Hamilton Cemetery

Hamilton Municipal Cemeteries Update on COVID-19

Hamilton Municipal Cemeteries remains available to serve families. We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the families we serve, our bereavement partners and our dedicated staff.

Given the current situation with COVID-19, we want to reassure you that we have several ways to communicate, share information and provide cemetery services to you. We continue to adjust our operations to help reduce public interaction to do our part to slow down the transmission of this virus.

Our offices are open with limited public access. We are currently only meeting with families who have experienced a death and require immediate burial arrangements. Should you find it more convenient or preferable, we can make arrangements by phone and email.

  • Appointments will be required. When meeting with our Family Services Coordinator, please use safe distance protocols including no direct physical contact such as handshakes and observe a 6-foot distance whenever possible.
  • Arrangements appointments should be limited to 2 individuals.
  • Payments for services are to be made by credit card.
  • Planning Ahead (Pre-Arranging) - We are not scheduling appointments if a death has not occurred or is imminent at this time. You can contact our office by phone or email for a follow-up appointment at a later date to assist you with your pre-planning needs.
  • Cemetery grounds are open. You can visit a grave, limit to 10 people per grave at one time, please practice physical distancing while on Cemetery grounds.

For all Interment and Cremation Services

  • Any person who is under self-isolation is not permitted to attend services.
  • Graveside Services and gatherings should be limited to immediate family members and will be limited to no more than 50 people. All attending the graveside service must remain 2 meters apart, unless they are part of the same household.
  • We will encourage physical distancing and we ask that you avoid expressions of sympathy like handshaking, hugging and other direct physical contact with your guests.
  • We encourage families to include a message in their obituaries and notices that anybody who is unwell should not attend, and to limit physical contact
  • For lot interments, casketed remains will be placed on a cemetery device. Committal prayers will be completed, if requested, and thereafter patrons will be invited to leave - allowing our staff to complete the interment or burial.
  • There will be no witnessing of lowering the casket or urn for the time being.
  • Cemetery Operational Staff will only proceed to the interment site once all family members have left.


All visitors to our locations (with the exception of cemetery grounds) will be asked the following questions:

  • Do you have flu-like symptoms or any of the following?
    • New or worse cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fever 
    • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Have you travelled outside of Canada after March 13, 2020?
    • If a guest answers yes, they will be asked to return home. The appointment will be cancelled, and Cemetery arrangements will be made remotely.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and adhering to these protocols during these unprecedented times.
Hamilton Municipal Cemeteries
Phone 905-546-4704

Other Known Names York Street Cemetery, Burlington Cemetery
Location 777 York Boulevard
Community Hamilton
Date Built 1847
Size Large 21500 monuments
Space Availability Traditional ground burial and cremation options are somewhat limited. Please contact our Administrative Office at 905-546-4704.


George Hamilton (1787-1836) Early Settler ; James Gage (1779-1854) Early Settler ; Henry Van Wagner (1788-1875) Early settler ; Several people executed at Ancaster "Bloody Assized of 1814" ; Victims of the DesJardins Railway Disaster ; Colin Campbell Ferrie (1808- 1856) First Mayor of Hamilton ; Samuel Lawrence (1879-1959) Hamilton Mayor ; Sanford Denis Biggar (1861-1920) Hamilton Mayor ; John Strathearne Hendrie (1857- 1923) Hamilton Mayor ; American Civil War Veterans ; Martha Julia Cartmell (1845-1945) First woman missionary in Japan ; Adelaide Sophia Hoodless (1858- 1910) Advocate for the care of children and families
During the war of 1812, the British Army required a secure and easily defendable position at the Head-of-the Lake to prevent any American advancement, Selecting the Burlington Heights strip of land as a defensible site; the British constructed a series of earthworks and outpost. During July 1814, the 8 traitors convicted at the Ancaster "Bloody Assizes" were hung here and buried along the Heights. The earthworks were left intact at the end of the war and can be seen within the cemetery property.

In January 1847, Trustees of Christ Church Cathedral purchased land for a cemetery from Sir Allan Napier McNab along the Burlington Heights. The first burial here, for George Pennington, took place that year. The next year, Christ Church sold much of its Burlington heights property to the City of Hamilton for use as a municipal cemetery. The first internment was William Hetherington in 1850. This marked the start of the first municipally owned and operated cemetery in Canada. The original site had a wooden fence and gated, but by 1857 they had become more elaborate, later joined by an iron railing fence. In 1865, the cemetery lodge and chapel were built, which housed the cemetery caretaker, and now the City's cemetery office. In 1872, the Church of Ascension purchased 3 acres from Christ Church on adjoining land for $3000 to create their own cemetery. For the first 50 years, the three cemeteries (Municipal, Christ Cathedral and Ascension) operated independently, but by the 1890s, the churches were finding it difficult to afford the maintenance. In 1892 an agreement was reached between the interested parties to transfer all responsibility to the City of Hamilton, creating one entity out of the three cemeteries, unified under Hamilton Cemetery. In 1899 a system of perpetual care was created, which charged lot owners $0.50 per grave per year.

While the cemetery was heavily used until the end of the 19th century, by the first decades of the 20th century there was little vacant burial space. New municipal cemeteries were needed and ultimately created at Woodland and Eastlawn. Hamilton Cemetery is still open for burials for those who own deeds to unused plots.

Over the years, a number of bodies have been reinterred here from other smaller cemeteries. These include bodies from St Paul's Presbyterian, Christ Church Cathedral and small family plots like the Hamilton family. The cemetery also contains 2 vaults built into the 1812 earthworks: Tuckett and Watkins with the Sandford Mausoleum nearby. The Hamilton vault is situated in another section of the cemetery.