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Remains from Barrack Hill laid to rest at Beechwood

Brier Dodge, Ottawa East News
October 2, 2017

The remains of 79 Bytown residents have found a final resting place at the Beechwood Cemetery.

A formal service was held at Canada’s national cemetery on Oct. 1, with the remains of one of the people found during light rail construction in a small casket carried in by several pallbearers. The remains of the other 78 people found had been buried earlier in the week.

In 2013, light rail construction staff found human remains from the former Barrack Hill Cemetery, the first public cemetery in what was then Bytown, and used from about 1827 to 1845.

When the cemetery closed, many families reinterred their family members elsewhere; many to Sandy Hill Cemetery which is now beneath Macdonald Gardens Park in Lowertown.

City historians said some bodies were left, likely because the families’ could either not afford to have them moved, had moved away, or the entire family had been victim of disease.

The remains have been at the Canadian Museum of History since they were discovered.

Timothy Killam, Beechwood Cemetery chair, said the remains will rest among many prominent figures, including 26 former mayors, and well-known scientists, poets and politicians including Sir Robert Borden.

“The city could not have chosen a more fitting place to reinter the individuals laid to rest at Barrack Hill Cemetery,” Killam said. “Those who helped our city, who possibility worked on the Rideau Canal and eventually laid down roots in the early created capital of the newly-formed country. “

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