Musings – Cemeteries and Respect

Mar 15, 2017 @ 12:53

In the winter there isn’t much to give an idea that there are graves hidden, slumbering beneath the snow; and in the summer it is a peaceful place, a sheltered meadow with shade from the pines.

The St. Margaret Mary Cemetery has 10 marked graves visible, one without any information, but it has been estimated that the remains of 100 residents of Wawa (Michipicoten) have been buried there. The newest headstone belongs to Joseph Marchand, buried in August 1951. A couple of years later, the cemetery was ‘retired’ and burials began at Woodland Cemetery.

Existing headstones:

Albert Stallema Christianson 1897 04-Aug-47
Joseph Marchand 1884 01-Aug-51
John Elof Petersson 19-Jan-05 16-Jun-38
John was born in Sweden, the son of Mathilda Gustafson. He came to Canada about 1826 where he was a miner. He died during a canoe accident.
Joseph Osias 1889 04-May-05
 – A beloved husband and fathee
A. A. Ross est. 1840 07-Apr-38
Aged 98 years.
Fiabiano Santo 14-Mar-06
 – born in San Daniele del Fruili, Requiem Escent in Pace (May he rest in peace)
Leon Shulzik 1892 1945
Linda Sillanpaa ? 18-Jul-50
Frederick Snider April 9, 1882 29-Apr-35
unknown ? ?


Despite the cemetery’s decommissioning in 1954, the Municipality of Wawa maintains it. Municipal staff cut the grass and keep the rustic log fence painted in respect for those who rest there. The cemetery was featured as one of the ‘Signs of History’ Book in the late 1990’s.

Last night, Municipal Council was appraised of a problem. It seems that this year, there have been a number of snowmobilers passing through the cemetery, circling, possibly putting at risk the fragile headstones beneath the snow. There are two signs, quite visible identifying this as being a cemetery. One the ‘Sign of History’ and the other the cemetery name.

There isn’t just one snowmobile track going from one end to the other, these multiple tracks circle all around in the cemetery.

However, the circling inside of the cemetery is quite simply rude and disrespectful. You wouldn’t take your truck and drive through there.

You can see where the snowmobiles have jumped the snowbank and gone into the cemetery.


The municipality has recently installed snow fencing along side the road going back into Wawa Rent-All, and there are signs ‘No motorized vehicles”. All this is an additional cost to us, the taxpayer. There are signs already there identifying this as a cemetery. Are these snowmobilers illiterate Aas well as disrespectful?

If you see someone on a snowmachine in the cemetery, please feel free to contact the OPP. Wawa-news wouldn’t suggest confronting the individual(s), although I certainly would be tempted to clip them upside the head and say “Shame on you”.



Brenda Stockton
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