Ross Bay Cemetery
Ross Bay Cemetery, named for its unique oceanside location at Ross Bay, has been in continuous use since 1872 and is maintained and managed by the City of Victoria.
Ross Bay was named after Isabella Mainville Ross. Her husband, Charles Ross, a Hudson Bay Company chief trader, oversaw the building of Fort Victoria in 1843, but died soon after in 1844. In the 1850s, Isabella Ross, an Indigenous woman, was the first woman to be a registered landowner in British Columbia. She named her 99-acre property overlooking Ross Bay, “Fowl Bay Farm” because of its abundant waterfowl. Unfortunately, the farm was not successful and Isabella gradually sold portions of the property to individual buyers.
The City of Victoria purchased the remote slope overlooking Ross Bay from Robert Burnaby for use as a cemetery in 1872. Isabella Ross died in 1885 at the age of 77 and was buried in an unmarked grave at Ross Bay Cemetery. In 1994, the Old Cemeteries Society installed an interpretive plaque at her gravesite.
On June 23, 2013, the Old Cemeteries Society is conducting a 170th anniversary tour of Fort Victoria at Ross Bay Cemetery. The tour coincides with National Aboriginal Day celebrations. The Society will unveil two restored Ross markers as well as a new marker during the tour.
About the Cemetery
A fine example of a Victorian-era cemetery, it has been designated a Municipal Heritage Site. A number of prominent and well-known people are buried here, including Sir James Douglas, British Columbia's first governor, artist Emily Carr and Billy Barker, the man responsible for the Cariboo Gold Rush.
Mature trees grace Ross Bay Cemetery. The widest range of pine trees in the Victoria area can be found here, as well as Spanish Fir, Rocky Mountain white fir and cork-bark elm. Japanese flowering cherries add a flourish of colour to the lovely old monuments and grave art.
The Old Cemeteries Society conducts popular guided tours through the cemetery and operates a visitor's centre across Fairfield Road at historic Ross Bay Villa, which is open for public inquiries on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit: Old Cemeteries Society.
Forms for Interment
The City allows full interments as well as interments of cremated remains at Ross Bay Cemetery. To learn more, please see below.
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