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Beechwood National Cemetery – The final resting place of Veterans and notable Canadians

March 2024

On first glance, Beechwood Cemetery looks like any other cemetery. This cemetery in the Ottawa suburb of Vanier is the national cemetery of Canada, the final resting place for over 85, 000 Canadians from a variety of backgrounds. Most notably, Beechwood Cemetery is the national cemetery for the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Established in 1885, the cemetery is also the final resting place of former Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn, Prime Minister Robert Borden, along with several members of Parliament, premiers and Hockey Hall of Fame members. It’s one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Ottawa.

The National Military Cemetery portion of the cemetery consists of two sections, one managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who are responsible for the graves of 98 Commonwealth (mainly Canadian) service personnel of World War I and 113 of World War II, and another managed by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Beechwood Cemetery is also where military colours are laid up when new colours are received or when the unit is disbanded. A colour party from the unit will present the colours to the Hall of Colours in a formal ceremony, where they will be held for safekeeping.

The retired colours of from Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy units, which are mounted at ceiling level in the Hall of Colours in the National Memorial Centre, include:

A number of monuments can be found around the cemetery, including one erected by members of the 2nd Ottawa Field Battery in the 1870s, dedicated to the memory of their former commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John B. Turner and a Cross of Sacrifice, erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which incorporates a bronze sword, in-layed in a granite cross, in memory of the war dead buried in the cemetery’s field of honour.

A full list of notable individuals buried at Beechwood can be found on the cemetery’s website, but some of them include:

Originally perceived to be the Anglo-Protestant cemetery of Ottawa in its early years, the cemetery has long had sections set aside for a variety of communities, including Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Lebanese, Latvian, Muslim, Polish, Portuguese, Ukrainian and Vietnamese communities.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechwood_Cemetery, Make a Donation to the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation | Beechwood (beechwoodottawa.ca).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/beechwood-national-cemetery-the-final-resting-place-of-veterans-and-notable-canadians/

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