Remembrance Grove is getting talked about... and growing!

At the June launch of Remembrance Grove, an area dedicated to ecological burials where trees are used as monuments, 15 plots were made available. Then, on August 11, we added 25 more. Already, barely 3 months later, only 5 of the 40 open plots remain available. We will open another 25 soon, bringing the total to 65 plots since the launch just a few months ago. The feedback from our customers has been extremely positive.

In addition, we've also had great media coverage lately:

A television report on Global News

An article in La Presse+

For more information on Remembrance Grove, click here.

Creation of ecological spaces at the Cemetery and the Université de Montréal with the support of Les Amis de la montagne

We have already mentioned our project to develop, in collaboration with the Université de Montréal, new ecological spaces on our respective properties. This collaboration, which aims to optimize the planning and implementation of our respective development projects, took off this summer.

With the Université de Montréal, we agreed to kick off the first year of our plan to create renaturalization areas to improve habitats and biodiversity. The first step was to identify five study areas of different sizes on our respective lands, where the lawn was removed and replaced by the seeding of a dozen native plants. These plant species were selected on the basis of information provided by the Service des grands parcs, du Mont-Royal et des sports and the Bureau de la transition écologique et de la résilience from the City of Montréal.

The species being used are the shiny sedge, kinky sedge, zigzag goldenrod, wood goldenrod, uneven-glume sporobola, fistula monarda, evening primrose, Canada anemone, Canada astragalus, umbelliferous aster, golden zizia, and red fescue.

Photo © Antonia Leney-Granger


Each of the four spaces, both at the Cemetery and UdM, has been seeded with a different combination of the 12 species mentioned above so that it will be possible to monitor the growth of the vegetation over the next few months and review the results in the fall. Alexandre Beaudoin, biodiversity advisor at UdM, is overseeing the scientific angle of this joint project and the Cemetery has also called on Frédérique Bujold, an Environment and Sustainable Development master's degree student at the Université de Montréal, to monitor the work on the two sites, analyze the growth of the vegetation and ensure new seeds are harvested at the end of the season. She will also collaborate in the study and planning of other projects that are part of the implementation of the Cemetery's green plan.

This project reflects our commitment to greening, the environment and sustainability. The support of our clients is a driving force behind these changes and our new initiatives, including our “Leave no trace” policy and the development of Remembrance Grove for those who prefer a greener interment, with a tree as commemorative monument. The expertise offered by the Université de Montréal will allow us to do better and go further.

The results of the next few months will allow us to plan the first phase of the transformation, starting in the spring of 2022, of about one million square feet (93,000 square metres) of previously grassy area, into a flowering meadow covered with native perennial species. Most of these lands are not intended for future burials.

In anticipation of this work, the lawns on the land to be converted weren’t mowed this year and will not be mowed in the future. The presence of long grass mowed once a year will help enrich the biodiversity of these areas and prepare them for seeding with native species in the coming years.


Support from Les Amis de la montagne

“We are very pleased with this extraordinary project between our partners at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery and Université de Montréal. Such a transformation will increase biodiversity on Mount Royal for decades to come, to the benefit of the flora, fauna and all the people who live in or visit the surrounding neighbourhoods,” said Hélène Panaïoti, Executive Director, les Amis de la montagne. We are tracking the evolution of this inspiring project closely and with great interest, as it is likely to become a benchmark. Indeed, it will be the flagship pilot project presented at the next meeting of our Community of Practice for Large Institutional Landowners on Mount Royal in October, which will focus on the ecological management of the mountain's grassy areas.

Remembrance Grove welcomes its first resident

Today, we pay tribute to Mrs. Ana S.L., who was interred yesterday afternoon under the first tree of Remembrance Grove. She thus inaugurates a new chapter at Notre Dame des Neiges, a chapter in her image: in harmony with nature.

Originally from Venezuela, Ana S.L. taught fine arts in her native country, and owned a gift store whose imports from New York and elsewhere in the world were highly prized. She was an avid sportswoman, including diving, hiking and backpacking. It was relatively recently that she immigrated to Canada, a country she chose for its nature and wide open spaces. When she heard about Remembrance Grove, knowing she was ill, she told her family that this was the option she wanted upon her departure. She chose the sugar maple tree as a natural monument to her memory, echoing one of her first paintings upon her arrival in Canada which depicted a maple leaf, a symbol of her host country and her love of nature.

We salute Mrs. Ana S.L. and offer our sincere condolences to her family. May she find peace and serenity in the company of the nature she loved so much.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery regrets the demonstration by its operation employees' union

Montreal, June 3, 2021 – The Fabrique de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Montréal and the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery denounce the behaviour of the union that represents their CSN-affiliated operation employees, which organized a demonstration on the Cemetery grounds this morning during the hours when the grounds were open to mourning families and visitors. This demonstration took many forms, including a noisy and disruptive parade of multiple cars that drove through the Cemetery, deliberately disturbing the normal and expected peace and quiet of the site to the detriment of the families we serve.

Despite requests from Cemetery management, the union leadership refused to ask their members to stop this noisy demonstration, claiming that it was a CSN initiative. The demonstration took place on the cemetery grounds, with a truck bearing CSN colours carrying a coffin containing a seated skeleton, while a grieving family came to bury their mother's ashes.

The Cemetery is private property where this type of demonstration is strictly prohibited. The demonstrators kept up their actions and it took the intervention of several Montreal police officers to put an end to the demonstration.

The Fabrique de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Montréal and Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery condemn such actions, which testify to a profound contempt for the families of the deceased and for the very mission of the Cemetery, which provides employment for all members of the operation employees' union. Such illegal behaviour cannot be tolerated.

Minimizing the disturbance caused by groundhogs

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery invites its visitors to use the customer service line 514-735-1361 to report any presence of above-ground bones on the Cemetery grounds.

We are very sensitive to the inconvenience that groundhogs can cause when they push human bones to the surface while digging their burrows. This is why we have established, several years ago, a protocol for rapid intervention when the presence of bones on the surface is reported to our customer service department. As soon as we know the precise location of the bones, we intervene within the hour to correct the situation by blocking the exit of the burrow and reburying the bones in the area where they were discovered.

The Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery is very large (more than 340 acres) and this year it is again home to a large number of groundhogs. The absence of predators and the laws and regulations that protect wildlife force us to cohabit with them. However, we hope that this cohabitation goes hand in hand with the respect of the families of our deceased and of our visitors.

Thank you for your collaboration.