Frequently Asked Questions


What does opening and closing involve?

Opening and closing can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, levelling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and levelling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles.


Can we dig our own grave?

Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.


Why is having a place to visit so important?

To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfils the natural human desire for memorialization.


What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Whenever a cemetery takes money for a plot it is required to invest a significant portion of that money into a “Care and Maintenance Fund” this fund is set aside for continuing maintenance and repair on the cemetery property, interest only may be used so the cemetery may be taken care of perpetually.


How soon after or how long after a death must an individual be buried?

There is no law that states a specific time for burial. Considerations that will affect timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. Public health laws may have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Another consideration would be the time of year; many cemeteries in our area are not able to open graves during winter months, so in this case the deceased  will be kept through the temporarily in a mausoleum and burial will happen as soon as the ground thaws. Embalming must always happen in cases that the burial is delayed by more than 4 days. Contact us for more details.


What options are available besides ground burial?

Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, most cemeteries provide choices for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space. Also ashes may be spread in prescribed areas outside a cemetery.


What are burial vaults and grave liners?

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, plastic or fibreglass. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault which keeps the grave surface from sinking in and protects the casket from damage when digging neighbouring graves.


Must I purchase a burial vault?

Most large, active cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. Under new legislation all cemeteries in Ontario are required to offer a section that does not required a vault or grave liner, so if that is you wish make sure the cemetery knows when the plot is purchased. If the plot is already purchased in a section where vaults are required a vault or grave liner will need to be used. Some older graves may not be able to fit a vault as casket and vault dimensions have change over the years and the plot may not be large enough to inter a modern vault.

Is it possible to plan a funeral in advance?

Absolutely! It is possible for anyone to pre-plan a funeral and/or pre-pay for it. Pre-planning your funeral is as simple as calling the funeral home and making an appointment with the funeral director. You would need to bring your social insurance number with you and information on cemetery plots if available. During your meeting with the funeral director, you will be discussing specific plans and ideas about how you would like the funeral conducted for you or your loved one.

What are the benefits of pre-planning my funeral?

There are many benefits of pre-planning for your funeral. Pre-planning takes the responsibility away from a family member at the time of your death. It also gives you the opportunity to get down on paper some of the things that are important to you in how your funeral or memorial is conducted.

Do I have to pay for my funeral at the time of pre-arrangement?

No, you do not have to pay for your funeral at the time that you make your pre-arrangements. Payment can take place at the time the pre-arrangement is made, or can be made at various intervals decided upon by you. It is also possible to not make any payments on your pre-arrangements until the time of your death.

What happens to the interest income on money that is pre-paid and put into a trust account?

The money that is put into a trust account generates interest. That interest remains in the trust account and is added onto the principle. The interest is intended to pay for any increases in costs that may occur from the time of pre-arrangement to the time of need. Any monies left over after the contract is fulfilled would be payable to your estate.

Can pre-paid funerals be transferred to another funeral home or cancelled?

Yes, pre-paid or pre-arranged funerals can be transferred to another funeral home or cancelled. In this event, you would contact the funeral home in which you wish to transfer your pre-paid funeral to. The funeral director would then look after all the details in having the account transferred.

Are you protected if the funeral home you pre-paid with goes out of business?

Yes, you are protected. The money that you have invested is held in trust by an approved financial institution; therefore, the success of the funeral home you have pre-paid with has no effect on your investment.

What kind of information or documents do I need to bring with me to make funeral arrangements or pre-arrangements?

The following is statistical information about a person whose funeral is being arranged that will be requested by a funeral director.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Birthdate and Birthplace
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Full name of spouse even if widowed or divorced (maiden name if wife)
  • Most recent occupation
  • Father's Name and Birthplace
  • Mother's Name and Birthplace (maiden name needed)
  • Next-of-Kin

Home | ResourcesContact UsStaffPre-Planning | Obituaries
©copyright 2011, all rights reserved, Brian E. Wood Funeral Home    Design by techStudio

250 14th Street West, Owen Sound, Ontario  N4K 3X8
Phone: (519) 376-7492 Fax: (519) 376-7075