Frequently Asked Questions

The following are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the policies, practices and administration of the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Simply click on a specific question to view its answer. Scroll down the page to read the full list of questions with answers. Links are provided within the answers when further information is available in our Rules and Regulations within our web site

For more information or further clarification about these questions and answers, or any other questions please contact us at 902-429-9800 ext. 308 or through the website

Why are cemeteries necessary?

In our modern society, it is our responsibility to treat human remains (including cremated remains) with dignity and respect, and to place them on property dedicated for that purpose. Today's burial grounds, or cemeteries/memorial gardens, serve as a central location for survivors to visit, to reflect, to remember and to heal.

Cemeteries also provide a link with history. Many people visit pioneer or veterans' cemeteries to remember, and be inspired by ancestors who developed our communities and served our country.  [ back to top ]

When selecting a cemetery, what should I look for?

Most importantly, select a cemetery with well-maintained property, and a friendly, compassionate and knowledgeable staff. At Gate of Heaven Cemetery, we take great pride in our grounds and you'll find the qualities you're looking for in every member of our staff. We will be happy to discuss our wide range of affordable options at a time convenient to you.  [ back to top ]

Who can be buried in the cemetery?

The cemeteries are open to all.  [ back to top ]

How do I make pre arrangements?

To make your personalized arrangements, call us at 902-429-9800 ext. 308 or contact us through our website so that we may set up a convenient time to explain the various options available and take you for a personal tour. Affordable pre-need financing is available.  [ back to top ]

Why should I pre arrange my cemetery needs?

By pre arranging your burial, your wishes are made clear. Advance planning is the best way to avoid heavier financial burdens in the future. Decisions are made apart from the emotions and stress of a death. We will assist you and respect your preferences - personal, family, emotional, financial and spiritual. We will make a full, unhurried, in-depth disclosure of all costs, so you can make prudent and informed choices in an atmosphere free from the anguish and grief that accompanies a death.  [ back to top ]

How do I choose the right type of grave?

Because it is an important question, many things must be considered. What type of memorial do you prefer? A marker set flat on the ground? An upright monument? How many burials do you expect to take place? Are you arranging for yourself or your family? How much do you want to spend? Answers to these types of questions will assist you to make the right purchase.  [ back to top ]

What are my choices for traditional burial?

We offer single graves and lots composed of two or more graves for traditional burials.  [ back to top ]

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.  [ back to top ]

What is cremation?

Cremation is a method for preparing the deceased for memorialization. The process has been practiced throughout human history and is considered an alternative to traditional earth burial. Scientifically speaking, it is a process of reducing a deceased human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.  [ back to top ]

Why do people select cremation?

The reasons for choosing cremation are as varied and unique as the individuals selecting it. Some choose cremation based on their feelings toward environmental issues and land usage. For many, it is a choice that reflects the individual's philosophical or religious beliefs. Others choose cremation to simplify the experience and save money.  [ back to top ]

Does cremation replace a funeral?

Cremation does not replace a funeral; rather it allows for more choices when it comes to choosing a loved one's final resting place(s), selecting a permanent memorial, and bringing the bereaved together to pay tribute to the deceased.  [ back to top ]

What can I do with the cremated remains?

You have many choices. Cremated remains can be buried at one of our cemetery ground sites, or placed in a columbarium niche. Our staff will be happy to discuss placement options with you in more detail.  [ back to top ]

If I'm going to be cremated, why would I want my remains interred at the cemetery? Why shouldn't I just have them scattered in the sea or in some other place of my choosing?

As long as it is permitted by local regulations, your cremated remains can be scattered in a place that is meaningful to you. This can, however, present difficulties for your survivors. Some people may find it hard to simply pour the mortal remains of a loved one out onto the ground or into the sea. If you wish to be scattered somewhere, it is therefore important to discuss your wishes ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the scattering. Another difficulty with scattering can occur when the remains are disposed of in an anonymous, unmarked or public place. Access to the area may be restricted for some reason in the future, undeveloped land may be developed or any of a host of other conditions may arise that could make it difficult for your survivors to visit the site to remember you. Even if your cremated remains are scattered in your backyard, what happens if your survivors relocate sometime in the future? Once scattered, cremated remains cannot easily be collected back up. Having your remains interred in a cemetery ensures that future generations will have a place to go. To remember and be remembered are natural human needs. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping to bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one's mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.  [ back to top ]

How much do graves cost?

