Cemetery and museum ask for help from Toronto City Council | News, Sports, Jobs
TORONTO — Toronto Council received requests for help on Monday, albeit each in a different form, from the Toronto Union Cemetery Association and the Toronto Historical Society.
In a letter to council, Dani Swearingen, secretary of the cemetery council, said a drop in burials has made it difficult to meet the costs of maintaining its grounds.
It’s a situation Swearingen blames on the pandemic.
Some funeral directors reported seeing an increase in cremations because they allowed mourners to postpone funeral services until a time when exposure to COVID-19 was of less concern.
“We only get our funding by selling graves, laying foundations and burials. This is money I cannot count on if there are no sold graves, burials or foundation orders,” said Swearingen, who added that the council’s savings were exhausted.
Swearingen said it has been suggested that if the council is unable to support the cemetery, the town may be forced to take it back.
City Attorney Craig Allen said he doesn’t believe that’s the case, but suggested the board ask the cemetery board for more information.
Some wondered if the cemetery was in the city.
Located at 228 High Haven Drive, off Sunset Drive, the cemetery was established in 1866.
On its grounds are a Civil War monument and numerous graves dating to the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to the Toronto Historical Society.
On Monday, the volunteer historical group applied for financial assistance from the city, as it has done in the past.
Carolyn Walker, the group’s president, asked for $2,400 to help run her Main Street Museum.
She noted that the cost of heating the building had increased by $200 last year and that $500 had been spent to replace its deteriorating front porch.
Walker said after the pandemic led to the museum’s closure in 2020, it reopened last year to several hundred visitors, including more than 30 Cub Scouts and their leaders and parents.
She said that to raise funds, the group ran a successful direct mail membership campaign while selling tote bags, note cards bearing Toronto scenes and copies of her book, “The Era of Elegance.”
First Ward Councilman Bob Bertram said the request went to the council’s finance committee and someone questioned whether a cap on such requests had been set by the council.
The Commission has agreed to file the application until this issue is resolved.
Bertram suggested that the city could make space available at the Karaffa Recreation Center for the museum.
The center was established in the former Karaffa Elementary School after it was donated to the city by the Toronto School Board.
In an earlier interview, Walker said the historical society had considered the move, but was also concerned about losing visibility from its current location, which is near the center of the Toronto Arts Festival and other public events.
In other cases:
– Council approved $10,000 to the City Fire Department for software needed to submit reports required by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and a $5,000 annual maintenance agreement for it. this.
– Councilman Mike Burkey, newly appointed chairman of the city’s sewer and water committee, said the group is expected to meet in the next week or two.
The group is expected to meet with a citizens’ committee formed by the council to explore alternatives to the city’s proposed water and sewer rate increases.
(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])