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Beach Triangle Residents Association

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The Beach Triangle Residents Association, Toronto, Ontario

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Ontario Genealogical Society Transcribes St. John's Norway Cemetery Headstones

By Edythe Gerrard

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This cemetery has been our neighbour since 1853. It is a nondenominational burial ground. Bishop John Strachan granted three acres of land to Charles Coxwell Small for a church and a small cemetery in 1853. The rest of the funds to increase it to its current thirty five acres were collected from donations and purchases

The Ontario Genealogical Society has finished the transcription of the headstones. There are about 80,000 burials and their index contains 55,000 names. It took several years and the work of fifty volunteers to complete the task. The Society believes in preserving the history written there. The transcriptions are used not only by genealogists but by social scientists and historians.

The first burial was in 1853. It was William Dawes, a local farmer and storekeeper. While you are enjoying a quiet walk in this peaceful place you might also look for Mary Hastings who died in 1846. She was a member of the Ashbridge family and was moved there from a family plot on their estate. Joseph Williams who gave us Kew Gardens, and Dr. William Young, whose memorial is in Kew Gardens, rests there along with Rowland Harris who developed the water treatment plant. Look for Ted Reeve and Victor Sunderland, a Titanic survivor. Perhaps the most touching monument is for Janet Holmes. It is a metal and glass lighthouse placed there in her memory. Her husband kept it lit until his death in 1964.

For more information on the CD containing the full transcripts of grave markers from the cemetery, see: (or more simply: