Kitchener: Cemeteries

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Answers to Frequently Asked Cremation Questions

  • Cremation is a step in the preparation of the deceased for memorialization.
  • Only one cremation takes place at a time.
  • Caskets or containers used for the cremation must be made of wood or other combustible material.
  • Prior to the cremation, casket handles and other exterior fittings are removed. Under no circumstances will any member of the crematorium staff open the casket or container.
  • For cremation, the casket is placed in a cremation chamber where, through the process of heat (approximately 1800 degrees Fahrenheit) and by evaporation, the body is reduced to fragments of bones in two to three hours.
  • When this part of the process is complete, crematorium staff carefully removes all recoverable cremated remains from the chamber. Any remaining metal particles are extracted with the assistance of a magnet or by hand. The fragments of human bones are then mechanically pulverized into minute particles and placed in a sturdy container which is identified with the name of the deceased, the date of cremation and the name of the crematorium - Williamsburg Crematorium.
  • Regulations of each crematory should provide that all remains be received in a container that ensures protection to health and safety of the crematorium operator and provides a proper covering for the deceased. The casket should meet minimum requirements for proper respect and consideration, and should be composed of a suitable material that is environmentally safe.
  • An Application for Cremation must be completed and signed by the executor or next-of-kin. A Burial Permit and a Coroner's Certificate are also required prior to the cremation.
  •  A licensed funeral home or a licensed transfer service must be used to place the deceased in a casket and transport the deceased to the crematorium.
  • You can place personal items in the casket with the deceased providing these items pose no health and/or safety risk to the operator and are composed of materials that are environmentally safe. Personal items are not recoverable after cremation. In many instances, families choose to place jewellery or other small items in the urn with cremated remains after the cremation is complete.
  • Embalming prior to cremation is not necessary, however, factors of time, health and religious beliefs might make embalming prior to cremation either appropriate or necessary.
  • The cremated remains will be returned to the family in a sealed, plastic urn that is placed inside a cloth urn bag. 
  • Families can witness the casket going into the cremation chamber. Arrangements may be made at the cemetery office if families wish to witness the cremation.
  • Cremation is not the final step. It is the family's responsibility to obtain a final resting place for these human remains.  The resting place can be simple and inexpensive such as a scattering in the cemetery gardens or ossuary.  For those who wish for more elaborate choices, there other options for interment available.
  • Scattering of cremated remains is not legal without permission of the owners of the property. Scattering Gardens are available at Woodland and Williamsburg Cemeteries. Keep in mind that a favourite place today may change ownership and development may take place. Religious leaders and grief counsellors have advised that a specific location such a s a cemetery burial site is preferred because they are permanent and can be returned to for reflection and closure.
  • If you should choose to be cremated, there are certain steps you should take in advance:
    • Make your wishes known. Advise your family members. Your Will is usually not read until after the funeral so don't leave important funeral-related information only in your Will.
    • Consult with an experienced professional about arrangements that can be made in advance.
    • Select the final disposition at the cemetery. Possible locations are the cremation garden, columbarium, family lot, scattering garden or indoor niches. Learn more about interment options.