This Week in History
Serenity in Mount Pleasant Cemetery
This story was initially published in 2003
On November 4, 1876, the Mount Pleasant Cemetery officially opened in Toronto, Ontario. Located not far from the city centre, this carefully tended cemetery in a magnificent setting is a peaceful place of rest for both the dead and the living.
The Mount Pleasant Cemetery, noted at the time for its rural location, is now incorporated into the City of Toronto, which has expanded continuously for nearly 200 years. Even today, a walk in the grounds of Mount Pleasant Cemetery will help one forget the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city. This setting is attributed in large part to the genius of the German-born landscape architect Henry Engelhardt. In 1874, he was charged with developing plans for the cemetery, which included a network of roads and winding trails crisscrossing the site. The cemetery encompasses a number of islands, where funerary monuments and abundant vegetation grace the landscape. Strollers and tourists can admire the monuments erected in honour of many famous citizens, such as William Lyon Mackenzie King, who found their final resting place here.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery is a product of an important movement to create rural cemeteries that spread through Europe, the United States and Canada in the 19th century. Mount Pleasant Cemetery is a perfect example of a large rural cemetery that combines the aesthetics of monument design with the beauty of scenic landscapes. The cemetery was designated as a national historic site in 2000.
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