Early families in the area now known as Toronto buried their dead in churchyards and in cemeteries set aside on their farms, or in small community or denominational cemeteries. By the 1850s, most of these small cemeteries had been pushed out of the more urban City of Toronto, and farm burials were rare even in the more rural surrounding townships. Some of the cemeteries that were founded by a particular religious group became non-denominational in the 20th century. Be sure to check for burials there, even if your ancestor was not of that faith.
The pressure of urban growth led to the development of commercial cemeteries. The first non-sectarian cemetery was Potter’s Field Cemetery in Yorkville at the north-west corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets, also known as the Strangers’ Burying Ground and York General Burying Ground, established in 1826 and closed in 1855. The Toronto Necropolis followed in 1850 and Mount Pleasant Cemetery in 1876.
Potter’s Field, the Necropolis and Mount Pleasant were the start of the cemetery group now known as the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries. The Group now includes Prospect Cemetery, Pine Hills Cemetery, and York Cemetery.
- The Mount Pleasant Group burial records up to 1935 have been digitized and indexed and are available under “Toronto Trust Cemeteries” at Familysearch.org. Click here to access them.
- Browsable images (unindexed) of the Mount Pleasant records covering 1936 to 1988 can be accessed by choosing the specific cemetery in this page.
- Another series of Mount Pleasant Group burial records covering 1989–1995 are indexed at this link. (This index does not appear to be complete.)
For more information about recent burials at Mount Pleasant Group cemeteries, click here to visit the website. The Mount Pleasant Group website also includes a a history of the cemeteries and a “Find-a-Grave” app.