
  • Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott – first Canadian-born black surgeon
  • Ned Hanlan – world-champion oarsman. Hanlan's Point Beach was named after the family hotel at Hanlan's Point, built c. 1870 by his father, John, a fisherman-turned-hotelier.
  • Monument honouring Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews – rebels from the Rebellion of 1837
  • Andrew Porteous – first person to be buried at Necropolis 1850
  • Charles Lindsey – editor-in-chief of the Toronto Daily Leader and son-in-law of William Lyon Mackenzie (1908)
  • Samuel Lount[2] Upper Canada MLA; an organizer of the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, for which he was hanged, and so made martyr to the Upper Canadian Reform movement.
  • William Peyton Hubbard (1842–1935) – black Toronto city alderman
  • Ralph Day (1898–1976) – Toronto mayor from 1938 to 1940
  • Thornton Blackburn – former slave who made his way to Canada on the "Underground Railroad" and established the first cab company in Toronto (1890)
  • Joseph Burr Tyrrell (1858–1957) – discovered that dinosaurs once roamed Alberta's Bad Lands
  • Snow Riot Beverly Randolph Snow 1799 -1856. Born enslaved he was manumitted in 1829. Snow became an early black entrepreneur and restaurateur in both Washington DC and Toronto. In August 1835 his Epicurean Eating House was destroyed by a white mob during a race riot subsequently known as the " Snow Riot" or "Snow Storm".
  • Royal Air Force pilots Durlin D. Bushell, Augustus White, Howard Harris and Arthur Green; died from Spanish flu (1918)
  • Major Wylie McCabe – Irish Regiment of Canada and aide-de-camp to General Charles Foulkes
  • Ainsworth Dyer – a corporal in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and died in Afghanistan in 2002
  • Senator John Macdonald (1824–1890) – Canadian merchant, churchman, philanthropist, and politician
  • Robert Alexander Fyfe (1816–1878) – Canadian educator, churchman (first President of Woodstock College).
  • Kay Christie (1911–1994) – Canadian Nursing Sister in Hong Kong during the Japanese Invasion during World War II. One of two Canadian Nursing sisters to have been held as a Prisoner of War.
  • Mollie Christie (1913–2013) – Prominent figure in the early days of Toronto's social welfare services; Founding Executive Director of the Community Information Centre of Metropolitan Toronto (now accessible by "211" help line and website)[3]
  • Jack Layton (1950–2011) – politician (Toronto City Councillor, later leader of the New Democratic Party)[4]
  • David Ward (1817–1881) & Family, English-born settler of Ward's Island, interred along with four of his five daughters at Plot F-157. David was a fisherman and hotelier for whom Ward's Island was named. Lost his five surviving daughters to drowning in Lake Ontario on May 11, 1862, in a boating mishap. A son, William, survived. (William's first wife, Charlotte Ford, also died young, of tuberculosis, and is also interred here. A close friend, rower Ned Hanlan, above, had served as a witness to their wedding.)[5]
  • William Holmes Howland, Mayor of Toronto
  • Henry Box Brown, African American who famously escaped slavery in 1848 by mailing himself in a custom-made box from Richmond to Philadelphia. He later became a lecturer and entertainer, spending his last two decades in Toronto.

The cemetery contains the war graves of 34 Commonwealth service personnel, 29 from World War I and five from World War II. Most of these are in Section X.[6]

The cemetery has over 50,000 bodies. It is used to bury bodies used for research at the University of Toronto and is now part of the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries.

The cemetery's crematorium was built in 1933.[7]

The Necropolis is the final resting place of such prominent individuals as Toronto's first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie, journalist George Brown, founder of what is now The Globe and Mail, John Ross Robertson, founder of the Toronto Telegram, and, more recently, Federal NDP Leader, Jack Layton.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hauch, Valerie (July 23, 2015). "Once Upon a City: Prominent Canadians rest in Toronto's Necropolis cemetery". The Toronto Star. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ immediate family
  4. ^ "Headstone for Jack Layton unveiled". CTV Toronto. Canada. August 21, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  5. ^ Cabbagetown People: "Necropolis Notes"; Spring, 2016; Volume 26, Issue 1, p. 3."
  6. ^ Toronto Necropolis Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery Report. Breakdown obtained from casualty records.
  7. ^ "Chronicling a City's Past". 2004-12-17. Retrieved 2020-12-01.

External links[edit]