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Royal Oak Burial Park

4673 Falaise Drive, Saanich, British Columbia, V8Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/11/03

Exterior view, Royal Oak Burial Park.; Derek Trachsel, District of Saanich, 2004.
Front elevation.
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Other Name(s)

Royal Oak Burial Park
Royal Oak Burial Park Crematorium Chapel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/11/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Royal Oak Burial Park is a picturesque landscaped site with gently rolling hills that comprise the cemetery, nestled discreetly in a suburban area, adjacent to the Patricia Bay Highway in the Royal Oak area of Saanich. Located on the site is a masonry Crematorium Chapel and Retort.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Royal Oak Burial Park is found in the history that it has within Greater Victoria as a public institution. As the largest municipal cemetery in B.C., the Royal Oak Burial Park is one of the most historic and picturesque burial parks in Western Canada, and the only burial park on Vancouver Island with a crematorium. Jointly founded in 1923 by the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich, the Burial Park is a not for profit organization dedicated to the provision of affordable cemetery, cremation and mausoleum services for Victoria and neighbouring communities. This is the oldest operating crematorium in Greater Victoria.

The Royal Oak Burial Park is valued for its picturesque landscape, with rolling hills, varied topography and many mature landscape specimens. The design enhances the natural features of the site. The location of the Crematorium Chapel and Retort provides a dramatic visual focus upon entry to the site. Designed in the Art Deco style, it is a striking design and the purest example of this style in Saanich. Built in 1937, its reinforced concrete construction and smooth stucco wall surfaces represent the functional institutional architecture of the era.

The Crematorium Chapel and Retort is also valued as a surviving example of the work of architect C. Elwood Watkins (1875-1942), who was one of the most successful architects of the region. He began his practice as an apprentice to, and later partner of, Thomas Hooper, and established his own practice prior to the First World War. Watkins designed many local residences and commercial buildings, and for many years was the official architect for the Victoria School Board.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements of the heritage character of the Royal Oak Burial Park include its:
- setting of the Garden Chapel, nestled in the open, rolling landscape with a backdrop of coniferous forest
- well-maintained and manicured landscape with mature coniferous shrubs throughout
- deciduous trees, providing a changing, seasonal landscape
- mixture of internment services, giving the memorial landscape a variety of textures
- the chapel's smooth stucco wall surfaces, vertical roof projections, ziggurat forms over the entrance doors and incised geometric lines, all typical of Art Deco style
- original pews, woodwork, light fixtures, leaded glass windows and plaster relief features of the interior of the Chapel



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer

C. Elwood Watkins


Luney Bros. Ltd.

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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