Poet Andrew Marvell wrote, “The grave’s a fine and private place / But none, I think, do there embrace.” And indeed, some people are repelled by the thought of hanging out in a graveyard.
But Fernhill Cemetery is much more than that.
Founded in east Saint John in 1848, Fernhill is the largest cemetery on the East Coast, rivalling in size both Toronto’s historic Mount Pleasant Cemetery, and rambling Mount Royal in Montreal — albeit with only 43,000 permanent residents, compared to the168,000 to 200,000 in those other urban burial grounds.
It remains one of the Saint John’s biggest, least-explored green spaces.
Two decades older than Canada itself, Fernhill is home to secret paths, quiet fountains, famous politicians, victims of tragic shipwrecks, and ordinary folks from all walks of life.
The CBC’s Julia Wright dug deep into its stories, and captured these photos.