St. John’s Norway Cemetery and Crematorium is no stranger to crowds. But on Sept. 15, the cemetery grounds were a bit livelier than usual, as community members gathered to celebrate 160 years in the Beach.
“We thought it was a huge success,” said the Rev. Canon Cheryl Palmer. “Those who came had a great time.”
While a cemetery might normally be thought of as a solemn place, Palmer said she hopes the party – which may yet turn into a regular event – helped some neighbours change their perceptions of the cemetery into a place to be visited regularly.
“Some people think you only go there if you have some grave reason, pardon the pun, and that’s not the case,” she said.
To that end, the day’s events included a barbecue, live entertainment from the Missing A Man Trio and Groove Stone, a historical walking tour of some of the more notable graves on the grounds, prayers at the Commonwealth war graves and even a scavenger hunt for children. Palmer hopes involving the children in fun activities will help them grow up without irrational fears of cemeteries.
In the end, Palmer wants Beach residents to know the cemetery grounds at St. John Norway are open for the living, too.
“Come, bring your children and just experience the place. It’s 35 acres and it’s for the community,” she said.