In the years that followed, three other premiers joined Oliver at Royal Oak. There are also other politicians, from all three levels of government, as well as artists, writers, business legends and hockey players.
In the tough Depression years of the 1930s, the cemetery board decided to spend $16,000 to build a crematorium and a chapel. That building has become a landmark, as it is considered one of the finest examples of the Art Deco architectural style on Vancouver Island.
Since the 1930s, the burial park has opened a new section every few years. The first sections followed the original design drafted before the burial park was developed. Later, as the burials moved farther north up the hillside, sections were added with an attempt to remain faithful to the initial vision. The only deviation from the original 1923 plan was the addition of sections devoted to cremated remains.
In the 1980s, the Columbarium Grove offered an above-ground memorial spot for cremated remains. That was followed in 1995 by a mausoleum, a building with above-ground interment spaces.
Since 2000, upright markers have been allowed in new sections. In 2008, the burial park opened the Woodlands, an area for “green” burials. The section is being left in a natural state, with no memorials or gravestones allowed. A common memorial at the entrance lists the people interred there. Trees and shrubs mark plots, and no pesticides are used in grounds maintenance.
The burial park has been expanded several times, taking in land to the north of the original farm. Today, it has about 135 acres, almost double its original size of 80 acres. So far, only 78 acres of the park’s 135 acre expanse have been developed. In 2017, two new designated areas of the park were developed for new burial sites. Plans call for about 25 acres to remain in a natural state forever.
The original concept – the combination of parkland and cemetery – has been retained at Royal Oak Burial Park. It has become a landmark in Greater Victoria, helping to keep our history and memories close at hand.
More information on the burial park will be found in the book Royal Oak Burial Park: A History and Guide, available at the cemetery office.