Famous Burials

Beechwood is the final resting place to many people who have made significant contributions to Canada and the world.

In 1980, The Beechwood Cemetery Foundation began producing a booklet with profiles for renowned individuals who have been laid to rest at Beechwood. Since then, Beechwood has grown in national significance, first becoming the home of the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces in 2001, being recognized as a National Historic Site in 2002 and finally by becoming the home of the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery in 2004.

This culminated in 2009 with Beechwood’s designation as the National Cemetery of Canada by way of Bill C-17, an Act of Parliament that received all-party support in the House of Commons. Beechwood now serves as a place of national tribute and remembrance for all Canadians.

With almost 400 famous burials ranging from writers, to explorers, to inventors, to businessmen, this book of famous burials is a work in progress, constantly adding to Beechwood’s rich history and helping to preserve the history of our great nation.

Click here to view the full Historical Portraits book as a PDF.

A sampling of some famous people who are buried at Beechwood follows.


Image of John Rudolphus Booth sitting on a chair in Ottawa, ONSection 49, Lots 13, 14

Born in Waterloo, Québec, on April 5, 1827, Booth came to Ottawa in the 1850s to seek his fortune with a mere nine dollars in his pocket. Although he made steady progress, building a small shingle mill at Chaudière Falls, he faced several significant setbacks until his first breakthrough in 1859, when he secured the contract to provide lumber for the construction of Canada’s new Parliament Buildings.

Booth made a substantial profit from this contract, which allowed him to pursue further business opportunities. In 1867, he outbid other lumbermen for the Madawaska River timber limits formerly held by the late John Egan. He turned a $45,000 investment into an enormous profit; years later, he turned down an offer of $1.5 million for those limits. Eventually, his mills produced more lumber than any other operation in the world.

Booth also owned a fleet of Great Lakes boats as part of his extensive transportation system. While the Ottawa River watershed provided a natural highway for transporting timber rafts, its tributaries did not extend into the outer reaches of Booth’s timber limits. So he embarked on a new enterprise: building a railway system to complement his other operations. He already owned the Canada Atlantic Railway, which he used to transport sawn lumber from his Chaudière mills to his planing mill and sorting yards in Burlington, Vermont, and to sales offices in Boston. The new Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway’s primary purpose was to transport timber felled in areas inaccessible by waterway.

Since the production of pine timber alone could not offset the cost of the railway, Booth diversified by adding passenger and freight cars. He also built grain elevators on the Great Lakes and formed a freighter company so that growers could use his railway to ship Western grain. And they did, since the railway shortened the route between Chicago and Montréal by 1,300 km. Booth sold the railway to the Grand Trunk Railway in 1904 for $14 million.

Booth was among Ottawa’s most generous philanthropists. He made considerable donations to charitable institutions and other agencies that cared for the sick and destitute. As one of three founding members of St. Luke’s Hospital, a predecessor of the Civic Hospital, he donated $10,000 towards its establishment.

Booth eventually expanded his business ventures into pulp, paper and cardboard production, remaining active right up to a few months before his death at 98. He never recovered from a cold caught during one of his yearly trips to his Madawaska timber limits. On December 8, 1925, he passed away as one of the richest men in Canada, with an estate valued at approximately $33 million.

Black and white image of Sir Roert Laird Borden In Ottawa, ONSection 60, Lot 46

Born in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, on June 26, 1854, Borden was a successful lawyer early in his career. His political background was Liberal, but he disagreed with Nova Scotia Liberals, who wanted to secede from the Canadian union. He left the party in 1886.

Ten years later, at the request of Prime Minister Charles Tupper, Borden ran for Parliament as a Conservative from Halifax. He won, but his party lost. This happened again in 1900; in 1901, Borden became the leader of the Conservative Party. He was defeated in the general elections of 1904 and 1908. In 1911, he won the election and formed the first Conservative government in 15 years.

He was knighted in 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. By 1917, many of Canada’s volunteer soldiers had died and replacements were badly needed. Therefore, Borden called for conscription. During the war, Borden’s government also introduced the Emergency War Measures Act and the first direct federal tax.

His health failing, Borden resigned in 1920. Later, he was chancellor of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Canada’s eighth Prime Minister and a Father of Confederation, Borden passed away in Ottawa on June 10, 1937, at the age of 82.

An old picture of Sir Sandford Fleming in Ottawa, ON

Born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, on January 7, 1827, Fleming studied surveying and engineering in Scotland and came to Canada in 1845 to work in the railway industry. He was appointed chief engineer of the Northern Railway in 1857 and was the chief engineer of the International Railway during its construction, and in 1871 was appointed chief engineer and surveyor for the historic Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1880, Fleming retired and devoted himself to literary and scientific work.

