Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Montreal Mount Royal Cemetery, Quebec



Aylmer Cemetery,

Arcadia Oak Ridge Cemetery, Florida, USA

Estevan Cemetery, Saskatchewan

Kamloops Pleasant Street Cemetery, British Columbia

Mount Hope St. Paul's Anglican Cemetery, Ontario

Regina Cemetery, Saskatchewan

St. John's Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newfoundland and Labrador

Horticulture, and the overall beautification of cemeteries, has always been an important aspect in the commemoration of the 1.7 million Commonwealth War Dead of the two World Wars. The original horticulture concept was to create a sentimental association between the gardens of home and the foreign fields where the soldiers lie buried. To achieve this, the Commission employs full time gardening staffs and contractors to maintain the horticulture standards in the more than 2,500 Commission cemeteries and plots worldwide.

Historically, horticulture did not play the same role in commemorating the War Dead in Canada and the United States, as it did in the Commission owned and maintained cemeteries overseas; however, in the late 1990s, Canadian Agency staff began a small horticulture programme which has continued to expand. The aim is to target burials marked primarily with Commission headstones which are grouped in plots. Currently, there are sixty-six plots of War Dead under floral arrangements - fifty-five in Canada, eight in the United States, one in the Bahamas, one in Saint Lucia and one in Trinidad and Tobago. The intent is to continue to develop three to five new plots each year until the potential is exhausted.

In developing the plots the Canadian Agency follows Commission standards which include a 50cm wide floral border in front of the headstones and a 10cm border behind them. The types of plants and flowers planted in the borders vary with each location. The guiding principles are simply that the flowers should be bright and healthy; should not obscure the inscription on the headstones; and, the borders be kept free of garbage, dead plants, weeds and have sharply trimmed edges. Overall, the flower beds and surrounding turf must present a highly attractive appearance. Most plots are seasonal but a few have flowers and plants which are maintained throughout the year.

Although most of the plots under horticulture embellishment consist of less than 30 headstones, the Agency has three major plots which have 70, 150 and 350 headstones. These plots are located respectively in Victoria, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The plot in Vancouver Mountain View Cemetery is a cemetery within a cemetery, with a wall around the plot and rows of headstones with floral borders. It closely resembles a Commission cemetery one would find overseas.

War graves under floral care in the United States vary from locations with single graves to larger plots. The largest site is located in Montgomery, Alabama where there are 80 Commission and 20 French military headstones in Oakwood Cemetery. Smaller plots of 20 and 23 graves are located at Terrell, Texas and Arcadia, Florida. All three sites contain burials resultant from the UK/US flying training programmes during both world wars.

Following are the locations of horticultural plots (some locations have a number of floral plots):


Gander & St. John's

Prince Edward Island


Nova Scotia

Halifax, Kentville, Kingston, Middleton, Sydney, Truro & Yarmouth

New Brunswick



Arvida, Metis Beach, Montreal, Pointe Claire & St-Jean-sur-Richelieu


Aylmer, Barrie, Dunnville, Jarvis, Mount Hope, Ottawa, Peterborough, Picton, Trenton & Toronto


Neepawa & Winnipeg


Estevan & Regina


Innisfail & Red Deer

British Columbia

Nelson, Kamloops, Vancouver & Victoria

United States of America Arcadia and Miami, Florida; Montgomery, Alabama; Ocracoke and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; Miami and Ponca City, Oklahoma & Terrell, Texas
Bahamas Nassau
Saint Lucia Castries
Trinidad and Tobago Port of Spain

Finally, the Canadian Agency, in conjunction with Veterans Affairs Canada, the Department of National Defence and Beechwood Cemetery, have partnered to develop what is now known as the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa. Horticulture is a major feature of this site; each grave stone has annual and/or perennial plantings, common to many of the Commonwealth cemeteries around the world.

Modified: 2016-03-23
Copyright © 2007 Commonwealth War Graves Commission (Canada)