RCMP National Memorial Cemetery at Beechwood
October 2004 saw the unveiling and dedication of the new RCMP National Memorial Cemerety at Beechwood. Dedicated to all members from across Canada who wish to be buried amongst their comrades along with their family members.
Unique design features were built into the cemetery that would have meaning to members of the RCMP. The two pathways that lead to the main central monument are lined by 16 white lilac trees that represent 32 members in troop standing on guard. The trees to the left and right of the main monument are sugar red maples and the tree colours represent the colours of the flag of Canada. The pathways leading to the main parade square are wide enough to allow two horses to walk side by side down the pathway to the main parade square without disturbing the burial sites.
The main central monument was designed by retired member Bill Becker who was instrumental in the creation of the cemetery. The monument is not only a dedication to members of the RCMP but has ties to the history of the RCMP and the Regimental Cemetery at Depot. The front of the stone is marked with the crest of the RCMP placed into an oval topped door. This represents the door leading into the chapel at Depot. On each side of the stone are a bowed rifleman and a bugler and these represent the stained glass windows in the chapel.
The crossed lances and the horse and rider on the back of the stone represent the mounted police and musical ride and are truly representative of the history of the RCMP.
We also relocated a memorial to Marmaduke Graburn, the first member killed while on duty to the RCMP site that represents the ultimate loss of a member. A new cenotaph was erected at the end of the parade square dedicated to all those who gave their lives while in the performance of their duty.
To be as inclusive as possible, all members, civilian members, special constables and public employees with 20 years of uninterrupted service to the RCMP and their families are allowed entrance to the cemetery.
Every family will be offered the choice of cremation or traditional casket accommodations. We have columbarium niche structures placed to either side of the main central monument as well as the traditional ground burial sites.
The RCMP National Memorial Cemetery has been a tremendous success with more than 400 families making there cemetery arrangements in less than 10 years. To ensure the long term success of the area, additional phases have been developed and will open in the near future as the need arises. These new phases will ensure 75-100 years of additional burial sites and ensure future generations of the RCMP have a place to rest.
These new phases will continue with the preservation of the history of the RCMP with the central walkway dedicated to the past Commissioners of the RCMP that leading to the dedicated cenotaph. At the end of Commissioner’s Way is the future legacy pathway. This pathway will have plaques with a brief history of the RCMP in 20-25 year increments and allow visitors access to the full history of the RCMP by opening a QR link to our website using their smart phones or iPads. The legacy pathway project is spearheaded by the RCMP Veterans Association, Ottawa Division and a fundraising campaign has begun to complete this project.