Home / Accueil

Bronte Cemetery

Town of Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/11/05

Of note are the mature trees.; Martha Fallis, 2008.
Landscape, Bronte Cemetery, 2008
Of note is the park-like layout of Bronte Cemetery.; Martha Fallis, 2008.
Landscape, Bronte Cemetery, 2008
Featured are the individual grave markers; Martha Fallis, 2008.
Grave markers, Bronte Cemetery, 2008

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/01/13

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Bronte Cemetery is located in Bronte Village between the West Street fork, south of Seneca Drive, in the Town of Oakville. The forested cemetery had its first burial in 1823.

The property was designated, by the Town of Oakville in 1987, for its heritage value, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law 1987-294.

Heritage Value

Bronte Cemetery is associated with the area's earliest pioneers. In 1830, Philip Sovereign deeded the east corner of his farm for the cemetery, after several people had been buried there, beginning in 1823. He specified that it be for people of "all orders, sects, nations and parties". Almost a third of the headstones belong to children, others to mariners. The mariners interred include, Jimmy Baker, first mate on the schooner Magellan, who died when it collided with the U. L. Hurd, in 1877 and the Dorland brothers, fishermen lost east of Bronte in the great gale and snowstorm of December 1886. Many of the early notable families in the cemetery include: Adams, Belyea, Butler, Dorland, Lucas, MacDonald, McWane, Osborne, Ribble, Sovereign, Triller and Williams.

Bronte Cemetery is a good representation of 19th century cemetery design. It is characterised by a naturalistic setting to attract and comfort the living, the use of markers and monuments to perpetuate the memory of individuals of historic importance and a park-like layout for public use. True to the original plan, gravesites are placed with separate individual markers.

Sources: Town of Oakville, By-law 1987-294; Town of Oakville website, Bronte Cemetery.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Bronte Cemetery include its:
- original markers and monuments, with their surviving inscriptions
- variety of styles, materials and symbolism represented in the markers and monuments
- range of size and sophistication of markers and monuments, from modest to elaborate
- park-like layout including its mature trees
- monuments
- individual grave markers with their surviving inscriptions
- location in Bronte on early settlement grounds




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1823/01/01 to 1823/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Oakville Planning Services 1225 Trafalgar Road Oakville, ON L6J 5A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places