Fleming spent most of his life in Peterborough, Halifax and Ottawa. Author of many scientific papers on railways and other topics, he was one of the founders of the Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Scientific Knowledge. He published the first large-scale surveyor’s map in Canada, designed the first usable chart of Toronto Harbour and promoted the trans-Pacific submarine telegraph cable, doing all this in addition to handling his duties as chief engineer of the CPR and as chancellor of Queen’s University. Fleming also designed Canada’s first postage stamp, the “three-penny beaver,” in 1851.

One of the major problems Canadian travellers encountered in the late 19th century involved keeping proper time. How could one be sure of having the correct time at every stop along the way? More importantly, how could rail connections be coordinated in a coherent, permanent system? Traditionally, it was noon in each place when the sun was directly overhead. So if it was noon in Toronto, for example, it was 12:25 in Montréal. This system became complicated as voyages became longer. For instance, during the Halifax-Toronto rail journey, passengers had to re-set their watches in Saint John, Québec, Montréal, Kingston, Belleville and Toronto.

In 1878, Sandford Fleming decided to do something about this situation. In a series of papers delivered to the Canadian Institute, he suggested that the planet be divided into 24 time zones, each covering 15 degrees of longitude, from an accepted meridian. The time in each zone would be the same, notwithstanding the position of any point in relation to the sun. Fleming, with his reputation and his energy, encountered little resistance to his idea. By 1883, all railways in North America were using this system. In 1884, the first International Meridian Conference was held in Washington, D.C., and Fleming’s idea was officially adopted. The only objections came from some religious groups who accused him of being a communist and of proposing a system contrary to God’s will.

Fleming passed away on July 22, 1915, at the age of 88.

Image of Faith Fyles in Ottawa, ONSection 40, Lot 80 SE, Grave 1

Faith Fyles was born September 30, 1875, in Cowansville, Québec. Her father was the Reverend Dr. Thomas Fyles, an Anglican clergyman (and entomologist) who came to Canada from England to establish churches.

Fyles graduated from high school with honours, entered McGill University with a first-class scholarship and completed a B.A. degree. After graduation, she spent a year studying the flora of Québec with her father and took art classes. Fyles then taught school for six years, which was followed by a year travelling and studying in Europe.

In 1909, Fyles obtained a clerk’s position in the Department of Agriculture in Ottawa as an assistant seed analyst. Two years later, she was transferred to the Botany Division at the Experimental Farm as an assistant botanist, where she was put in charge of the Arboretum. She was also responsible for identifying the large number of plants sent to, or collected by, the division. During this time Fyles also prepared a bulletin, Principal Poisonous Plants of Canada, which was illustr­ated with her own paintings and sketches.

In 1920, Fyles became the first artist employed by the Horticulture division, where she worked under William Tyrrell Macoun. Additional publications and the creation of a herbarium came from her work in the Department.

In 1931, poor health forced her retirement, but she continued painting in oils, pastels and watercolours. For two decades she had entered her work in Royal Canadian Art A exhibitions and exhibited it elsewhere, work that expressed an appreciation of nature’s beauty, especially that of plants and flowers.

Fyles died on October 22, 1961.

“Here the dead sleep–the quiet dead.” (from In Beechwood Cemetery by Lampman)

Photo of Archibald Lampman who was buried in Ottawa, ONSection 25, Lot 17 N Ctr.

Born in 1862, Lampman was educated at Trinity College School, Port Hope and Trinity College, Toronto, from which he obtained a BA in 1882. After graduating, Lampman tried his hand at being a teacher. When that was unsuccessful, he instead secured a position in the Post Office Department in Ottawa in 1883 where he remained until his death.

Lampman’s true calling was as a poet. He began writing for college magazine Rouge et Noir before graduating to the more prestigious pages of The Week, and winning an audience in the major American magazines of the day such as Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s and Scribner’s. In spite of this success, Lampman was unable to find a publisher for his first collection, Among the Millet (1888), which he published himself.

In 1896, after some difficulty and delay, a Boston publisher released his second book, Lyrics of Earth (1895; restored text 1978). His third collection, Alcyone and Other Poems (1899), which was in preparation at the time of the poet’s death, was issued privately in a few copies. Its contents were incorporated in The Poems of Archibald Lampman (1900), devotedly assembled and edited by his friend, memorialist and fellow poet Duncan Campbell Scott.

Later important collections of his poetry include Lyrics of Earth: Sonnets and Ballads (1925); At the Long Sault (1943), a joint project of D.C. Scott and E.K. Brown based on Lampman’s manuscripts; and the Selected Poems (1947). Lampman’s Selected Prose was published in 1975.

