Post details: List-er-ino Fridays: My Favourite Cemeteries

06/29/07

Permalink 09:26:59 am, by Email , 1278 words   English (CA)
Categories: List-er-ino Fridays, Day Tripping & Travel

List-er-ino Fridays: My Favourite Cemeteries

On the history blog yesterday, I typed a novel post about cemeteries.

Now, before ANYONE out there goes, Oh great! The ghost goof and former goth has a thing for cemeteries!, I'd recommend reading the post... even if you glance at it... Click here (opens a new window)...

Sorry, I don't look for ghosts at a cemetery and the thought of doing groovy poses for some ridiculous photo shoot, even way back when, was just DUMB, DUMB, DUMB!

...that said, I always liked visiting them... and still do...

Perhaps it's because my formative years were spent living close to my #1 choice on this list... that said...

Matthew's Five Favourite Cemeteries to Visit

St. Peter's Anglican Church
Thanks to Cyn City's blog... I hope they don't mind my "borrowing" the image... I have e-mailed to ask and may need to remove it if requested to...

#5: St. Peter's Anglican Churchyard, Maple Lake, Stanhope Township, Ontario, Canada

There are older... and there are more "impressive"... but none with more meaning to me personally.

We had a family cottage a few minutes walk from the wonderful old church... which, by "international standards" is young at about a century old... but up there, it was ancient.

It's where my father wanted to be buried (we decided on another cemetery in this list for convenience sake,) and where, had not a horrible twist of family fate hit in the last year or so, I was hoping I might end up...

It's peaceful field, near some gentle rapids and will always be a home away from home for me... and despite now being horribly inconvenient, I will visit again sometime...

Pere LaChaise

#4: Père Lachaise in Paris

Too many people just go to see Jim Morrison's grave... whether Jim is really in there is up to the reader... but besides The Door's deceased frontman, there's a cornucopia of famous people interred in Paris' richest and most historic burial ground.

Honoré de Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, Édith Piaf, Marcel Proust, and the list goes on and on...

My favourite is Oscar Wilde who's unique "monument" features an Egyptian "sphinx like" thing that at one point, apparently featured an enormous... um... "thingy". Well, apparently in the Victorian era, some women of good standing were appalled at the tomb and... well... performed a bit surgery... and now, our Egyptian-looking fellow is a eunuch.

You can spend HOURS just wandering... some graves are well maintained, other's are not... and it's the reclamation of nature that intrigues me as much as the famous folk who "inhabit" the site. I feel sorry, however, for those who got planted near Morrison's tomb... true to the type, almost every marker (including his) is covered in graffiti and many have been vandalized in the "name of Jim"... and that is an absolute shame.

Kensal Green Cemetery

#3: Kensal Green Cemetery, London

Okay, most people who are thanatologists or simply into cemeteries KNOWS that London's Highgate Cemetery is THE place to be... and I'd disagree.

Although Highgate is marvellous and definitely worthy of visiting, the raw and uncluttered appeal of Kensal Green drew me more...

Perhaps it's because upon entering, the first thing on your right are pauper's graves... which is EXTREMELY emotionally charged to look at... especially when there's a child's grave there... and not too far, enormous mausoleums in stark contrast.

Highgate had more "ruin" than many cemeteries, but Kensal Green's "ruin" was more honest... more stark... it's a "guttural" trip through a cemetery where Highgate is more "park-like" and serene-back-to-nature in it's bearing...

There's famed folk here... and even two "royals" with Princess Sophia and Prince Augustus Frederick (both children of Mad King George III)!!!

Charles Babbage (without whom, you wouldn't be reading this), Charles Blondin, Hugh Falconer, and Anthony Trollope are here...

Freddie Mercury was cremated at Kensal Green... but his ashes whereabouts are unknown...

Sue's Queen in Westminster

#2: Westminster Abbey, London

London gets TWO spots because many people who haven't been to the abbey don't realise that it's an amazing cemetery... yup, inside... the crypt is jammed with royal blood, great heroes, and even artists...

Literally, almost EVERY step on the floor is a monument to a name you will have heard of... and in every side-chapel and every main chapel, the elite and the ruling reside... it's breathtaking from a historical sense.

Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Edward the Confessor... dear God, the list is FAR too long...

For example, near the place where you pay to enter, you have to ask as his monument isn't nearby, but Sir Isaac Newton's crypt is under the floor here... and he obviously is showing us in death that gravity works (he hasn't floated up yet...)

Missing this as a tourist should be considered a crime...

An excellent book on my favourite cemetery...

#1: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario

Beautiful, park-like, laid out like a garden, huge...

All describe my favourite burial ground... Mount Pleasant... where my own father is interred...

Aside from the splendid monuments, magnificent mausoleums, and unbelievable landscapes, Mount Pleasant is also a terrific arboretum featuring more and varied trees than anywhere else in Canada.

Aside from my father, you can find Banting and Best (discoverers of insulin), George Montegu Black II (Conrad's father), Timothy Eaton (retail magnate), Northrop Frye, Glenn Gould, James Henry Gundy (of Wood-Gundy Stock Brokerage), William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister and someone's grandson...), and Hart Massey who's offspring are a little more "world-known" than their dad...

You'll also find a fellow named Charles Smith... who's early demise led to his wife and young daughter trying to make it in "showbiz" and young Gladys Louise Smith would see her name changed... and despite being a Torontonian at birth, would become "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford.

Mount Pleasant is like a well-kept Highgate Cemetery... or Père Lachaise... and probably wouldn't be too exciting for it's historic relevance save those with an interest in Canadian history, but if you find yourself in Toronto and are "in" to this sort of thing... it's WELL worth the visit.


Now, these are MY favourites... and I'm not a world traveller by any means and I'd love to see cemeteries in Greece, Germany, Austria, Italy (The Catacombe dei Cappuccini in Palermo is high on my list), and many in the United States (especially in New Orleans and Los Angeles)...

...and then there's Vimy Ridge... and The Taj Mahal... both HIGH on my list too...

...and other's I don't have time to mention... like Drummond Hill and St. Mark's... or The Necropolis and St. James...

...but suffice to say, the above five RIGHT NOW have the most meaning to me... and are, indeed, my favourites.

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Comments:

Comment from: MsDemmie [Visitor] Email · http://msdemmie.wordpress.com/
I understand the monument with the *thingy* is still there and er .... still used. It also features heavily in Goth/fetish photography by Christophe Morte.

It is on our list for a visit in December - I will try and get some pictures.
PermalinkPermalink 07/04/07 @ 09:51
Comment from: admin [Member] Email · http://www.doubledeckerbuses.org/
Hey MsDemmie... I know... last I was there, in 1995, the monument, sans "thingy", was about...

Funny story though...

A young lady on our message board who was a "fan" uploaded an image she'd found online of the memorial... it was almost covered in very obvious "kisses" in bright lipstick. She said she found it great that so many other women like here admired the man...

...it was a combination of guilty pleasure and glee to explain that this was most likely not from women and that she had best brush up on her biographies. :)
PermalinkPermalink 07/04/07 @ 20:04

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