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Old Canadian Cemeteries: Places of Memory Hardcover – Oct 12 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books; 1st edition (Oct. 12 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554071461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554071463
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 3.2 x 26 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #413,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Rich with history and information... With beautiful photographs by Paul G. Hoffman, this fascinating book captures many important faith and cultural traditions before we lose them. (Gloria Nickerson The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) 2007-10-27)

[reviewed with Canadian Churches] It is de Visser's images that really make both books sparkle, with his heavenly sense for new angles and shafts of light. For their part, the authors of both books manage to keep up with de Visser's brilliance, covering their respective topics with impressive passion. ... The book works brilliantly as a reference. (Megan Grittani-Livingston Quill and Quire)

[reviewed with Canadian Churches] This hefty coffee-table book is far more than a trip down a well-trod memory lane.... This is surely the last general interest Canadian book that will need to be written on such matters for years to come.... Irwin has done a masterful job of retelling Canadian graveyard history; and she has given us an outstanding compendium on topics -- literally, the last things we must think about -- that have long delighted and intrigued her. (John Bentley Mays The Globe and Mail 2007-10-27)

Irwin looks at the historical context of both small rural and large urgan graveyards. The book is illustrated with stunning photos.

The pages of this book depict places of memory, reflection and beauty -- and the result is a fascinating excursion into history that is at once very personal and shared. (John Arkelian Arts Forum no. 15)

This big book shows the variety of monuments, describes the evolution of traditions and portrays the symbols and motifs of Canadian cemeteries in 250 colour photographs and erudite text. (The Beaver)

Spectacular ... Offers a fascinating look at some of the most exquisite architecture and compelling history of our nation. Whether to marvel at the breathtaking photographs or to delight in our nation's diversity, you'll be drawn to the book again and again. (Dona Harvey Westwords, (Westminster United Newsletter, Waterlo)

Have you ever walked into a graveyard and been fascinated by the dates and inscriptions on some of the stones? If you have, this is the book for you.... Stunning pictures ... Angels, sleeping lions, lambs, skulls, ornamented mausoleums -- all make for all magnificent viewing. (Alberta History)

There is a serenity to this book.... It is the ultimate tribute to those who have gone before us, a wonderful book of remembrance. (Joan Sutter Shelf Life)

Every genealogist's dream book. (Lois Cooper Muskoka Today 2007-12-13)

Cemeteries are important vessels of our history, as Irwin and de Visser ably demonstrate. (The National Post 2007-12-01)

The book, which again benefits from John De Visser's brilliant photographic eye, is a definite must for all who love the exploration and the celebration of this almost forgotten part of our Canadian heritage. (Cooper Edifice Old Home Magazine)

A comprehensive, beautifully illustrated survey of Canada's historical burial places. (Built Heritage News 2007-11-12)

The book provides a thought-provoking examination of some of this country's oldest public spaces. (Robert Wiersema The Vancouver Sun 2007-12-08)

Presents a coast-to-coast tour of Canada's most striking and historical burial grounds. Jane Irwin ... is articulate and passionate in recounting the stories that underlie these haunting photos. (Louise Abbott The Ottawa Citizen 2007-12-16)

A deeply moving and treasured experience.... Irwin's admirable approach reveals historical and cultural sensitivity, plus an uncompromising dedication to human scale and human values. (James Strecker On the Arts (Toronto))

Packed with hundreds of photographs accompanied by an intelligent text. (Andrew Armitage The Sun Times (Owen Sound, ON) 2007-11-02)

Old Canadian Cemeteries is a must for anyone interested in Canadian history. (Ontario Heritage Trust Heritage Matters, vol. 6, no. 1)

About the Author

Jane Irwin is a former professor of English Literature and an accredited member of the Association for Gravestone Studies. Her previous books include Burlington, for which she first teamed up with John de Visser.

