The Ross Bay Cemetery was founded in 1872 when the City of Victoria purchased the land from Robert Burnaby and converted into a graveyard for the growing population of Victoria, BC. Ross Bay was originally named after Isabella Ross who was an Indigenous woman and the first female registered landowner in BC. She used her 99 acres of land to create a farm called Ross Bay Fowl Bay Farms but then began selling parcels of the acreage to individual buyers as the farm became unsuccessful. One of those parcels of land would go on to become what is now 27.5 acres of cemetery, containing over 30,000 grave sites.
The granite-clad pillars will also contain plaques which state the following:
Ross Bay Cemetery is on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen speaking Indigenous Nations. We honour and acknowledge their dedicated stewarding of these lands for thousands of years.
After the Douglas Treaties of 1850 the land was acquired by Isabella Ross and James Douglas. Ross sold part of her farm to Robert Burnaby. In 1872 he sold 13 acres of it to the City of Victoria for the cemetery which opened the following year. In 1900 part of the Douglas estate was added, on the west side, and in 1906 a part of the Ross estate was added, on the east side. The cemetery now comprises 27.5 acres and contains about 30,000 interments. It is owned by the City of Victoria, is a designated heritage site and is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
Erected by the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria, 2022
The Ross Bay Cemetery Gate located in Victoria, BC was completed by Lennox Masonry in the fall of 2023 and is now operational for the general public to use and enjoy!