Lampman is widely regarded as Canada’s finest 19th -century English language poet. His ability to write detailed, meaningful poems is among the reasons his work has had a lasting import in Canadian literary culture. Across Ottawa, Lampman is recognized in historical plaques on Slater Street, Daly Avenue, Montreal Road (in St. Margaret’s Church) and at Beechwood Cemetery, where he is buried. He appears in the grand stained-glass window at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library together with the likes of Shakespeare, Byron and Tennyson. He has a street named after him, and an annual prize bearing his name is awarded by Arc Magazine to recognize local achievement in poetry.

Reportedly reclusive and shy, Lampman enjoyed a circle of friends drawn mainly from the community of writers and intellectuals in Ottawa. With Scott and William Wilfred Campbell he wrote a thoughtful and lively column, “At the Mermaid Inn” (1892-93) for the Toronto Globe. He was also associated with various literary and scientific groups in Ottawa before which he would read his poems or deliver the occasional paper. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1895.

As a poet, Lampman is noted for his carefully fused poems of nature closely observed in moods of delight and solemn contemplation. Although he showed great skill and some range with the sonnet, Lampman could also be a discursive poet given to narrative and, on occasion, to strong criticism of contemporary industrial civilization.

Afflicted by poor health and frequently of a moody disposition, Lampman appears to have been unhappy with his situation in the civil service but did little to change his life. His poetry, with its tableaux of nature, its oft-encountered dream states, its idealized communities and relationships, was the preferred world of his imagination and poetic experience. In the last years of his short life there is evidence of a spiritual malaise, which was compounded by the death of an infant son and his own deteriorating health.

Lampman passed away on February 10, 1899, at the age of 37.

A very old image of John Macoun in Ottawa, ONSection 39, Lot 73 S

Born in Ireland in 1831, John Macoun was the son of a soldier who died when John was six years old. Educated in a parochial school, he obtained employment as a clerk. In 1850, the family left Ireland for Upper Canada, settling on a farm near that of John’s uncle. Six years later, Macoun became a schoolteacher and taught at several country schools before attending Normal School in Toronto and obtaining a position in Belleville, Ontario, in 1860.

An intense boyhood interest in natural history remained with Macoun when he came to Canada, and he continued his studies of botany, including his practice of studying plant life in the field. His correspondence with expert botanists revealed to them his great knowledge of the subject. As a result, in 1868 he was appointed professor of natural history at Belleville’s Albert College.

While in the Georgian Bay area on one of his field trips, Macoun meet Sir Sandford Fleming, who was surveying possible routes for a railway that would cross Canada. Fleming invited Macoun to participate in the surveys with a view to assessing various terrains for their suitability for agriculture. Macoun’s subsequent work with Fleming came to the attention of the director of the Geological Survey of Canada who offered Macoun a similar position with the Survey. In 1875, Macoun was the botanist of a Geological Survey expedition that explored the Peace River and the Rockies, and from 1879 to 1881 he explored the Prairie regions. Following a later survey of the Yukon Territory, he predicted that even in such northern latitudes farming would be possible.

Like other explorers of the Geological Survey, Macoun was an avid collector of specimens, and the need for storage and display areas for the Survey’s collections led in 1911 to the construction in Ottawa of the Victoria Memorial Museum, now the Museum of Nature. From his collections of plants and his field notes, Macoun prepared a seven-part catalogue of Canadian plants, published from 1883 to 1902. From his bird collections and field notes came a three-part catalogue of Canadian birds, published 1900–1904.

A fine lecturer, Macoun held the interest of his audiences through a combination of vast knowledge, oratorical skills and a keen sense of humour. He was a popular speaker at meetings of the Ottawa Literary and Scientific Society, and he was one of the founders of the Ottawa Filed-Naturalists’ Club, serving for a time as its president. He became a charter member of the Royal Society of Canada when it was established in 1882.

On retirement from the Geological Survey in 1912 at age 81, Macoun and his wife moved from Ottawa to British Columbia where the mild climate allowed him to continue his fieldwork. Although suffering from partial paralysis that required him to learn to write with his left hand, he continued to record his discoveries.

When John Macoun died in 1920, he was buried in the cemetery at Patricia Bay, British Columbia, where his wife had been buried. However, in 1922 they were removed to Beechwood for burial near their son James Melville Macoun, who had worked for the Geological Survey as an assistant to his father.

When John Macoun came to Canada in 1850, he entered a vast and largely unmapped land whose resources were largely unknown. As a member of Canada’s first scientific agency, he earned the title “the enthusiastic explorer of unknown Canada,” and his discoveries revealed much of the nature of Canada’s plant and animal life. Beechwood Cemetery’s Macoun Marsh is named for him. Canada’s foremost field naturalist, Macoun passed away on July 18, 1920.

