Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Maple Ridge Cemetery is an historic burial ground that consists of six hectares of public property located on 214 Street south of Dewdney Trunk Road, in Maple Ridge.
The Maple Ridge Cemetery is valued as a fine example of the type of rural cemetery, influenced by Picturesque Romanticism, which emerged in Canada in the nineteenth century. Its heritage value lies in its association with the prominent settlers of the District of Maple Ridge, both as its developers and as their final resting place. The value of the site also relates to its continuing connection with the growth and evolution of the area, in particular Port Haney and The Ridge. The original entrance was located on River Road, one of the major historical transportation corridors in the area.
The historic community of The Ridge takes its name from the maple trees that ran for two miles, high above the Fraser River on a ridge between Hammond and Port Haney. The early farming settlers in this area encouraged the incorporation of the District of Maple Ridge in 1874. As the commercial centres of Haney and Hammond developed, The Ridge slowly developed as a residential neighbourhood of modest family homes.
The first burials occurred in the mid-1870s on a private lot belonging to William Nelson, which he donated to the District, at what is now the extreme southwest corner of the cemetery. The District of Maple Ridge established this larger property as a municipal cemetery in the 1880s. The cemetery is designed to enhance views within and across it, creating a formal spatial structure considered fashionable in the era contemporary to the cemetery's establishment.
An important aspect of the cemetery is the many prominent citizens of Maple Ridge that are buried here including: Thomas Haney and the Haney family; William Nelson, the original owner of the property, and his Kanaka (Hawaiian) wife and family; John McIver, the visionary who organized the first meeting of the District of Maple Ridge; Mary Berry Charlton Storey, a successful and well recognized early entrepreneur in Port Haney; and J. Inouye, pioneer of the Japanese community in Maple Ridge.
The cemetery features many decorative and unique monuments and headstones, ranging in materials from wood to stone and zinc and other metals. Located throughout the cemetery, the headstones are often very ornate, depicting animals (often indicative of a child's grave), hands clasped in prayer, and symbols that are important to the families represented in the cemetery. The markers display the changing tastes, values and economies that have dictated the cemetery's development and configuration over time. Originally the dominant white community did not allow burials from Chinese, Japanese and Native communities, but later accepted these burials in a specific section of the cemetery, in a location furthest away from the historic entrance. In more recent times the cemetery has become an ethnically integrated space, although clusters of historic monuments help identify historic ethnic sections of the cemetery.
The cemetery also has an important connection to the artistic growth of community. The gates to the new entrance off Dewdney Trunk Road are the work of Maple Ridge's first artist-in-residence, Colin Southwell.
Source: Planning Department, District of Maple Ridge
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Maple Ridge Cemetery include its:
- orderly and open spatial qualities with the plots and pathways laid out at right angles on evenly graded topography, based on the Picturesque Romanticism of the late nineteenth century
- rectilinear concrete curbing, delineating family plots
- elegant, high quality and unique grave markers, including carved granite, zinc and wood
- open expanse of lawn with healthy vegetation and mature trees and plantings
- mature trees at the gate, including a Royal Oak of England
- different methods of commemoration over time, including the move to horizontal lawn markers, more uniform in size and material, after the 1960s
- new metal entrance gates located at the end of 214 Street, south of Dewdney Trunk Road
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Planning Department, District of Maple Ridge
Cross-Reference to Collection