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Tusket Lakes Cemetery

465 Canaan Road, Gavelton, Nova Scotia, B0W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/05/11

Looking in through the entrance of the Tusket Lakes Cemetery, Gavelton, Yarmouth County, NS, 2008.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2008
Entrance View
The plan of the Tusket Lakes Cemetery, Gavelton, NS, as designed by George S. Brown and drawn by P. Lent Hatfield in 1866.; Courtesy of the Trustees of Tusket Lakes Cemetery
1866 Plan
Hemlock Avenue marker in the Tusket Lakes Cemetery, Gavelton, Yarmouth County, NS, 2008.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2008
Avenue Markers

Other Name(s)

Tusket Lakes Cemetery
465 Canaan Road

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1866/01/01 to 1866/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/03/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Tusket Lakes Cemetery was established in 1866, is one of earliest planned cemeteries in southwestern Nova Scotia and is the burial site of the ancestors of many present day residents of the surrounding villages. It is located on Canaan Road in the community of Gavelton and municipal heritage designation applies to the entire property as laid out on its original plan.

Heritage Value

The Tusket Lakes Cemetery in the village of Gavelton is valued as one the earliest planned cemeteries in south-western Nova Scotia; as the burial place of four of its original trustees, who were the ancestors of many families still residing in the area; and for its continued use. It is also valued for its historical associations with George S. Brown and P. Lent Hatfield.

In June of 1865 Job and Albert Hurlburt sold this lot of land to George S. Brown "in trust for a public cemetery". Brown, best known as the compiler of dozens of genealogies of Yarmouth County families and as the author of “Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, a Sequel to Campbell's History,” was also the designer of the landscaping and lot layout for this cemetery. In 1866 P. Lent Hatfield surveyed the lot and drew a beautifully detailed, to-scale map of Brown's plan. Hatfield was the area's best and most noted surveyor during his career, and was also the Municipal Treasurer for the Municipality of the District of Argyle for many years.

The plan for the cemetery allowed for 612 plots, most of which measured twenty feet square, although some were considerably larger. Well laid out, 2.4m wide avenues named for various native trees, such as maple, spruce, pine, cedar and hemlock, were also incorporated, as was the placement of various plantings and other decorative features. A 1.5m wide turf wall set the cemetery off from the road on the original plan, though this was later replaced by a stone wall.

The Tusket Lakes Cemetery Company was incorporated by an Act of the Nova Scotia Legislature, Chapter 134, passed April 16, 1888, and has monuments for four of its original trustees: John W. Raynard, Richard Hatfield, William W. Andrews and Charles Andrews, whose descendants still reside in the area. The cemetery was regularly used until 1916, and then became inactive for nearly eighty years until 1995 when a new burial marked the cemetery's reactivation.

In 1994 a new Board of Trustees was formed, who assumed the challenge of clearing the undergrowth, levelling, seeding and mowing the property, repairing the broken monuments, and otherwise repairing damage which had occurred over years of disuse and neglect. Their efforts and regular maintenance brought to light several graves and markers that had been long forgotten as well as some of the landscape features that had been shown on the plan but was no longer discernible because of the dense growth. The clearing efforts have also made available many of the unoccupied plots that can now be sold and will insure the continued use of this cemetery for many years to come.

Source: Registered Heritage Property files: Tusket Lakes Cemetery; located at 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Tusket Lakes Cemetery include:

- location in a rural community;
- planned configuration of avenues and plots;
- stone wall across front;
- stone well;
- original grave markers and inscribed monuments including those for four original trustees;
- mature trees throughout the property;
- grass-covered avenues, each identified with a name marker.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer

Brown, George S.



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Municipal Heritage Property files located in the Heritage Office at 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, B5A 1G2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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