Muslim cemeteries opening in Canada

The Globe and Mail – June 21, 2012

After years of planning and work, developers in two cities are set to meet a burgeoning need by opening two cemeteries – the Toronto Muslim Cemetery and the Ottawa Muslim Cemetery. While there are currently five Muslim cemeteries in Ontario, as well as a few others scattered across the country, the new additions are the first to cater to Muslims in Canada’s largest city and its capital. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Muslims in Canada is expected to almost triple over the next 20 years, from about 940,000 in 2010 to nearly 2.7-million in 2030.

Work on the Ottawa Muslim Cemetery began in the early 1990s when Abu Nazir, now the president of the group behind the project, started talking with the community about the need. Until that point, most of the Muslim community had been focused on establishing itself by building mosques and schools, he said.

The Toronto Muslim Cemetery, located just north of the city in Richmond Hill, is bigger than its Ottawa counterpart – a $10-million partnership between the area’s Sunni and Shia communities with a capacity of about 40,000 graves. Close to 5,000 plots have been pre-sold, according to Sabi Ahsan, a local developer and chairman of the cemetery’s board.

Greater Toronto Area to open first cemetery catering to all Muslims this summer

News Agencies – March 7, 2012

The province of Ontario has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery
Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill. The corporation says the
cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in
June. The group plans to open the 14-hectare cemetery officially in June. It’s expected to
serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community for at least 25 years.
He says the cemetery will be the first in the area which manages services according to
Muslim custom, operates on weekends and will have all graves correctly aligned toward
Mecca.

The 14-hectare land for the cemetery was bought for $6.8-million from a Jewish
company – Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation – which provided the Muslim corporation
with an interest-free mortgage. A Muslim cemetery to meet the needs of residents in
Ottawa and Gatineau, Que, is expected to open in June as well.