Historical Walking Tours

Hamilton Municipal Cemeteries are like museums, with their headstones serving as a record of our culture and social history. Through an enduring stone, they reflect personal and national sentiment; speak of love, pity, and patriotism; summarize lives of remarkable longevity and remind us of lives lost through tragedy. Many of Hamilton’s colourful characters and history lie buried in our cemeteries.

Hamilton Municipal Cemeteries offers two types of tours. The Stories In The Stones are weekly historical tours and our History Unearthed – Historical Tours are geared to educational groups and private tours groups.

History Unearthed Historical Tours

(groups of 5 - 25 people)
The Hamilton Cemetery is Canada’s first and oldest municipally owned and operated cemetery providing a lasting memorial, permanent tribute and a final resting place to many loved ones. History Unearthed Tours are historically factual and designed to tell the history of the cemetery and some notable burials. The first burial recorded took place on May 14, 1850. Step back in time, and into history.

Tours can be organized for your school group, service club or for a group of friends. To arrange for a private tour, please email [email protected]. There is no cost for any of our tours. Cemeteries are sacred places where the dead are laid to rest with dignity. Visitors are asked to behave respectfully, please follow the directions and instructions of your tour guide.

Stories In The Stones LogoStories in the Stones

The Stories In The Stones Tours tell the fascinating stories through free guided walking tours at Hamilton Cemetery each Saturday between May to November.

Local historian and storyteller Robin McKee guides you through historic Hamilton Cemetery with various themed tours he has created. Themed tours will include early settlers such as Robert Land and George Hamilton, victims of the Desjardins Railway Disaster.

Tours start at 11 am at the Cemetery Gatehouse 777 York Blvd. across from Dundurn Castle and run for approximately 1.5 hours. Tours take place rain or shine. Please wear appropriate clothing, shoes and bring water to drink. Tours and dates are subject to change.

  • Sponsored by Dodsworth & Brown Funeral Homes
  • Hosted by  Robin McKee of Historical Perceptions

Hamilton Firsts Tour
Learn about the many firsts of Hamilton, some that you might have never known about. The first mayor, the first doctor, the first settler, and many more. Not just people, but many other firsts for Hamilton. A great tour to learn some of Hamilton’s best history.

The Hamilton Women’s Tour
Women have played an important part in the history of Hamilton. You will learn about the stories of mothers, matrons, educators, artists and even a murderer. Over 10 years of research has gone into the Hamilton Women's Tour. The tour takes you back to what society was like for women during the Victorian era.

War of 1812 Tour
From fort to cemetery. Learn about the War of 1812 and the Fort at Burlington Heights. Learn about the 1812 defensive fort for the British Military or the spy who is buried in Hamilton Cemetery. This tour is great for children as they can help show how the cemetery was a fort in 1912.

The Civil War Tour
Learn about Hamiltonians who went to war, survived, and returned home. The Canadian history and involvement in the Civil War. Hamilton Cemetery is the final resting place for a number of American Civil War Veterans including Colonel William Winer Cooke.

The Masonic Tour
A Da Vinci Code Tour? Learn about the Masons in Hamilton and their influence on the City. Secrets might be revealed. A society of secrets, not a secret society told in the stories in the stones.

Art Crawl Tour
Continue the James Street North Art Crawl in the Hamilton Cemetery. Meet the artists, poets, and musicians of the past and learn their stories. On the way, learn about cemetery art, statues, and Victorian symbolism.

The Disasters Tour
Disasters, demises, diseases, and yes disappearances. Learn of events that tried to destroy our city. The history of the 1857 Desjardins Canal Bridge rail disaster, the most celebrated technology of the era. Hamilton Cemeteries gravestones and monuments tell the stories of disasters of many kind.

The Firefighters Tour
Firefighters rush into danger to protect Canadians’ safety, welfare, and property. They are often the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency, and they are pillars of our community. Learn about these local heroes who died saving our lives, homes, and our city, from devastating fires.

Power of the City Tour
Learn about the “powers” that drive this city. Industry, transportation, crime and yes, the power of love.

The Past Mayors Tour
Who were these gentlemen and what did they do for our city? Learn who lead us, when, and what happened in Hamilton on their watch. Hamilton Cemetery has a number of past Mayors buried including Mayor Colin Campbell Ferrie, Hamilton’s first Mayor.

The Veterans Tour
Honour the men and women from Hamilton, who served from 1776 to the Korean War. The Loss Monument and the Cross of Sacrifice are important monuments and markers dedicated to our Veterans. Hamilton lost many of its sons and daughters during and after the various wars of the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Join us for a lively, informative tour of selected grave sites in historical Hamilton Cemetery. Tours start at 11 am at the Cemetery Gatehouse 777 York Blvd. across from Dundurn Castle and run for approximately 1.5 hours. Tours are free and hosted by volunteer guides. Tours and dates are subject to change. No Reservations. Rain or shine. 

