The (Old St. Paul's) Burying Ground
Halifax, Nova Scotia

This cemetery is simply wonderful. It is preserved and maintained by the Old Burying Ground Foundation who have obviously done their homework in terms of conservation, restoration and interpretation. The repair work to individual monuments is sound and appropriate: modern, safe materials and techniques have been utilised (see right). There are several didactic panels throughout the cemetery explaining local history and encouraging people to help preserve the site (gravestone rubbing is not allowed).

The cemetery dates to the beginning of Halifax and might well be the oldest cemetery in the Maritime Provinces. The oldest stone dates to 1752. In 1793, the Burying Ground was turned over to the care of St. Paul's Church. About 1000 gravestones are still intact dating from the beginning of the cemetery to its close in 1831. The centrepiece of the cemetery is the Sebastopol Monument, erected in honour of two Halifax men, Major A. F. Welsford and Captain William Parker, who were killed in the Crimean War.

The Old Burying Ground is also the final resting place of many heroes of the war of 1812 including Major General Sir Robert Ross who defeated the American force at Bladensburg and (on the same day) staged a surprise attack on Washington: laying waste to most of the city. Ross was killed on September 12, 1814 during an attack on Baltimore. a photo of his tomb is on the left.

When you visit The Burying Ground, make sure you walk up the street and visit St. Paul's Church. It is the oldest Anglican church in Canada and, in the year 2000, celebrates its 250th anniversary. There are 20 people buried in the vaults beneath St. Paul's and commemorative plaques decorate the walls of the church. There is a wealth of genealogical information available at St. Paul's but phone ahead and make an appointment. The church is in the process of digitising all of the marriage certificates in its possession. I also recommend picking up the commemorative book "St Paul's in the Grand Parade" by Sarah Baxter Emsley. It makes a great read and shows off the church in all its splendour. A list of names from the tombstones at this cemetery can be found here.