Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide


286 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 0-920668-69-0
DDC 917.13'541044






Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


This handsome volume salutes Mount Pleasant Cemetery’s 125th year.
Although there have been more than 168,000 interments in Mount Pleasant,
it is far more than simply a burial place. Within its boundaries are a
treasury of monumental sculpture and a superlative collection of trees
and shrubs, as well as uniquely tangible evidence of Toronto’s

The size and style of the monuments, and the gradual changes
discernible in the names inscribed on them parallel the development of a
once predominantly Anglo-Saxon community into a multicultural and
multiethnic metropolis. There are fashions in memorials: the pioneers’
simple stones give way to the grandiose structures beloved of the
Victorians, which are in turn replaced by today’s more modest markers.
Also, creamation now being a preferred alternative to burial, provision
for this ceremony is made in the Scattering Garden.

Even as styles change, so do regulations. Yes, cemeteries too have
their rules. Now only hard-wearing stone such as granite, capable of
withstanding a harsh climate, may be used, instead of softer marbles and
limestones of yesteryear. Rock-sided monuments are no longer permitted:
now all sides must be finished.

The book includes many maps of the various sections and walkways,
photographs of many important and interesting monuments, and brief
biographies of many who rest in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Filey,
Toronto’s resident social historian, has once more compiled a valuable
and readable reference work.


Filey, Mike., “Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,