Cemeteries are sacred places where the dead are laid to rest with dignity. Visitors are asked to behave respectfully, please follow the directions and instructions of your tour guide.

2022 Tour Schedule

Stories in the Stones: War of 1812 Tour

Saturday, May 21, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

From fort to cemetery. Learn about the War of 1812 and the Fort at Burlington Heights.

Stories in the Stones: The Civil War Tour

Saturday, May 28, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about Hamiltonians who went to war, survived and returned home. The Canadian history and involvement in the Civil War.

Stories in the Stones: Power of the City Tour

Saturday, June 4, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Who were these guys and what did they do for our city? Learn who lead us, when, and what happened in Hamilton on their watch.

Stories in the Stones: Art Crawl Tour

Saturday, June 11, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Continue the James Street North Art Crawl in the Hamilton Cemetery. Meet the artists, poets and musicians of the past and learn their stories.

Stories in the Stones: The Disasters Tour

Saturday, June 18, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Disasters, demises, diseases, and yes disappearances. Learn of events that tried to destroy our city.

Stories in the Stones: The Hamilton Women’s Tour

Saturday, June 25, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Women have played an important part in the history of Hamilton.

Stories in the Stones: The Civil War Tour

Saturday, July 2, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about Hamiltonians who went to war, survived and returned home. The Canadian history and involvement in the Civil War.

Stories in the Stones: Art Crawl Tour

Saturday, July 9, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Continue the James Street North Art Crawl in the Hamilton Cemetery. Meet the artists, poets and musicians of the past and learn their stories.

Stories in the Stones: The Masonic Tour

Saturday, July 16, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about the Masons in Hamilton and their influence on the City. A Da Vinci Code Tour? Secrets will be revealed.

Stories in the Stones: Hamilton Firsts Tour

Saturday, July 23, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about the many firsts of Hamilton, the first mayor, the first doctor, the first settler, and many more.

Stories in the Stones: War of 1812 Tour

Saturday, July 30, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

From fort to cemetery. Learn about the War of 1812 and the Fort at Burlington Heights.

Stories in the Stones: The Civil War Tour

Saturday, August 6, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about Hamiltonians who went to war, survived and returned home. The Canadian history and involvement in the Civil War.

Stories in the Stones: Art Crawl Tour

Saturday, August 13, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Continue the James Street North Art Crawl in the Hamilton Cemetery. Meet the artists, poets and musicians of the past and learn their stories.

Stories in the Stones: The Firefighters Tour

Saturday, August 20, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about these local heroes who died saving our lives, homes, and our city, from devastating fires.

Stories in the Stones: Power of the City Tour

Saturday, August 27, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Who were these guys and what did they do for our city? Learn who lead us, when, and what happened in Hamilton on their watch.

Stories in the Stones: The Hamilton Women’s Tour

Saturday, September 3, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Women have played an important part in the history of Hamilton.

Stories in the Stones: Art Crawl Tour

Saturday, September 10, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Continue the James Street North Art Crawl in the Hamilton Cemetery. Meet the artists, poets and musicians of the past and learn their stories.

Stories in the Stones: The Disasters Tour

Saturday, September 17, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Disasters, demises, diseases, and yes disappearances. Learn of events that tried to destroy our city.

Stories in the Stones: The Firefighters Tour

Saturday, September 24, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about these local heroes who died saving our lives, homes, and our city, from devastating fires.

Stories in the Stones: Hamilton Firsts Tour

Saturday, October 1, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about the many firsts of Hamilton, the first mayor, the first doctor, the first settler, and many more.

Stories in the Stones: Power of the City Tour

Saturday, October 8, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Who were these guys and what did they do for our city? Learn who lead us, when, and what happened in Hamilton on their watch.

Stories in the Stones: The Masonic Tour

Saturday, October 15, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about the Masons in Hamilton and their influence on the City. A Da Vinci Code Tour? Secrets will be revealed.

Stories in the Stones: The Past Mayors Tour

Saturday, October 22, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Who were these guys and what did they do for our city? Learn who lead us, when, and what happened in Hamilton on their watch.

Stories in the Stones: War of 1812 Tour

Saturday, October 29, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

From fort to cemetery. Learn about the War of 1812 and the Fort at Burlington Heights.

Stories in the Stones: The Civil War Tour

Saturday, November 5, 2022
11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Learn about Hamiltonians who went to war, survived and returned home. The Canadian history and involvement in the Civil War.

Stories in the Stones: The Veterans Tour & Remembrance Event

Saturday, November 12, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Honour the men and women from Hamilton, who served from 1776 to the Korean War.

Stories in the Stones: The Veterans Tour

Saturday, November 19, 2022
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Hamilton Cemetery, 777 York Boulevard
Across from Dundurn Castle
, Hamilton

Honour the men and women from Hamilton, who served from 1776 to the Korean War.