John de Visser has garnered much praise for his striking photographs of Canadian places. His work appears in more than 50 books, and he holds a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We have all been to a cemetery for a funeral,but a cemetery is a wonderful,interesting place to visit at any time.I have spent many hours wandering around in cemetaries all over the country and at all times of the year.If you have any curiosity,I doubt that you can spend more than a few minutes in a cemetery before you will come across a gravestone or monument that will make you wonder what was the story behind it.
This is an excellent book that will explain many things that you might have wondered about.Over the years I have attended many funerals,and without doubt,on those occasions it is all about sorrow and death.But a visit on another time you will quickly realize that a cemetery is really all about remembering people and the lives they lived.Of course,if you visit large cemeteries in cities,you will undoubtably come across the graves of famous people and names made famous in history.This book explains many of the types of monuments,structures ,inscriptions,symbols,etc.that you will recognize and often come across.Even small villages and town graveyards are very interesting sites that tell you about their history and the trials,suffering,heartache,joy and successes that took place.Sometimes you will come across monuments that will hit you very enmotionally ,even if you had never heard of or known of the people buried there.It is hard not to feel deep emotion when you come across a stone listing several deaths in a family,several even childern all within a few days ,obviously from sickness(flu,diptheria,scarlet fever,etc.)Particularly when it occurred in winter,maybe in the 1800's and what a great sadness it must have been.Then there are those graves of the young men and women who lost their lives fighting for their country.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked how the book was organized. Very informative Canadian content. I would have liked a bit more/better photos and a bit more Western/North content.
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Format: Hardcover
Just came today, what a beautiful book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must for any who is interested in cemeteries. Jan. 20 2011
By Jerry Guild - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I developed an interest in cemetaries over 50 years ago while in the army.We were taking Driver Training ad other training which meant we were off in the countryside.Naturally,when mealtimes arrived,instead of returning to base,a meal truck would arrive to serve noon meals.Often the location chosen would be a country church which had a fairly large parking area,being a weekday,it would be empty,and it almost always had a cemetary beside it.The noon break would be an hour,and once the meal was completed,I would stroll in the cemetary.It was fascinating to read the tombstones which gave much interesting information about the community and the people who lived there,and had been laid to rest.It brought home the struggles the families went through just to survive things like several in a family dying in a few days with epidemics,young wives dying in childbirth,miners dying in cave-ins,fishermen "lost at sea",graves of those "killed in action" in various wars,graves of Firemen,famous people,large percentages of children and babies dying from sickness,and even those hardy or fortunate people who actually survived to ripe old ages of 90 and more.Along ith all that it was very interesting to see the symbols and various forms the grave markers took and the materials used.There were many that were simple wood markers,long since fallen into decay as well as elaborate monuments and crypts.Sometimes we would come across abandoned sites where the town or village had long since vanished and the cemetery had fallen into disrepair.We would often come across an assemblage of "stones" that families had rescued from cemeteries that had been overgrown and they had collected the markers together to create a rememberence.I had even come across a small church where the cemetery had become too difficult for the congregation to maintain;and they collected up the stones and created a sidewalk with them.
If you notice,this book's original price when published in 2007 was $75.It is a large book 12 X 10 1/2 X 1 1/2 inches,and 320 pages.It has hundreds of excellent photographs and well researched text covering just about every imaginable thing there is to know about cemeteries.It covers the planning,history,the types of monuments,grave markers,crypts,and the large number of symbols,types of materials used for markers;in other words it answers all kinds of questions about what one will find while simply strolling or studying graveyards.It has a large Bibliography listing all kinds of books and other publications about cemeteries.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This one has it all July 11 2008
By winnielibrarian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This one has it all - over 250 color photos (a must for cemetery armchair explorers), as well as covering all types of cemeteries. It has information on all types of cemeteries - rural, urban, regional styles etc. It also points out diffences in cemeteries of various religious and ethnic groups. It is very large and has a hefty price tag but is worth the money.