Cemetery notes and/or description: City of Stratford
Community Services Department Cemetery Division 4 Avondale Avenue Stratford, Ontario N5A 6M4
519-271-0250 Ext. 246.
Avondale Cemetery, owned by the City of Stratford, is the largest cemetery in Perth County. It currently covers about 68 acres (27.5 hectares) and has about 36,000 interments.
The original portion (Blocks A - W) was opened in 1871 and is located on the north bank of the Avon River, southwest of the city centre. In 1883, the Roman Catholic church opened a portion (12 sections with Saints names) for their cemetery expansion, but these are now also city-owned. Further expansion since the early 1900s has made available additional sections west of the older parts (Ranges 1 - 25D). A map is available for download at official cemetery page at http://www.stratfordcanada.ca/en/livehere/cemetery.asp .
Avondale has a park-like setting, with many trees, flower-beds, well-maintained grounds, and paved but narrow roadways. Some sections are on steep inclines. There is access to the T.J. Dolan Natural Area across the river. A Walking Tour guide (pdf format) is available at http://www.perthcounty.ca/stratford_perth_archives, which mentions many prominent Stratford and area persons.
Breakdown Blocks A - W, 20 ac (8 ha) - about 13,000 interments (est. 95% capacity) Catholic sections with Saints names, 15 ac (6 ha) - about 5,000 interments (est. 70% capacity) Ranges 1 - 25D, 33 ac (13.5 ha) - about 15,000 interments (est. 60% capacity) Another 40 acres (16 hectares), reaching to O'Loane Ave. on the west, are currently (2014) undeveloped. Small sections can have about 250 interments, the large about 900.
There also several mausoleums, family crypts and columbariums in the cemetery (about 1600 interments). The grave monuments are also diverse: slabs, obelisks, crosses, flat markers, rocks, niches, and others. Not all graves are marked.
Tips for finding a grave at Avondale 1. Use the surname search at http://www.stratfordcanada.ca/en/livehere/cemetery.asp. Results include first and last name as used in the cemetery records, interment date and grave location.
2. Use the cemetery map to locate the referenced section. Grave numbers generally run sequentially along east-west rows, starting from the northeast, but some sections have rows that run north-south. Notes: Some of the small areas named in the cemetery database are not named on the map. The Avondale Cemetery Office (contact information on search page) can help with grave location, but does not seem to have accessible records as to how or if a grave was marked.
3. If not sure of the exact surname spelling or the cemetery, use the OFCA database at http://ocfa.islandnet.com/ocfa-search.php (This database was compiled from transcription books which date from the mid-1990s, and includes referenced names as well as the principals interred in a cemetery, but no dates. There are 25,000 names in this database for Avondale Cemetery).
The Avondale Cemetery transcriptions are available at the Stratford Archives (http://www.perthcounty.ca/stratford_perth_archives) or through the Perth Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (http://perthcountyogs.org).