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Ionian Cross-topped fieldstone cairn a monument to early Scottish settlers in Innisfil Township

October 2020

Cemeteries frequently contain elaborate and ornate monuments, some incorporated into the tombstones, and some stand-alone. Some monuments are simpler, but still eye-catching.

The 6th Line Cemetery in the Town of Innisfil, Ontario, north of Toronto, has a large natural fieldstone cairn topped by an Ionian Cross at the main entrance to the cemetery.

This cairn is dedicated to a group of Scotch Dalhousie Settlers who came to Innisfil in 1832 from Dalhousie Township in Lanak County, Ontario. These were some of the early settlers of what was then known as Innisfil Township, which was first settled in 1820. Their family names are immortalized small nameplates circling around the top of the cairn, along with a larger plaque near the base reading: “To commemorate this honored group of Scotch Dalhousie settlers – Allan, Cross, Climie, Duncan, Laurie, Jack, Todd, Wallace.” It was erected in 1932 by the descendants of these early settlers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their arrival in the township.

The cemetery originally began as a family plot in August 1836, on a corner of the Machonchy family farm, on the west side of the King’s Highway 11, now known as Yonge Street, just south of the 6th Concession Line road.

In 1844, a Presbyterian church was on the north-east corner of the property, and the cemetery began burying Presbyterians next to the church.

Later, Presbyterians from nearby Lefroy, Knock and Stroud were interred at the cemetery, which was gradually expanded to serve the Protestant families throughout the township.

The church remained on the property until several churches in the area were amalgamated in the 1950s.

In 1962 a Memorial Chapel was built on the Yonge Street side of the property. The front of the building is inlaid with the same natural fieldstone found on the cairn.

Today, the cemetery is today is thought to be one of the oldest known cemeteries in Innisfil. It’s now a non-denominational cemetery, managed by the Town of Innisfil, and still sees occasional burials.

Sources: https://lostcemeteries.blogspot.com/2013/03/sixth-line-cemetery-innisfil.html, http://www.ourstoriesinnisfil.ca/islandora/object/ourstories%3A2648701, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innisfil,

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.

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