Victorian Cities of the Dead


Course description

Some of British Columbia’s most impressive 19th-century cemeteries are located in Victoria and instructor John Adams knows them intimately. In this session we’ll explore the history, symbolism, architecture and cultural trends of Victoria’s earliest burial grounds. We’ll follow the development of most of the city’s cemeteries right up until the First World War. Places such as Ross Bay Cemetery, undoubtedly the most famous Victorian-era cemetery in the province, were laid out according to popular ideals of the mid 1800s about how such places should be designed, including what trees should be planted and what the tombstones should look like. We’ll also look at the Jewish Cemetery, the Chinese Cemetery, the Old Burying Ground (Pioneer Square), the Veterans Cemetery and numerous country churchyards in Metchosin and on the Saanich Peninsula.

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