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This Victoria cemetery offers a uniquely pristine setting to honour and remember your loved ones

Royal Oak Burial Park is Greater Victoria’s only not-for-profit, community-owned burial park and cremation memorial facility
Main road at Royal Oak Burial Park.

Coming to terms with our mortality can invite hard truths and uncomfortable discussions – but navigating those moments can be done meaningfully with care and compassion.

And the team at Victoria’s Royal Oak Burial Park does precisely that.

This is a not-for-profit, community-owned organization with an approach that is family-service centered, compassionate and holistic. Set amongst rolling hills lined with towering trees and lush vegetation, Royal Oak Burial Park is a beautiful place to remember our family, friends and loved ones.

“It’s one of those things - death is a for-sure, and yet, in North America, nobody wants to talk about it,” explains Lorraine Fracy, Royal Oak’s Manager of Business Development and Client Services. “We are good at having these conversations by first talking about death and then finding a comfort zone within the families, no matter how that looks – they could be 105 or five, but we have to have that conversation.”

Because Royal Oak Burial Park operates as a non-profit, this creates a safe environment for people to receive unbiased factual information. By consulting with Royal Oak first, consumers are educated and equipped with the necessary knowledge to shop around if need be. 

Fountain. Photo by Royal Oak Burial Park

“Cemeteries are in perpetuity, whereas funeral home visits have a start and an end,” Fracy says. “But with us, the cemetery component is forever, and forever is a long time – we take pride in acknowledging that.”

Another point of pride for Royal Oak Burial Park is innovation.

To that end, the park introduced Canada’s first green burial site over a decade ago, allowing a final resting place where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and contribute to environmental renewal. They also offer back-to-the-earth options for ashes for those who choose cremation.

A body is prepared for green burial without embalming and buried in a biodegradable shroud, simple container or casket made from natural fibre, wicker or sustainably harvested wood.

Another Royal Oak first is the Little Spirits Garden, which was created in 2010 to support parents and families who experience the loss of a pregnancy or infant.

This area includes small spirit houses nestled amongst a beautiful West Coast forest. The physical remains can be scattered into the soil or placed into an ossuary.

“Each family takes a spirit house home to decorate in memory of their lost infant. When they are ready, the spirit house is returned to Royal Oak, and the Little Spirit Garden becomes a permanent home for their house,” explains Royal Oak Burial Park executive director Ilan Highton.

Cultural, religious and ethnic wishes are also respected and accommodated.

Upright or flat memorial headstones are available, along with mausoleum entombment and graves facing east-west, or north-south. Those belonging to the Muslim or Baháʼí faith are also provided with options that allow bodies to touch the soil, in accordance with those traditions.

“People were asking us, ‘Why do I have to be embalmed, why do I have to have a heavy-duty casket, or why can’t I just go into the soil?’ Fracy explains. “We’ve listened to the consumers, and have adapted for them, and will continue as life evolves.”

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