The chapel and other associated buildings are excellent examples of Victorian Gothic architecture.
Toronto’s first mayor and William Lyon McKenzie (printer and leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837), George Brown (journalist and founder of the Globe and Mail) and Jack Layton are buried here.
Answer the following questions in order to produce a 3-4 page analysis of gravestone types at the Toronto Necropolis.
1. What is the boundary of the graveyard? Can you tell where the newest gravestones are? Do the graves appear planned or haphazard?
2. Record the shape, imagery, dates of 25 gravestones in the graveyard using the table below. Try to find different styles of gravestones to record. Do you find certain gravestone styles in only some areas of the cemetery and not others? Are these styles associated with only certain time periods? What does this tell you about the size of the cemetery at different times and how gravestone styles changed over time?
3. Do multiple gravestone styles appear during the same time period? How might social class have played a role in the kinds of gravestone styles found at the Toronto Necropolis?
4. Do any of these gravestones have epitaphs (short inscriptions memorializing the dead) If so, what do they say? What might they reflect about attitudes toward death? How does the use of epitaphs and what epitaphs say change over time? What might this mean?
5. How are men's and women's gravestones similar? How are they different? Are there differences with respect to gender through time? What might this tell you about the changing roles and statuses of men and women over time?
Terms and details:
Shape: You will see a number of different shapes and sizes of gravestones at the Toronto Necropolis.
Common shapes include obelisks, tablets, urns and blocks. Urns are sometimes found on top of obelisks.
There may be mausoleums (buildings designed to entomb the dead) here as well.
Imagery: Describe the kind of imagery that you see on the gravestones.
Possibilities include angels, pointing hands, shaking hands, flowers, etc…
Epitaph: a short text honoring the deceased.