Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens in North Vancouver, BC, Canada - Winter 2009

Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens in North Vancouver, BC, Canada is not a traditional cemetery; it's a 'cremation cemetery', featuring columbariums, a rose garden and a 'forest grove', and the lake area which is shown in these photographs. There are a number of different kinds of arrangements for memorial inscriptions - from small, simple markers placed in landscaped areas to plaque installations, inscriptions on walls or 'shutters' , inscribed benches, etc. In some cases, memorial inscriptions may have been added for family members whose remains are not here. Originally there were only plastic markers in the ground, grey granite walls or 'shutters' with names inscribed, and the Heather Columbarium. Significant additions and changes have been made in recent years. I believe the pillars and other installations around the lake were done in 2000.

Cremation is very popular here - today apparently some 70% of British Columbia's deceased are cremated. Boal Chapel's originator, Doug Foreman, was one of the members of the Memorial Society of BC which formed in 1956 and he opened an alternative funeral services business in the early 1960s.

His memorial inscription at Boal Chapel reads:

"This sycamore tree was planted in memory of J. Douglas Foreman,founder, who died March 4, 1976. His aim was to provide service which
would ease the emotional and financial burdens of final arrangements and
preserve in memory the life rather than the death of the deceased."

Mr. Foreman's funeral business became First Memorial Funeral Services. Since the late 1980's, Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens and First Memorial Funeral Services have been owned and operated by Service Corp. International (SCI).

Several family members and friends of mine are remembered in this cemetery and I was there recently for a memorial service for Bev Sherman, the British Columbia Genealogical Society member who transcribed the memorial inscriptions here for the Society. Boal Chapel, as it's most often known here, is part way up one of our 'North Shore' mountains and there was still quite a bit of snow on the grounds. I noticed how many visitors have left decorations, flowers or plants at or near a loved one's plaque - some were clearly Valentine's Day tokens.

The Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens is open every day. This is a quiet, calm, peaceful place to walk or, in better weather, to sit in the sunshine and reflect on happy memories.

Members of the British Columbia Genealogical Society have published a CD of memorial inscriptions from Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens, North Vancouver. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, or you have a British Columbia genealogical research query, see the BCGS website: http://www.bcgs.ca/

Boal Chapel Memorial Gardens and First Memorial Funeral Services, 1505 Lilloet Road, North Vancouver, BC. is accessible by public transit, although there is a bit of a walk uphill from the bus stop. There is parking if you were to drive there: www.firstmemorialfuneral.com/northvan

This post was written for the very first Graveyard Rabbits Carnival - from the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.