All photos taken by Larry Nicols

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Toronto Hebrew Memorial Parks proudly announced the opening of the Pardes Shalom Memorial Garden in October, 2005. The Memorial Garden is a place where families and others can memorialize and mourn their loved ones who are not buried in Pardes Shalom Cemetery but who have been buried elsewhere or there is no known burial site.

Many years ago, a Jewish family approached the cemetery for such a place. They had lost their son in a tragic accident in the Himalayas and the body was never recovered. They had no memorial or marker for their son nearby nor a specific place to go to reflect on his life or mourn his death. The idea took shape over several years as it became clear there was indeed a need for something like this for the community. It also became clear that not only was a memorial for those who have no known gravesite needed but also for those buried in distant places not easily visited such as the former Soviet Union, South Africa and even the United States or other Canadian cities such as Montreal or Winnipeg. The focus was not to be primarily on those who perished in the Holocaust as there is already a site in Toronto for their memorialization.

At the opening of the Memorial Garden, on October 16, 2005, William C. Draimin, the President of Toronto Hebrew Memorial Parks, stated:

“Memories are a way to affirm the lives of our beloved dead, and the relationship we shared with them, thus enabling each of us to live a sweeter life. And this memorial garden is a special place, a hallowed location to remember special people who are no longer here in body. Their families and friends will now have the honour, the privilege and comfort to share a few moments with them, to experience nature, to experience remembrances, and yes, spirituality, all at the same time.”

The Memorial Garden is located in a peaceful, natural site set aside to memorialize those who may not be buried in Pardes Shalom Cemetery, or for whom there is no known burial site. The area is a beautiful garden setting for reflection, contemplation and remembrance to provide continuity of Jewish tradition.

A wide range of memorial opportunities are available. Individuals, families and community groups may wish to install memorial plaques on memorial walls, benches, trees, or boulders in the Memorial Garden. For more information please call 416.635.5595 or info@thmp.ca.

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