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Grave concerns: capturing religious diversity in cemetery planning

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posted on 2021-05-25, 07:14 authored by Carla Marcela Acosta Smith
It has been estimated that the remaining cemetery land in Toronto will run out of space within the next 30 years. Although death is the only certainty we have in life, planners aren’t planning for it. Toronto’s population is increasingly aging, growing, and diversifying, which makes this an issue that can longer be ignored. There are 23 active cemeteries in Toronto, of which only 13 are non-denominational cemeteries that are able to capture the religious diversity for accommodating the deceased. Through this paper, it is found that cemeteries not only provide an essential public service, but they also play an important role in anchoring immigrant communities. Through exploratory research methods, findings suggest that those religions that require in-ground burial will face the brunt of accessing affordable cemetery services in Toronto. Recommendations are made to address this land use policy gap and calls for action to increase supply within existing cemetery lands in Toronto so that cities are not only planned for the living, but also for the dead. Key words: cemetery; diversity, religion; immigration; land use; death sprawl, Toronto





Master of Planning


Urban Development

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type