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The woods are lovely, dark and deep
September 4, 2012 6:20 PM   Subscribe

In Ontario, can a person be buried in a natural way, so that the body returns to the earth?

My friend's husband is terminally ill; he will likely die at home this month.
He loves nature (specifically camping, hunting, and canoeing in the woods of Ontario).
He would like to be buried in a natural way that allows his body to return to the earth.
He lives in Toronto, but anywhere in/near Ontario would be fine.

What kinds of options are available?
What procedures should my friend put in motion now, and immediately after his death?
I can't believe this is happening; it's not fair.
Thanks.
posted by pseudostrabismus to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
First result for 'natural burial Ontario':

http://www.naturalburialassoc.ca/theconcept-why.html

Seems to be plenty of options, some of which are in the GTA, and lots of information available even just on that first site.
posted by Brockles at 6:30 PM on September 4, 2012


You should check out the websites for Natural Burial in Canada and the Natural Burial Association (of Canada). Wikipedia’s article on natural burial is a helpful introduction to the options that are available. And according to the first website I linked to, there’s a natural/green cemetery outside of Toronto.

I’m really sorry to hear about the status of your friend; I hope that you can arrange everything according to his wishes and that you’re able to spend as much time as you can with him this month.
posted by huxham at 6:32 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


They make biodegradable coffins. I think they are actually cheaper than the commercial coffins.
posted by Flood at 6:33 PM on September 4, 2012


In England we have wicker coffins that are much greener than the wooden ones. They're also much more hopeful. There is nothing more ominous, to me, than the sight of a traditional coffin; but in a wicker one, you feel you're literally planting them... and as a Christian, I have admittedly rather silly visions of them springing up on Judgment Day like a showgirl jumping out of a cake... Okay, silly... But the principle is there. I've seen three friends buried in wicker coffins and it's just that tiny bit easier to face.
posted by tel3path at 6:41 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another option is to look at funeral homes (etc.) that serve Orthodox Jews, who are buried without embalming and in simple all-wooden coffins, traditionally without even metal nails. In places without many green options, whoever serves Orthodox Jews can often help. I think you should have lots green options in Toronto, however.

I would do some research and make a few calls now, so you know who you want to call when it's time. It would be great if you could continue the research for your friends and present them with a few options. The details can be decided at the time, but knowing who you want to call in advance is helpful.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:58 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just started looking into this on the weekend! Here are the links I've collected so far.

Eco Burials has a list of links to funeral homes that offer natural burial services in Ontario. For example, MacCoubrey Funeral Home.

Here is a Toronto Star article on natural burial.

Here is a CBC Sounds Like Canada podcast and a Q podcast where Jian Ghomeshi interviews Sarah Ditum shortly after she published this article.
posted by postpostpostscript at 7:25 PM on September 4, 2012


Jewish people (and i believe also Muslims, but i'm not sure) have burial traditions that are centered around the idea of returning the body to the earth ("ashes to ashes, dust to dust"). If you get in touch with a Jewish funeral home, perhaps they can be useful in either providing their services or at least providing their products (ie plain unfinished casket).
posted by Kololo at 10:21 PM on September 4, 2012


Thank you all for the advice. Eco Burials turned out to be the resource the family used, and the natural burial went well and was comforting for the family.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:17 PM on March 24, 2013


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