McDougall-Hon-WilliamCorridor A, Section 30, Crypt E

Born in Toronto on January 5, 1822, McDougall attended Victoria College in Cobourg, Upper Canada. He began practising law in 1847, and in 1862 was called to the Upper Canada Bar.

He was elected as a member of the legislative assembly in 1858, and served as Commissioner of Crown Lands and Provincial Secretary. He attended all three Confederation Conferences, and then served as Minister of Public Works in the Macdonald government. During his time as Minister of Public Works, McDougall introduced the resolution that led to the purchase of Rupert’s Land.

McDougall was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory in 1869. The only travel route at the time was through the United States with the permission of U.S. President Grant. However, when he tried to enter that jurisdiction from North Dakota up the Red River, he was turned back near the border by Louis Riel’s insurgents before he could establish his authority at Fort Garry (now Winnipeg, Manitoba). Dispatches to Queen Victoria were issued, requesting 1,000 British troops be sent on her authority. Unfortunately for McDougall, the Queen responded indicating that she would prefer a more amicable settlement of the jurisdiction issue.

McDougall returned to Ottawa, where he campaigned against Manitoba becoming a province because of its very few inhabitants at that time. He also continued to serve as an interim leader of the Northwest Territories provisional government from Ottawa until Adams George Archibald took over on May 10, 1870.

McDougall continued as an active politician, serving as a member of the Parliament of the Province of Ontario from 1872 until his defeat in 1887. He passed away on May 28, 1905, at the age of 83.

McNaughton-General-AndrewSection 53, Lot 21 S

Andrew George Latta McNaughton was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, on February 25, 1887. He graduated from McGill University in 1912 with a degree in electrical engineering, before volunteering to serve with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in September 1914. He went overseas with the 4th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery.

Applying scientific methodology to gunnery, McNaughton was instrumental in modernizing the artillery and its effectiveness in war. By 1918, he commanded the Canadian Corps artillery.

McNaughton continued his career in the peacetime Army, first as Deputy Chief and then Chief of the Defence Staff until 1935 when he assumed the presidency of the National Research Council. At the outbreak of war in 1939, McNaughton was given command of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, a post he relinquished in 1943. Returning to Canada, he made a brief foray into politics as Minister of National Defence, 1944-1945.

Leaving politics and the military, McNaughton enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a diplomat, serving as Canada’s Delegate to the United Nations, 1948-1949, Canadian chair of the International Joint Commission, 1950-1962, and Canada’s representative on the Canadian-American Permanent Joint Board of Defence, 1950-1959.

A noted research scientist, McNaughton became a world authority on atomic energy and a United Nations spokesman for the West in dealings with the Soviet Union. He died at Montebello, Québec, on July 11, 1966.

Tavernier-Ida-Van-CortlandSection 50, Lot 63 NE

Born in 1853, Tavernier was an actress of the Victorian era of Canadian life. The name ‘Ida Van Cortland’ was her stage name, while the name Tavernier is her surname by marriage. Her original name at birth was Ellen Buckley.

Tavernier and her family moved from England to Chicago, only to become victims of its great fire of 1871. The fire devastated the family, and left Tavernier as the sole survivor. With few other options, she turned to teaching at age 16, and later moved to Guelph, Ontario to continue teaching. During this period, Tavernier married her first husband and gave birth to a son, Percy Algernon Fowler in 1876. Before her son had turned two, she and her husband had divorced and Tavernier began her career as an actress. She joined Charlotte Morrison’s stage company, which performed in the Grand Opera House in Toronto when not on tour. It was around that time that Ellen Buckley became Ida Van Cort- land and quickly rose to became a star per- former, capable of playing a wide range of roles, but especially adept at expressing heavy emotion.

Tavernier met and married actor Albert Tav- ernier in the winter of 1881 when they were both acting for the same stage company, touring the Maritimes. That summer, the couple married in New York City and together toured with US stage companies. Tavernier’s son, Percy, took on a slightly garbled version of his stepfather’s name and become Percy Algernon Taverner. Percy went on to become a well-recognized ornitholo- gist and wrote Birds of Canada (1934). Eventu- ally they formed their own company, the Tavern- ier-Lewis Company, later just the Tavernier Company. The company toured Atlantic Canada and the eastern seaboard of the United States in the 1880s, then moved on to Ontario and the northern USA before disbanding in 1896. By 1898 Tavernier had retired from the stage and lived on Big Island, Blue Sea Lacke, Quebec. She remained there until her death in 1924 at age 69.