Laurel Hill Cemetery

  • For the first sixty years in Albion Township and in Bolton, burials were either in private plots or in church burial grounds
  • In 1891, Albert Dodds and Andrew McFall recognized the need for a public cemetery in Bolton; after going on a tour of other communities, they set up a local committee to suggest an appropriate location and process for a cemetery.1
  • Out of that evolved the Laurel Hill Cemetery Co which was organized in 1893, a hillside property was purchased from Samuel Stewart and the land was registered for burials in 1894
  • The cemetery board was a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Bolton’s industrial, commercial and farming community
  • Cemetery officers were: Henry Rutherford (local merchant), Albert Dodds (carriage maker/undertaker) and Andrew McFall (miller)
  • Directors included: Dr. David Bonnar (local doctor and coroner), Robert Burton (retired farmer, Bolton resident), William Dick (foundry owner), Charles Jaffary (Albion farmer), Edwin A. Jaffary (merchant) and Albert Rutherford (Albion farmer)
  • From their foresight has evolved a truly unique and beautiful cemetery

    The stone entrance to Laurel Hill Cemetery. All cemetery buildings are heritage designated. Photo taken 2018.
Octagonal Dead House, one of only a few such structures in Ontario. Photo taken 2018.

Laurel Hill Features:

  • Stone Entrance: built circa 18942
  • Octagonal Dead House: built circa 1894.  It was built to store caskets over the winter.  In the 1920s, George Norton, caretaker at the time, discovered that building a fire inside an elongated galvanized iron hoop would heat the ground.  This way, graves could be dug in the winter
  • Waiting Room: built circa 1901. This small Italianate style building contained a ladies room and a tool shed.  
  • Low Retaining Wall: Iron hoops which are embedded into the wall were originally used for tying up horses
  • Wooden Bridge:  Before Queen Street was cut through the north hill, a 90 foot long wooden trestle bridge was built across a deep ravine on the east side of the cemetery to join a new wooden sidewalk leading from the village
  • Bolton Cenotaph: erected in 1921. Bolton’s cenotaph was created by Emmanuel Hahn, a German-born Canadian sculptor.  It commemorated those who gave their lives in WWI and whose remains are buried elsewhere.

    Waiting Room with the ‘Rules Respecting Visitors’ sign which was originally painted by George Smith, a local painter known for his exquisite lettering and wood graining. Photo taken 2018.
The Bolton Cenotaph now also commemorates servicemen from WW2 and the Korean War. Photo taken 2018.
Receipt for a burial plot signed by cemetery officer Albert Dodds in 1898.
Wooden sidewalk leading from the village. The adjacent road is now Centennial Drive. Mrs. Burrell’s house is visible at the bottom of the hill; it was demolished in 1962/63 when Highway 50 was cut through the north hill.  Photo by Robertson Matthews, circa 1900.
This wooden trestle bridge crossed the deep gully on the east side of the cemetery.  The bridge was dismantled in 1962 when Highway #50 was cut through the north hill.
  1. William E. Egan, Booklet, ‘A History of Laurel Hill Cemetery 1893-1988’
  2. Town of Caledon, Cemetery Buildings were designated in August 1988, By Law #88-102