A Virtual Tour of the
Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster, BC

This short background history of the Fraser Cemetery and the virtual tour of this cemetery that accompanies it, have been created, researched, photographed, and written, by Archie and Dale Miller (A Sense of History Research Services Inc.), who are pleased to provide it to the New Westminster Public Library, for inclusion on their Heritage Website.

Copyright 2002 A Sense of History Research Services Inc.

Start the Tour!

Some background for the virtual tour of this historic cemetery.

Location

The Fraser Cemetery, in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, is operated by the City of New Westminster. The street address is 100 Richmond Street and its mailing address is Fraser Cemetery, City of New Westminster, 511 Royal Avenue, New Westminster, BC, V3L 1H9.

The Cemetery

While there have been a number of burial grounds in this city since its beginnings in 1859, the site of Fraser Cemetery is the largest and longest in use. There is also St Peterís Catholic Cemetery adjacent to the Fraser Cemetery, operated completely separately from the City site. St Peterís Cemetery history will be covered separately from Fraser along with all the other current and former graveyard sites in New Westminster.

Fraser Cemetery began to be used in 1869 / 1870 with the clearing of two portions of land for Masonic and Church of England burial grounds. At that time, the entire hillside now occupied by Fraser Cemetery was covered by forest and underbrush, and was, according to stories passed down, a very difficult site to clear. The Church of England and Masonic cemeteries were reached by a rough trail and road running up the hill through the bush to the graveyard clearings, from Columbia Street and St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church

Over the years, this cemetery grew and expanded up the hill, and by 1913 had grown to the size and boundaries it now occupies, an overall site of nearly 20 acres (8.1 hectares). As mentioned, the Church of England and Masons began the development of the site in about 1870, with the International Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) opening another section in the mid 1880s. These groups privately operated these cemeteries, and the City opened their own section in about 1912. In the 1930s, the private groups turned their sections over to the City as they were becoming expensive to keep up, supply with water, constantly clear, and so on.

Today the Fraser Cemetery, situated on a hillside, facing east up the Fraser River, offers a wonderful collection of stones and stories and a treasure house of history Ė with local, provincial, and national connections. While the cemetery is now operated by the City, the old section names are still used to describe the location of a particular grave. These section names are Masonic, IOOF or Oddfellows, Old Church of England, upper or old Fraser, Military or Returned Soldier, as well as newer areas known as Lawn and C of E.

The first cemeteries used in New Westminster no longer exist. One was located at the corner of Agnes and Dufferin Streets, and the other was in the 800/900 block of 8th Street (odd number side). There are other parts to the history of cemeteries in New Westminster so watch for the upcoming description of other burial sites of the city.

This Tour

This virtual tour of Fraser Cemetery is designed to take you on a short walk around the cemetery, pausing to look at the overall view in places and at some particular markers in others. Your guides are Archie and Dale Miller of A Sense of History Research Services who are well versed in cemetery lore and studies and experts on the various graveyards of New Westminster from its founding to the present day. Their actual cemetery tours of Fraser Cemetery are always well attended and highly regarded.

For More Information

More information about the Cemetery can be gained from the Millers and A Sense of History by contacting:

Archie Miller and Dale Miller at

information@senseofhistory.com

or 1405 - 69 Jamieson Court, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada† V3L 5R3

or Phone: 604-526-6113†† or† Fax:† 604-522-5466

New Westminster Public Library

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