Within the cemetery, grave prices can vary by the section in which the grave is located. For example, single section, double section and the number of interments permitted in a grave may also effect the price.  [ back to top ]

When I buy a grave do I receive a deed just like when I purchase other types of real estate?

When you purchase a grave you are in fact purchasing the right to designate who may be interred in the space, rather than purchasing the grave itself, which remains the property and responsibility of the cemetery. You will receive a copy of the Rules and Regulations for the cemetery. You also have a right to place a memorial on the grave site.  [ back to top ]

Why wasn't I informed about a policy change?

Our 150-year historical databases are not updated to reflect generations beyond the original owners of burial rights. Contacting all owners, heirs of burial rights and other interested parties is, therefore, not possible. We make significant effort to communicate policy changes. This web site - - is the source of accurate, complete and up-to-date information.  [ back to top ]

Can I sell my burial space on the open market?

No. The Gate of Heaven Cemetery does not recognize the sale of burial rights between private parties. However, burial rights may be transferred to another person, preferably a family member, by written notification to our business office. The Gate of Heaven Cemetery will purchase back vacant single and double grave sites at the owners original purchase price.  [ back to top ]

How do I control who will be buried in my burial space?

The owner has exclusive and permanent right of use through an Indenture. Beyond the owner's spouse, who has full control and the first right of burial, this right passes to direct blood heirs immediately after the death of the original owner. A married couple is considered a joint owner.

Written permission of the heirs may be required for burial. Beyond children, it is often very difficult to establish control and permission. Therefore, we strongly encourage all owners of burial rights to complete a Burial Right Assignment Form to make official burial assignments prior to their death. This will prevent unnecessary stress at the time when permission is essential. The document can be easily amended if new circumstances arise.   [ back to top ]

What is a perpetual care fee?

A portion of the purchase price of the grave is contributed to a perpetual care fund. Income from the perpetual care fund is used to provide regular care and maintenance at the cemetery. Regular care and maintenance activities can include: cutting grass, regrading of graves, planting and caring for trees, roads, drainage, etc.  [ back to top ]

What is an interment fee?

An interment is the opening and closing fee. The interment fee can include 50 or more separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the interment fee includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing at the grave site, leveling, tamping and re-grading.  [ back to top ]

What is a burial vault?

This is the outside container into which the casket is placed. A burial vault is designed to protect the casket and keeps the grave surface from sinking in. Concrete burial vaults are available for purchase at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.  [ back to top ]

What options are there for the interment of cremated remains?

For those individuals who have chosen cremation there are a various options. The Gate of Heaven Cemetery offers a niche in the columbarium or a grave site can be purchased for the interment of cremated remains. There are cremation gardens available at Mount Olivet Cemetery and Holy Cross Cemetery.  [ back to top ]

Can I have my cremated remains interred in an existing family grave plot?

Cremated remains can be interred in existing family graves (depending on permission being given by the current lessee of the exclusive right of burial). Perpetual Care fee applies as follows: Upon the sale of a single lot a Perpetual Care fee will be charges, Upon the interment in a lot which was sold prior to the establishment of the Perpetual Care Fund the current fee for Perpetual Care will be charged, and Interments in excess of one in a single lot will each be charged a Perpetual Care fee. Please see our Rules and Regulations, Boundaries and Care of Lots #16 for more information.  [ back to top ]

Why can't I decorate a grave or a niche any way I want?

We strive to balance individual and family decoration choices with the overall administration of a large cemetery system to assure order, beauty and tidiness. By our policies we strive to avoid subjectivity and assure objectivity in handling decorations. Please see our Rules and Regulations, Boundaries and Care of Lots for more information.  [ back to top ]

Can I obtain information on my family genealogy from the cemetery?

Because we welcome and encourage frequent contact, our cemetery office staff responds to requests for burial locations related to personal visits and other cemetery related activities.

If you are seeking background information about individuals buried in our cemeteries, please use the Interment Search option on our website.

There will be a minimum $100 (including HST) charge per hour for genealogical information requests.   [ back to top ]

What should I do first when a death occurs?

If you decide to use a funeral or cremation director, they are generally available to walk you carefully through all the necessary tasks, including securing the services of our cemetery.

Or, you may call us at 902-429-9800 during our business hours for specific information on the services we provide during your time of need. We will coordinate our services with others from that point on.  [ back to top ]