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Tucked between Toronto’s bustling Bathurst and Front streets, is Victoria Memorial Square, a popular spot to take your dog for a walk, read a book, and hang out with friends.
But what most people don’t know is the park is actually a cemetery, the oldest cemetery in the city, in fact.
According to the Cultural Landscape Society, the downtown park was previously apart of the Fort York military site and served as a burial ground for seventy years from 1794 to 1863.
The first person to be buried at the cemetery was Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe’s infant daughter Katherine. Hundreds of soldiers and their wives and children were laid to rest in the cemetery before it was closed in 1863.
The historic cemetery was converted to a park in the 1880s and its gravesites were levelled, paths were established, the 17 surviving headstones gathered along the park’s western edge, and a War of 1812 Monument was erected in the centre of the park.
Today, there are still hundreds of bodies buried below the park grounds, so make sure to keep an eye on where your dog is digging.