Legislation (Bill C-17) has been enacted to recognize Beechwood Cemetery as the national cemetery of Canada.
The legislation was tabled in the House of Commons on March 5th and the same day, an event to mark the tabling took place at Beechwood Cemetery. On April 23rd, 2009, the legislation received Royal Assent.
The recognition of Beechwood Cemetery as the national cemetery of Canada is an important step towards memorializing the people, great or small, who shaped our history and identity as a country. The Beechwood Cemetery Foundation has accepted to hold in trust for future generations the stories and the histories of Canadian citizens who are interred on its grounds, regardless of their religious beliefs and practices, their cultural background or their social status.
Ottawa, as the nation’s capital, is a place for national celebrations and commemorations. The capital is home to the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Valiants Memorial, the Monument to Peace and Remembrance, the Monument to Canadian Aid Workers, and the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights.
While Canada has national memorials, military cemeteries and fields of honour, it did not have, until now, a national cemetery that embraces the breadth and diversity of this land’s social, political and cultural diversity.
The National Cemetery Act confers a very special honour upon Beechwood Cemetery, recognizing it as the national cemetery of Canada, created by Canadians for Canadians.