Pioneer Cemetery Park
10 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R, Canada
Pioneer Cemetery Park
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Pioneer Cemetery Park is a small municipal park located at a prominent intersection just north of the downtown core. The historic place is limited to the legal boundaries of the park.
Pioneer Cemetery Park speaks to the community's earliest development and is a valuable record of the lives of Nanaimo's first European settlers. The park is the third oldest cemetery in British Columbia after Fort Langley and Victoria. From the first known burial in 1853 to the final burial in 1895, this cemetery served as an essential communal space, both practically and spiritually.
Pioneer Cemetery Park is an important example of an early preservation project and the development of community heritage consciousness. In 1953, concerned by the overall dilapidation of the site, the newly formed Nanaimo Branch of the BCHA (British Columbia Historical Association, now known as the BCHF or British Columbia Historical Federation) made a record of all the stones still standing and a sketch of their original positions. In 1958, as their British Columbia Centennial Project, the Hub City Kiwanis Club cleared the site, set the remaining headstones in a curving rock wall and planted grass and flowers. In 1960, the project was completed and the site was officially converted into a memorial park by the municipality.
Pioneer Cemetery Park is a significant green space. When first created, this site was a considerable distance from the town core. Today, surrounded by a busy commercial district, the site, with its massive maple trees, functions as a relatively quiet, secluded and peaceful urban oasis.
Source: City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department
The character-defining elements of Pioneer Cemetery Park include:
- all the headstones embedded in the curving rock wall
- all mature trees and plantings
- all known and potentially unknown burials
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
1958/01/01 to 1960/01/01
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
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department
Cross-Reference to Collection