May 7, 2020

Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery~What is the Balance Between Access & Respect?


Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery opened in 1886 and is administered by the City of Vancouver. It has a 110 acre site located west of Fraser Street between 31st and 43rd Avenues. The current manager is Glen Hodges who is well respected for his work and for his stewardship of the cemetery. There are over 92,000 grave sites and over 145,0000 interred remains.

One of the challenges over the last thirty years has been how to calibrate the balance of keeping the cemetery available to people who want visit family graves, and that of the public who may want to bike or stroll through the site.  Glen Hodges has worked to document the history of the cemetery and to respect the many cultures who come to visit graveside.

There are also 12,000 Canadian military graves in Mountain View. Right now that area has an astounding display of “Canadian Liberation” tulips that were planted to honour Canada’s contribution to Dutch freedom.

This is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands which was led by Canadians during the Second World War.  Over 7,600 Canadian soldiers died in the Netherlands during the war.

The tulips are breathtaking and symbolic. But  local community organizer Sharole Tylor sent these photos of what the tulips looked like at the end of April.

Sharole writes: “I could not believe it- I saw a car drive through from 37th Avenue, the passenger got out and moved the barricade, moved it back once the car drove through and did the same for the barricade near 33rd. Like was that so much of a time savings that you couldn’t have used a regular street.”

In the photos  below, someone removed the barricade and then tried to back a vehicle  through the tulips centimeters away from one of the military headstones.

How do you balance public access for people visiting the  cemetery with drivers who want to shortcut or drive through? Should the cemetery be under camera surveillance?





The YouTube video below describes the symbolism of the plantings of the Canadian Liberator tulip and shows where 500,000 of these tulips have been planted in British Columbia.

Images: Andy Yan & Sharole Tylor

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