Jewish Memorial Gardens: COVID-19 Update

Message on behalf of Jonathan Freedman, Leader of the COVID-19 Response Team and Jewish Memorial Gardens Past-Chair  

Under provincial legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have been instructed to have the removal transfer of the deceased within one hour of death, and within three hours of death at seniors’ residences. 

Normally at time of death, family members have some time to decide on options related to funeral services, and to decide which funeral home will handle the removal transfer of the deceased to the Chevra Kadisha chapel on Cuba Avenue. Because of the new shorter timelines, this is not possible. Decisions must be made quickly. 

If a death is imminent, please contact Jewish Memorial Gardens in advance at 613-688-3530 to discuss options, so at time of need, the deceased can be transferred immediately to comply with the legislation. 

We understand that this may be difficult to deal with, but if the family is not able to make these decisions quickly, the legislation permits the hospitals or seniors’ residences to choose the funeral home for them, possibly making choices that the family may not be happy with. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jonathan Freedman at 613-282-0882.


The Province of Ontario has released the following policy: 

“If you were planning to go to a cemetery on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 10, 2020, please remember that many cemeteries will be closed or have strict rules about visitation and gatherings.”

Provincial gathering restrictions during COVID-19 means that only five people are permitted to be together while practising physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet) apart.

Being private property, cemeteries have the right to control access and may limit numbers even further. They can also opt to close the cemetery to the public outright for safety concerns, as many cemeteries have already. The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) cannot order cemeteries to stay open to the public.

We know how difficult this is on families but unfortunately, these are necessary restrictions for everyone's safety.  We hope families can find alternate ways to remember and celebrate their loved ones, such as on the phone, or video calls and conferencing available online. 

Based on the above information, we will conditionally be reopening our Bank Street and Osgoode cemeteries starting Friday, May 8th, 2020.  The following conditions will apply.  


1. All visitors must wear gloves and masks.

2. The washrooms will remain closed.

3. Only 2 groups of five can be in one section of the cemetery at a time, and only if they are 6 metres (20 feet) apart.

4. If you arrive and see two groups in the section where you wish to visit, please wait in your car until the groups have left.

5. If there is cemetery staff working in the section, please stay 6 metres (20 feet) away at all times.

6. As there are restrictions on the numbers of people in each section, please be brief so others may enter.

7. We highly recommend those over the age of 65 or are vulnerable, stay home.

8. There is no entry to those in quarantine or suffering from COVID-19 like symptoms.

9. Visitation is at your own risk. Jewish Memorial Gardens (JMG) will not be liable for any sickness caused due to visitation.   

10. Jewish Memorial Gardens reserves the right to close the Bank Street and Osgoode cemeteries at any time for any health or safety concerns whatsoever.