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Christ Church Cemetery asking for heritage designation

Historic Dartmouth landmark needs repairs

3 min read
caption Entrance into Christ Church Cemetery
Peter Topshee
caption Deteriorating paint on the entrance sign into the Christ Church Cemetery.
Peter Topshee

A cemetery in Dartmouth containing the graves of Titanic and Halifax Explosion victims could become a municipal heritage site.

Christ Church Anglican Cemetery is located on Dundas Street. Originally titled the Old Quaker Burying Ground, the cemetery became Anglican in 1817 and was officially deeded to the church in 1832.

Yvonne Delo, a member of Christ Church, compiled the application on behalf of the Christ Church. She submitted her proposal to regional council, which designates heritage sites.

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“If a church is going to survive for 200 years, someone needs to step up and do things,” said Delo. She has been involved in volunteer committees at Christ Church for 25 years.

“The wall around the cemetery is in poor shape and a grant would help it get fixed,” Delo said. “It’s a historic site that has a lot of people buried there who helped bring Dartmouth to where it is now. It deserves recognition.”

Heritage designations exist to conserve historic properties. Grants are available under the Heritage Incentives Program. If awarded a municipal heritage designation, Christ Church could apply for a grant.

They could get up to $10,000, which would help them with conservation.

Municipal staff reviewed Delo’s application and compiled a report recommending the designation.


caption Location of Christ Church Cemetery.
Google Maps

A scoring system is used to evaluate properties like the cemetery. The score is based on age of the site, historical significance, integrity and context.

The cemetery scored 66 out of 70 points.

“It’s a really high score. I haven’t seen one that high,” said Shilo Gempton, the urban planner who prepared the report.

Gempton’s report was sent to the Heritage Advisory Committee, which in turn, supports the designation.

caption “It’s a significant score,” says Shilo Gempton.
Heritage Report.

“The wonderful thing about cemeteries is they are very easy to score because who has been interred there because of church records,” said Aurora Camaño, vice-chair of the heritage committee.

Miriem Meagher has the oldest legible headstone at the cemetery, dating to 1811.

Coun. Sam Austin brought the motion to move forward to council on Tuesday. Austin represents Dartmouth Centre, and the Christ Church Cemetery is in his district.

“It’s an important community landmark and a big milestone for our heritage,” Austin said in an interview.

caption Christ Church is celebrating its bicentennial.
Peter Topshee

Woodlawn Cemetery in Dartmouth is already designated a heritage property.

Regional council is expected to vote on the Christ Church Cemetery recommendation in March or April.

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