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History is alive at Glenwood – City of the Dead

Peter Lockyer, of History Lives Here, leads a walking tour of Picton's Glenwood Cemetery. Guided tours into the past will be held at the cemetery Saturday nights in July and August. Tours are booked through the Regent Theatre.

At the turn of the century, Picton’s City of the Dead was the favourite spot for families to enjoy picnics, concerts and walks through its 62-acre park-like setting.
Today, Glenwood Cemetery Board members and friends are ramping up efforts to return the 140-year-old Victorian cemetery in the heart of town to its former elegance and to again be a welcoming place and community resource.
“Glenwood has a beautiful vista,” said board chairman Sandy Latchford. “You don’t see the town from here, only the spire of the church. The deer here have a good appetite and there’s a buffet of plants for them.”
Latchford welcomed media and supporters to a press conference in the cemetery’s centrepiece stone chapel built in 1901.
She spoke of Glenwood’s glorious history and referenced County author Margaret Haylock’s book ‘Hearts We Leave Behind – Glenwood – City of the Dead’ when noting that in 1910 Cora Colden was the cemetery’s first woman manager and first female superintendent in Canada. More than a century later, the board has welcomed Helma Oonk to the position.
Oonk explained projects under way at Glenwood include a second columbarium for interment of ashes, plans for a scattering ground, cremation plots and plaques available to commemorate loved ones. Fundraising will augment Glenwood’s $100,000 annual operating costs for the property which is home to 12-15,000 graves.

A more interactive website for Glenwood Cemetery was unveiled by Bob Schroen. He noted site highlights will include feature stories and coming events as well as a genealogical data base with more than 10,000 burial records. A PayPal donation button is also available for direct donations to Glenwood.

Mayor Peter Mertens said council recognizes Glenwood as a “jewel” and was happy to continue funding to the cemetery this year.
“Glenwood is a spot that is always very interesting to come to… It’s a place that you can come to contemplate life. It’s a phenominal spot and lot of credit goes to the volunteers. It’s a never-ending exercise by the nature of the cemetery’s geography and topography. It’s never easy and all fundraising is especially appreciated.”

Organizers outlined some of the coming events at the cemetery, including Decoration Day, Historic Walking Tours, Jazz Festival satellite location, the Second Annual Veterans’ Day and the Christmas Wreath Sale.

Sunday, June 3 from noon to 4 p.m. a Decoration Day will be held to honour loved ones. Rev. Audrey Whitney will lead a memorial service at 2 p.m. Flowers will be available to place at grave sites.

Walking tours are held Friday and Saturday evenings in July and August through partnerships with the Museums of Prince Edward County, The Regent Theatre and Peter Lockyer, of History Lives Here.
Friday tours focus on the darker side of the County, including the story of an 1884 double hanging of two local men who claimed their innocence to the very end. The tour goes through the cells and gallows of the old courthouse where they spent their final hours.
Saturday night tours will focus on the eerie secrets of Picton’s early graveyards with a visit to Glenwood, the resting place of many pioneer families and some famous and infamous Canadians.
Tours are booked through the Regent Theatre, 224 Main Street, Picton. Call 613 476 8416 or email

Glenwood is a satellite location for the PEC Jazz Festival this August. Following the concert, an historic walking tour of the cemetery will be offered.

In partnership with The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 78 Picton and the 415 Prince Edward County Wing of the Air Force Association of Canada, Glenwood will host its second annual Veterans’ Day Saturday, Sept. 22 to honour those who died serving their country and those now working around the world on behalf of Canadians. Flags and poppies are provided to all who wish to decorate graves.

The Christmas Wreath Sale is held Saturday, Nov. 24. Wreaths and baskets are sold for use in homes over the holiday season or to be placed on monuments in memory of loved ones.

Historic Glenwood Cemetery
– Video by Peter Lockyer of History Lives Here –

The Glenwood Cemetery is a 62-acre property in downtown Picton, Prince Edward County. This historic cemetery with its trademark hills, winding roads and tall trees is typical of the Victorian era and is the final resting place for many of the area’s pioneer settlers and some famous and infamous Canadians. The cemetery focal point is an elegant stone chapel with six stained glass windows.

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  1. Gil says:

    As a “Newby” (2009) to the County,I found this new website most informative as to what History has “happened in my new back yard!!!”
    A definate “Focal Point of Interest” to advertise in our Picton area. A must Visit Site for sure!
    A Super Job Sandy,Peter and Peggy and a special thanks to all Glenwood Staff,415 RCAF Wing,#851 Air Cadet Sqdn.and Legion Br#78 for their total Support to Glenwood for Remembering the Veterans in this community.

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