New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster will be unveiling the restored BC Penitentiary Cemetery on Wednesday, August 29 at 6:00 pm outside the cemetery grounds located near 245 Francis Way in New Westminster. Over the past two years, the City’s BC Penitentiary Cemetery Task Force has been working to uncover the history hidden on this site that has remained inaccessible for several years as result of construction in the Victoria Hill development. With construction completed, and a new public path installed to access the cemetery, a task force was created to undertake the physical restoration of the cemetery. The project also included identifying the locations of many unmarked graves, and removing, hand cleaning, and reinstalling headstones.
“The BC Penitentiary Cemetery is a bit of hidden history in New Westminster,” said Councillor Jaimie McEvoy, Chair of the BC Penitentiary Cemetery Task Force. “We want to acknowledge the past, educate, and inform future generations of those buried here and fulfill our municipal responsibility of maintaining our cemeteries.”
The BC Penitentiary was a federal prison operating in New Westminster from 1878 to 1980. The BC Penitentiary Cemetery lies within the Glenbrook Ravine Parklands, located on the western edge of the Glenbrook Ravine. The cemetery was established in 1913 for burials of inmates who were not claimed by family or friends. Burials continued here until 1968.
At the unveiling event, guests will be able to tour the restored cemetery, discuss the history of the site with Councillor McEvoy and other City staff, and view the newly installed interpretive signage.
The path to access the cemetery begins 135m south of the intersection of Memorial Drive and Francis Way in New Westminster behind the Parkside tower. To RSVP, please visit https://bcpenitentiarycemetery.eventbrite.ca
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