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Heritage and tradition at the heart of Calgary Union Cemetery

Union Cemetery, located between Spiller Road and MacLeod Trail S.E., first opened in 1890 to replace the cemetery at Shaganappi Point. Union Cemetery includes many of Calgary's founders and pioneers and features a Military Field of Honour.

Visitor information

Address: Cemetery Rd. and Spiller Rd. S.E.

Hours: Grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Map: Union Cemetery Map

For administration office information visit our contact page.

Cemetery features

Space availability: Space in the columbarium and in-ground cremation burial plots are available. In-ground burial plots at Union Cemetery are at capacity; however, space becomes available from time-to-time. Please call 403-221-3660 for possible availability. 

Features and special areas:

  • Military Field of Honour
  • In-ground burial plots
  • In-ground cremation burial plots
  • Columbaria for cremated remains
  • Scattering garden
  • Memorial wall
  • FREE historical cemetery walking tours in the summer

Physical area: 19.1 hectares

Number of burials: 21,200 including many Calgary founders and pioneers


Burial plot: A traditional burial plot can accommodate two caskets and up to ten urns with cremated remains.

Cremation plot: Similar to a burial plot, but smaller, allows clients to inter up to four urns with cremated remains.

Photo: From Union Cemetery

 


Columbarium: An outdoors structure that hold urns with cremated remains in individual niches. Some niches can hold multiple urns from other family members.

The deceased’s name and dates of birth and death can be inscribed on the niche door.

Photo: From Union Cemetery
 


Scattering Garden: A communal garden, within the cemetery’s premises, where ashes from loved ones can be scattered.

Our scattering garden service offers the possibility to add a plaque with a name and a short epitaph in a communal memorial wall located nearby.

Photo: From Union Cemetery

Pre-planning

It’s common for people to make end-of-life arrangements prior to their passing, including pre-purchase plots, crypt spaces or cremation urns.

Advantages of pre-planning

  • Pre-planning is an act of love because it means your friends and family will not need to make last-minute decisions at an already stressful and emotional time.
  • It also relieves your friends and family of the financial burden of paying for your final arrangements.
  • Your family will know exactly what to do, ensuring that the funeral services are provided according to your wishes, preferences and beliefs.
  • Like most other products, cemetery plots, niches and crypts increase in price over time, so pre-purchasing can help you save money in the future.
  • If you change your mind after pre-purchasing, and decide to rest in a different cemetery or go through a different funeral process, you can always sell your plot, niche or crypt.

For more information, call 403-221-3660 Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

History

In 1884, Calgary was incorporated as a town with a population of over 1,000 people. By year's end, Calgary boasted its first newspaper, some 30 major buildings, and a healthy economy based on farming and ranching.

One of the first tasks of the new council was finding land for a Protestant cemetery. The only existing graveyard was at the Roman Catholic mission and it was clearly inadequate to meet the future needs of a growing city.

In 1885, city councillors chose a plot of land of about 50 acres at Shaganappi Point; a beautiful spot overlooking the river valley which is now the site of the Shaganappi Golf Course. The first burial in this new cemetery took place in September 1885. Unfortunately, back in the 1800s, graves had to be dug by hand and it wasn't long before rocky soil conditions at Shaganappi Point forced council to seek another location. In 1890, a hill to the south of the city at 28 Avenue and Spiller Road S.E. was chosen as the site for the new Union Cemetery. The cemetery at Shaganappi Point closed soon after. The process of moving the burials from that site to the new Union Cemetery finally began in 1892 and was completed by 1912.

In 1890 Union Cemetery was established on a hill to the south of the city.

When Union Cemetery was established in 1890, the cost of a single plot was $5, a double plot was $10, and the charge for digging and closing was $2. These were significant amounts at the time - especially since the new burial ground could hardly be called convenient. No bridge existed over the Elbow River so funeral carriages had to lurch up and down steep banks and slosh through deep and hazardous water. Pedestrian mourners had to wait until a ferryman rowed them over, a few at a time. And don't forget that Calgary's weather was as unpredictable then as it is today - something that was eventually recognized in 1909, when a mortuary chapel was built to store sealed caskets for the winter.

The cemetery offers a mixture of upright monument and flat marker sections. It also contains a columbarium for the interment of cremated remains. The cemetery’s intimate Field of Honour includes many of Calgary’s Boer War veterans, and contains a Cross of Sacrifice which honours members of the military who died and were buried there during the First World War.

The Union Cemetery gallery


Contact

For more information email calgarycemeteries@calgary.ca or call 403-221-3660. Queen's Park Cemetery administration building office hours are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Prairie Sky Cemetery administration building office hours are by appointment only.

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