The Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery
Incorporated in 1860, the Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery Company is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to the burial of persons of all denominations. The cemetery is owned by its lot holders and is managed by a volunteer board of directors. We employ a superintendent, secretary-treasurer and 3 full-time grounds keepers. We are committed to provide excellent and compassionate service to our lot holders and strive to maintain and beautify the cemetery grounds.
In the 1800s, Yarmouth was a thriving seaport welcoming ships, sailors and passengers from all over the world. The town’s economy was booming. With prosperity came the need to develop the business area, a main street. At that time, the dead were buried in what is now Frost Park and in a churchyard behind what is now the Izaak Walton Killam Library.
A group of townsmen, known as the Yarmouth Free Discussion Club, raised the following question about the graveyards: “Is it sound policy, or compatible with reason, to continue burying the dead in the center of the town?” In a unanimous decision, the group decided “that the public graveyard is situated where it is likely to be surrounded by a dense population, and as the existence of a burying ground in such a locality may be considered a grave obstacle as regards health and convenience; that therefore from motives of expediency and humanity, the practice of burying the dead in the aforesaid graveyard ought at once to be discontinued.”
The land selected for the new cemetery was an 11 acre section “in back of town” known as “the mountain”. Over the years, the Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery Company has acquired neighboring property. Today, the cemetery occupies approximately 40 acres.
As you approach the main gate on Parade Street, you will be impressed by the tranquil park like setting. Elm, maple, beech, chestnut, dogwood and evergreen trees greet the visitor. Flowering shrubs and over 1,700 begonias provide picturesque seasonal color.
Near the main entrance, you will see the Ritchie Memorial Chapel, a gift of David Alexander Ritchie, a native son of Yarmouth who moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 21. He became a prominent businessman in the manufacture of sheet metal products. An inventor at heart, Mr. Ritchie developed and patented the process for making spiral pipe. Although he lived away for most of his life, he never forgot his home town. Through his generosity, construction began on a mortuary chapel in 1921. The chapel design was inspired by the Story Chapel, Mount Auburn Cemetery of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The chapel was dedicated two years later in 1923. Mr. Ritchie died 25 March 1925. His memorial service was held in the chapel that bears his name.
As you enter the chapel, you will be captivated by the light streaming through the stained glass and hand painted windows. In front of the altar, you will notice a wooden platform in the floor. Here you’ll find another of Mr. Ritchie’s inventions, a water powered hydraulic lift used to raise and lower caskets from the vault below the chapel. Sit a while, relax and enjoy the tranquility.
An electronic carillon peals the time every quarter hour. With the aid of technology, the carillon bells can be programmed to chime music of the season.
The iconic red doors serve as a backdrop for wedding, prom and graduation photos.
For the 2019 season, Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery will be offering 5 different tours. Each tour, going from A to E, will include a little bit of everything. Each tour is different, so be sure to check them all out. Tours will cover topics from sea captains, mayors and politicians, information on different trees, the Jewish lot, WW1 & WW2 veterans, and we will also present freemason and interesting stones this year. You’ll also learn about the history and get to explore the cemetery chapel. We will also be offering virtual tour variations beginning inside of the chapel. We look forward to seeing you soon for a tour!
Our tours are free of charge, but we accept donations to assist our tree planting initiative and reclamation and repair of orphaned headstones and markers, damaged by time and weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When is the cemetery open?
A. The cemetery is open to vehicles Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., May through October. You may access the cemetery outside of these hours by parking at the front gates and entering on foot. The office is open Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Q. Does the cemetery have a religious affiliation?
A. Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery is a public, non-denominational cemetery.
Q. How many people are buried here?
A. There are approximately 10,000 people interred at Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery.
Q. May I make a donation to the cemetery for upkeep and maintenance?
A. Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery welcomes donations. We are a registered charity and issue charitable donation receipts suitable for income tax purposes.
Q. Are you allowed to walk your dog in the cemetery?
A. Yes, we encourage walking through the cemetery, with or without your pet. Please use a leash and pick up after your pet.
Q. Is there a washroom facility on site?
A. Yes, there is a washroom inside the chapel.
Additional Services Offered
Eco friendly Monument Cleaning
Annual or Perpetual Flower Beds
Please contact our Superintendent @ 902-742-3315 or Secretary @ 902-881-2306 for information and prices.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? You can contact us below with your question or comment, and we will gladly get back to you in a timely manner.
Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery Company
27 James Street
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia B5A 2V4
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Please contact us below. We will reply in a timely manner.