Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground
17000 Yonge Street, Newmarket, Ontario
Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground (YSFBG) is an active cemetery, located at 17000 Yonge Street, just south of the Yonge Street Meeting House in Newmarket. Lots for interment and rights for scattering ashes are available for purchase. The Burial Ground is for the use of members and regular attenders of the Religious Society of Friends and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, or grandchild).
The information on this page is available as a print-friendly PDF:
Brochure for Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground (PDF)
Introduction & Background
The Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground is a designated historical site, established in 1807 on a parcel of land obtained by Asa Rogers, an early Quaker settler. Following a separation in the Yonge Street Friends Meeting in 1828 the Burial Ground became known as the Orthodox Friends Burying Ground. After a further separation within the Orthodox group in 1881 the Burial Ground came under the control of the Progressive Friends (Gurneyites).*
Today the Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground is owned by Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM). The CYM Trustees hold title for the property and are responsible for its management. The Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground Committee (appointed by the Trustees) looks after the care and administration of the cemetery and reports to the Trustees on an annual basis. The CYM Trustees and the Burial Ground Committee are subject to the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, which administers provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
The Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground Committee meets twice a year. Their mandate is to maintain basic care of the cemetery, including tree care, fence repairs, grass cutting, leveling of sunken ground, and care of headstones. Committee members also serve as contacts for families and, together with the Monthly Meeting and the funeral service provider, assist with practical arrangements for interments and scatterings. A member of the Burial Ground Committee must be in attendance to witness each interment or scattering.
Selecting and Purchasing a Lot
The Administrator or the Clerk of the Burial Ground Committee looks after purchases of lots. Prospective purchasers may visit the Burial Ground and select one of the available lots from the Burial Ground survey. The current (2020) price for a lot is $1,000. A single lot may be used for:
- one burial (at least six feet deep);
- one burial and one or two cremations (providing the burial takes place first); or
- two cremations
Vaults are neither required nor encouraged.
Interment Rights Certificates
Once a lot is purchased an Interment Right Certificate will be issued. The “Interment Rights Holder” (the person who holds interment rights to a specific lot) could be the purchaser of the lot, the person named on the Certificate, or the individual to whom the interment rights are assigned. If interment rights must be transferred to another person, the certificate should be returned to the Burial Ground Administrator and a new certificate issued. Interment Rights Holders will receive copies of the Burial Ground bylaws and headstone policy.
All burials at Young Street Friends Burial Ground are handled by Baker Vault, a company that knows the cemetery. Baker Vault will open and close graves for burials of coffins or cremation urns, and has equipment to dig year round. The family should contact Baker Vault, provide the lot number, and make the initial arrangements. The family is responsible for the costs. Baker Vault will coordinate with the family and the Burial Ground Administrator.
Baker Vault (A Division of Lloyd E. Baker Ltd.)
19991 Woodbine Ave, Queensville, ON L0G 1R0
Phone: 1-866-665-4201 or 905-478-4201, www.bakervault.com
Simplicity and some degree of uniformity are appropriate for a Quaker burial ground. Family and friends who wish to erect a headstone are encouraged to contact Dave and Lori Tomkinson at Luesby Memorial Company in Newmarket. The Tomkinsons are familiar with the Burial Ground and the style of headstones specified in the Burial Ground headstone policy. Headstones are placed at the west end of the lot facing east, with the foundation embedded below the frost level. Full specifications, including text and size and type of stone, should be submitted to the Burial Ground Committee before the final contract is signed.
Dave and Lori Tomkinson
Luesby Memorial Company Ltd.
93 Main Street South, Newmarket, ON L3Y 3Y8
Phone: (905) 895-4931
The scattering garden, located in the northwest corner of the Burial Ground, is an attractive and natural site. It has two stone benches, and is intended for rest, reflection, and worship. Please note that there is no provision for marking names of Friends whose ashes have been scattered. The current fee for a scattering of ashes in the designated scattering garden is $200.00. Once the fee is paid, a Scattering Rights Certificate will be issued. A member of the Burial Ground Committee must be in attendance to witness each scattering.
Meetings for Worship for Burial at Yonge Street Meeting House
Requests from Monthly Meetings to hold a Meeting for Worship for Burial at the time of an interment or a scattering (with a reception afterward if desired) should be directed to the Clerk of Yonge Street Monthly Meeting (). The Meeting for Worship for Burial will be under the care of the Monthly Meeting of the deceased. Members of that Monthly Meeting can work with the family and the funeral service provider to coordinate arrangements.
The Burial Ground Administrator or a member of the Burial Ground Committee must witness each burial or scattering of ashes, and the Burial Certificate or Certificate of Cremation issued by the funeral service must be sent to the Administrator.
Payments, Cheques, and the Public Guardian
Cheques for lots or scattering rights in the Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground should be made payable “Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.” The memo line should read “Yonge Street Burial Ground” and include either the lot number or “scattering.”
When a lot in the Burial Ground is sold, Canadian Yearly Meeting retains $600 of the purchase price for the long-term care of the cemetery. The remaining $400 is sent to the Public Guardian of Ontario for deposit to a Trust Fund. Similarly, when payment for scattering rights is received, the Yearly Meeting retains $170; the remaining $30 is deposited in the Trust Fund. A portion ($100 plus HST) of each gravestone fee is also sent to the Trust Fund. The Public Guardian in turn, remits annual payments for the upkeep of the Burial Ground.
As noted above, the Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground Committee is responsible for the care and maintenance of the Burial Ground. There are three sources of funding to support this work. The funding from the Public Guardian amounts to about $200.00 per year. The “Yonge Street Cemetery Fund” of Canadian Yearly Meeting also supports the Burial Ground. In 2018 this fund stood at $25,299.00, but it has been depleted by increasing maintenance expenses. The Burial Ground Committee is also seeking funds for restoration of historic stones.
The Burial Ground Committee welcomes donations from family, Friends, and descendants of Friends interred in the Burial Ground. Donations to the Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground are tax deductible. Cheques should be made payable to “Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends,” with “Yonge Street Burial Ground” in the memo line. Donations can be mailed to the Burial Ground Administrator, Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg (address below), or to the Canadian Yearly Meeting Office (91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa ON K1S 2L1).
Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground Committee
Clerk: Evelyn Schmitz-Hertzberg (Yonge Street Monthly Meeting)
Ruth Jeffery-Maclean (Yonge Street Monthly Meeting)
Ruth Pincoe (Toronto Monthly Meeting)
D. Richard Kamus (Yonge Street Monthly Meeting)
June Pollard (Toronto Monthly Meeting)
*The Conservative (Wilburite) Friends, however, maintained control of the Yonge Street Meeting House. For more information about the early history of the Burial Ground, see David L. Newlands, “The Orthodox Friends Burying Ground, Yonge Street, Newmarket, Ontario,” 1983 (available at cfha.info/monoyongeburying.pdf). This article also includes a list of marker inscriptions up to 1980.