4 options for the disposal of ashes

4 options for the disposal of ashes

By: Camille Baillargeon - Family Advisor

In Quebec, once you've chosen cremation and retrieved your loved one's urn, there are many options regarding the final resting place.

In this article, we'll explore the main options available so you can make an informed choice.

1- Burial in a cemetery

This is the most traditional option. It allows you to bring your loved ones together in a common place for the burial, to determine a place accessible to the public for grieving, and to leave a trace of its location thanks to the personalized monument placed on the ground. Outdoor urn burials are not possible in winter, when the ground is frozen. Plots in remote northern regions will have shorter burial periods due to longer winters.

It's important to note that traditional cemeteries generally do not accept botanical urns, which can damage neighboring plots when the tree or shrub roots spread.

2- Columbarium niche

Like burial in a cemetery, the columbarium acts as a public place of remembrance, accessible to all who wish to visit. If you choose the glass niche option, you'll have visual access to the urn at your convenience. Some families decide to decorate the niche according to the seasons or holidays, to better personalize the space dedicated to their loved ones. The urn can be placed in the niche during any season, so there's no need to wait for warmer weather before proceeding with the ceremony.

The outdoor columbarium is a great option if you want to offer a resting place in the midst of nature, while maintaining contact with the urn.

If the niche is the chosen alternative, it's important to take into account the space available, the size of the urn selected, and the presence of other urns in the niche. It should also be noted that most columbariums do not accept biodegradable urns, so wooden containers are out of the question.

3- At home

Whether it's for a few months, a few years, or on the long term, you always have the option of keeping the urn at home. You can then personalize the space in which the ashes will rest. Did your loved one particularly enjoy reading? Why not designate a small space in your library, along with its favorite novel? If your loved one enjoyed gardening, why not place the urn next to a window adjoining a green area? This alternative also lets you get creative with the décor, since space is not restricted as in a columbarium. You'll be able to create a visually pleasing tableau that fully represents your loved one.

4- Scattering in nature

Whether you wish to scatter the ashes in water, intertwined with the roots of a shrub or tree, or under the canopy of a cherished forest, you can opt to let the ashes gently rejoin nature, on private or public land. The Quebec government leaves it up to thefamily of the deceased to scatter the cinerary remains as they wish, as long as the chosen method does not harm the peace of others and is carried out with the utmost respect for the deceased*. Memoria offers a range of beautiful, nature-friendly choices for this purpose, which you can explore here.

Please note that the burial of an urn on private land, although legal, can bring you a lot of trouble. When the land is sold, you will be required to exhume the urn, since it may represent a hidden defect in the property, and contravene the purchase agreement. That's why we offer our families the option of scattering the urn for a worry-free disposal.

We invite you to call 514-277-7778 to make an appointment with a funeral consultant who will gently guide you toward the alternative best suited to your needs and the wishes of the deceased. We are here to listen and advise you.


*Section 71 of the Act respecting funeral activities in Québec: "No person may scatter human ashes in a place where they could constitute a nuisance or in a manner that does not respect the dignity of the deceased."

2016, c. 1, a.?71.