Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Apologies for the late post- I didn't check when this one was scheduled for as I usually do.

The McCrae family looms large in the history of Guelph, and have a family plot here at Woodlawn Cemetery with the name on multiple stones. On this one in particular, with a wreath placed before it, is the name of the family's most famous member, who happens to be buried overseas. It was etched onto the stone to ensure that his presence, at least in part, was here with his family.

John McCrae was the soldier, doctor, and poet who went to Europe in World War One, fought for king and country, saw the horrors of war, and wrote In Flanders Fields. He was born here in Guelph. The inscription on the stone is a bit faded with time, but marks his life: 1872-1918, his famous poem, and the place of his death: Wimereux, France, where he died of pneumonia. The home where he was born has been preserved as a small museum, which I'll show you in posts to come.

A section of the cemetery is designated for the interment of cremation urns and features gardens.

A different perspective offers that area in the background. Turning around from here, most of the stones for a large swath lie flat in the ground. My mother is buried close by. This was the first time I've seen the tombstone for myself.

This gives you a general idea of the flat stones in this section, and includes an addition I found touching.

Another poignancy: a children's memorial garden.

Taken long before their time: lambs and child like angels are a common feature on the graves of children.

There is a section here set aside as a military cemetery, with local veterans choosing to be placed among their brothers and sisters in arms. These stones are in the style of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which has been doing this around the world since the First World War. I'll have some additional shots from here at Remembrance Day.

There is also a section set aside for Jewish graves, and you can see it in the surnames and the Hebrew writing that accompanies some of the stones. The first one I spotted was the Kilberg tombstone, with the inscription Holocaust Survivors. It is a common Jewish trend to leave small stones on the tombstones as a nod of remembrance.

I finish off with this view of the cemetery. Tomorrow we go elsewhere in Guelph.


  1. It's a beautiful spot. Such a respectful, calming place. I like cemeteries! I took my gr. 6 kids for a cemetery study back in the day. There was lots to record, study, research.

  2. I didn't know that the Flanders Field poem author is buried here. Such a peaceful place. I have seen stones on grave markers like this before but didn't realize their significance.

  3. ...William, you found some lovely stones. Your Canadian Military stone are lovely. I slip up with my posts too!

  4. Hello, the children's memorial is both lovely and sad to see. Wishing you a happy day!

  5. So sad to see the children's grave stones William, when people live to a ripe old age it's still hard but not quite so ✨

  6. There you go. You didn't know that Roy Brown came from here, and I didn't know that John McCrae came from there (or had long ago forgotten).

  7. I first saw flat stones in Perth, we don´t have them.
    But, sadly, we have a children´s section, too. And certainly many Jewish ones.

  8. Such a pretty place to explore.

  9. @Jennifer: it is calming.

    @DJan: no, he's in France, but his family is here.

    @Tom: thanks!

    @Eileen: I agree.

    @Grace: true.

    @Janey: me too.

    @Anvilcloud: thanks for letting me know.

    @Iris: thank you.

    @Sharon: it is.

  10. The cemetery is beautiful and a nice place to walk around. Lots of history there.
    Wonderful photos, William.

  11. A touching post infused with your first view of your Mom's memorial stone. And a fine choice to remind us of John McCrae who wrote In Flanders Fields. Best wishes always dear, William

  12. The children's memorial is indeed touching...

  13. i gotta admit i was worried about ya William ... glad to hear you are okay (i think it is nice to know u r missed, that we hope to visit each and every day. makes the world a bit smaller, and it is nice to have bloggy friends) ... and just posted late. no worries. gosh, i didn't realize u mom was not around any more ... something in the past u said i just thought she was still here on earth? i can only imagine that is so tough. such a peaceful time i hope when u did visit her grave side/stone. i bet it was emotional either way. i know when i went and did visit my grandparents .. i never told my Mom i went by myself ...she would be angry ... she thinks u need a person to always go with you but i wanted to do it by myself. have a good rest of your day. take care. ( ;

  14. I love exploring graveyards. This one looks very interesting.

  15. @Bill: there is.

    @Cloudia: thank you.

    @Italiafinlandia: I agree.

    @Beth: yes, she passed away several years ago.

    @Jenny: it's quite a cemetery.

    @Maywyn: that it is.

  16. I enjoy visiting cemeteries. Such beautiful and serene places. This one is a beauty.

  17. "...a children's memorial garden."



  18. I find the stones touching, like coins in military cemeteries. My family is buried, to date, in a cemetery that only allows flat stone. My mother bought plots for the family one at her leisure, after the broiling hot summer day she was eight months pregnant with my brother and tasked with getting a burial plot for her mother in law.

  19. Children's graves are always sad and are often tell the story of rampant diseases of the past.

  20. I'm glad I checked back tonight and found this...better late than never! I like the way the cemetery is organized. I'll have to visit Riverside in Asheville again soon, there's also a Jewish section. But Black Mountain has its own Veterans Cemetery, with raised stones now being replaced by flat ones.

    1. Oh not being "Replaced" just the newer graves have the flat stones.

  21. William - some people avoid cemeteries, but I think it is important to visit them to honor those that have gone before. I learned some things from your post - thank you. It does seem that cremations are becoming more common, perhaps overtaking burials. As the earth becomes fuller, perhaps this is a good trend in that it takes less space. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  22. Interesting post. As soon as I saw the name John McCrae, I knew it was familiar. Such a simple poem and yet so well known.

  23. The McCrae memorial is beautiful -- the second I saw it I knew WWI. I know the poem but didn't know he was buried in Canada.

  24. Yes, the children's memorial garden is very poignant...

    All the best Jan

  25. @Michelle: it is, yes.

    @Sandi: unfortunately.

    @Joanne: thank you.

    @Kay: they do.

    @Barbara: there's a local cemetery here I need to return to.

  26. @Angie: I would have no issue with cremation.

    @Linda: a poem that the world knows.

    @Jeanie: he's a favourite son of Guelph.

    @Jan: it certainly is.

    @Klara: me too.