Notice of Intention to Designate St. Jude's Cemetery

Thu, 27 Feb 2020

On February 10, 2020, Oakville Town Council resolved to pass a Notice of Intention to Designate the following property under Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.18, as amended, as a property of cultural heritage value and interest:

St. Jude’s Cemetery Cultural Heritage Landscape
258 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville, Ontario
PIN 24776-0086 (258 Lakeshore Road West)
PT LT 17, CON4 TRAFALGAR, SOUTH OF DUNDAS STREET, AS IN 531265, S/T SPOUSAL INTEREST IN 531265; OAKVILLE/TRAFALGAR

Description of Property

St. Jude’s Cemetery is known municipally as 258 Lakeshore Road West. It is an approximately 10-acre parcel of land located on the south side of Lakeshore Road West where Dorval Drive terminates at Lakeshore Road West. It is bounded by residential development to the west, south and east and by Lakeshore Road to the north. St. Jude’s Cemetery is an intact, surviving example of a 19th century protestant church cemetery that is still in use.

Statement of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest:

St. Jude’s Cemetery is a designed cultural heritage landscape. It is a representative example of a 19th century cemetery designed in the rural cemetery style. The original cemetery has been expanded and adapted over many decades as it changed from a private church cemetery to a public cemetery. The cemetery is inextricably linked to the 19th and 20th century history of St. Jude’s Anglican Church and of Oakville itself. Many of the individuals buried in the cemetery were significant local individuals who contributed greatly to the early development of Oakville and Trafalgar Township. The property holds significant religious, spiritual and emotional value to residents of Oakville whose family members have been interred, and continue to be interred, within the cemetery. As a place of memory, the cemetery provides a physical connection to the past and to loved ones on both a personal and community level. The cultural heritage value or interest of the property has been identified since 2008, when the Town of Oakville designated the property under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Design and Physical Value

St. Jude’s Cemetery has design and physical value as a representative example of a designed cultural heritage landscape – a 19th century church cemetery, influenced by the rural cemetery style that originated in England. Typical of Ontario cemeteries of this era, it contains a variety of grave markers and monuments which document the many changes in burial practices from the 19th to 21st centuries. These changes are demonstrated in the material, size, shape, design, construction techniques and location of the markers. The cemetery includes many early and representative examples of headstones, as well as many unique monuments which display a high degree of craftsmanship.

The monuments provide insight into the individuals who are buried and/or commemorated in the cemetery through their inscriptions and symbols which speak to family history, occupation, religion, affiliations with organizations, as well as personal beliefs and values. The range of size, sophistication and details of the grave markers reveal information about the person’s place and status within the community. They tell the story of a community and document the lives of individuals. And perhaps more significantly, they play an important role in the grieving process by providing a tangible connection to those who have passed before us, linking us with loved ones and allowing us to discover our past.

The property also has heritage value for its landscape features, including its subtle rolling landscape, narrow driveway, mature trees and other plantings either have been intentionally planted or have developed naturally over many decades. All of these elements contribute to a tranquil, scenic space that supports individuals and communities through experiences of loss, grief and commemoration.

Historical and Associative Value

St. Jude’s Cemetery has cultural heritage value for its direct associations with St. Jude’s Anglican Church, one of the first religious institutions established by European settlers in Oakville. The creation of the cemetery was a significant achievement for the growing Church and met an important need for parishioners. The cemetery continues to hold significant value to members of the Church as a place to visit the graves of loved ones and as a continually operating cemetery where individuals are interred and commemorated. The site has strong religious and spiritual value and is a place of grieving and healing for its visitors.

The cemetery is also directly associated with the early settlement of Oakville and the development of the town throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Many individuals who played a significant role in the development of Oakville are interred in this cemetery, including some of the first European pioneers who settled in the town and in Trafalgar Township. The property yields significant information about these individuals that contributes to the understanding of the community of Oakville and the former Trafalgar Township, as well as of St. Jude’s Anglican Church.

In addition to its historical significance, the property has direct associations with the theme of burial practices in Ontario as well as the religious, spiritual and social beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife. The cemetery acts as an important physical space where these beliefs and practices are carried out. The monuments and natural landscape of the cemetery are the earthly material elements that anchor individuals to these beliefs and values and support them through the grieving and healing process. These beliefs and practices are not only personal and individual but are also part of larger cultural traditions and religious institutions. The cemetery therefore has significant heritage value for individuals, the local community and beyond.

Contextual Value

St. Jude’s Cemetery has contextual value for its prominent location along Lakeshore Road, a significant and historic road along Lake Ontario. The mature trees of the cemetery are a well-known sight along Lakeshore Road and the cemetery helps to define, maintain and support the scenic character of this road. The property is a well-known local landmark, easily visible along Lakeshore Road and also from Dorval Drive, which terminates at the cemetery.

The cemetery’s location provides historical context regarding the development of Oakville as it was originally developed on the outskirts of Oakville and has since been surrounded by residential development. The property remains physically, functionally, visually, and historically linked to its surroundings including Lake Ontario, Lakeshore Road and the former rectory now located at 2 Holyrood Avenue.

Description of Heritage Attributes:

Key heritage attributes which contribute to St. Jude’s Cemetery’s overall cultural heritage value and significance as a cultural heritage landscape include:

  • its defined geographical area which has been modified by human activity;
  • its placement in a prominent location along Lakeshore Road with proximity to Lake Ontario and downtown Oakville; and
  • the relationship between the property’s topography, natural elements, and hardscaping features, including its variety of monuments, markers and structures.

Key built heritage attributes of the monuments and markers, including fragments of monuments and markers, which contribute to St. Jude’s Cemetery’s cultural heritage value and significance include their:

  • location and orientation;
  • range of size and sophistication, from modest to elaborate;
  • variety of styles, materials and symbolism represented;
  • shape and form, including decorative elements;
  • surviving inscriptions;
  • various construction methods and techniques; and
  • associated fencing, specifically around family plots.

Key geographic, natural and hardscaping attributes which contribute to St. Jude’s Cemetery’s overall cultural heritage value and significance include its:

  • views and vistas within the cemetery and towards Lakeshore Road;
  • placement and variety of mature trees, shrubs and other vegetation;
  • mature trees and vegetation, which include white pines, spruce, black locust, black cherry, beech, red oak, cedar, walnut, elm, lilac and yew;
  • driveways and pathways; and
  • park-like setting.

Any objection to this designation must be filed no later than March 30, 2020. Objections should be directed to the Town Clerk, 1225 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, Ontario L6H 0H3.

Further information respecting this proposed designation is available from the Town of Oakville. Any inquiries may be directed to Carolyn Van Sligtenhorst, heritage planner at 905-845-6601, ext. 3870 (TTY 905-338-4200), or by email at carolyn.van@oakville.ca.

The last date to file a notice of objection is March 30, 2020.