Historical Moments at Woodlawn Memorial
Woodlawn Memorial Park and the City of Guelph have a very long history of working together dating back to 1827 and continuing today.
John Galt founded a community cemetery where the present day Baker Street parking lot is located. This community cemetery was developed to care for the interments of the dead of all faiths from the Town of Guelph and the Township of Guelph. It was named Union Cemetery. In 1853, a town By-Law was passed to ban human burials within the town limits. This By-Law affected three Cemeteries located in the core of Guelph. They were the Union located where Baker Street parking lot is today, St. George’s located in the Square next to the original St. Georges Church, and the Catholic Cemetery located next to the Church of our Lady. The By Law forced all three cemeteries to close their gates. The Union and St. George’s Cemeteries purchased lands next to each other north of the city. The Sisters of St. Joseph’s offered five acres next to their hospital for Catholic families. Union and St. Georges were required to move all their existing interments to their new location in the Township of Guelph, a location which was considered quite a distance from town, a mere 3 km away. Today this process of removing burials from the original burial grounds to Woodlawn continues after recent discoveries of human remains in and around the Baker Street parking lot.
Woodlawn Cemetery opened the gates at the present location in 1854. As families lost loved ones many would choose to use the new Community Cemetery at the corner of the Elora and Berlin Roads. This 40 acre tract of land was the largest cemetery in Wellington County. From then on, after families bought cemetery lots to bury their loved ones they would remove their family members who were buried in the original cemetery in the core of Guelph and bring everyone to Woodlawn.