About cremation

Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or mausoleum entombment: it does not limit your choice of funeral wishes in any significant manner. Should you choose cremation, you’ll have the same options for memorialization. Cremation can take place before or after the funeral service. In this section, we’ve answered the most common questions we’re asked about cremation. If you require further information, please contact us at your convenience and we would be pleased to discuss options which may be suitable in this regard.

What is cremation?

Cremation is a process of reducing the body to bone fragments by applying intense heat for a period of two to three hours. The cremated remains, which are commonly referred to as “ashes,” are removed from the cremation chamber or retort. They’re then processed into finer fragments and placed in a temporary container which may be made of plastic, wood or cardboard. The ashes typically weigh between three and six pounds. An urn may be selected at the funeral home for the final disposition of the cremated remains and the funeral home staff will carefully transfer the cremated remains.

Where and when does cremation take place?

Cremations occur at a crematorium in a special furnace called a cremation chamber or retort. Ontario regulations allow only one cremation at a time and crematorium sites are regulated by the Ontario government and applicable Act.

Do we need to buy a casket?

Ontario’s law requires that at a minimum, the deceased must be placed into a rigid combustible container which is called a casket. Many options of caskets are available to you through the funeral home, including the use of a “ceremonial casket” — commonly called a “rental casket” — which permits the option of a casket for visitation and services and the use of the insert only for final disposition by cremation. This may provide a less expensive alternative to the outright purchase of a larger or more ornate casket.

Can we place personal mementos in the casket prior to cremation?

Many personal items may be placed in the casket; however, some items may need to be removed prior to the cremation process. All items left in the casket will be destroyed during the cremation. Our funeral directors can advise you on what items may stay and what items must be removed from the casket.

Do we need to have a funeral if we select cremation?

Cremation does not limit the type of funeral service which you may choose. The same options that apply to earth burial are generally available with cremation. These choices include casket type, location of the service and visitation, music selection, open casket, and the display of personal mementos.

Some families elect to have a complete service at the funeral home or place of worship, while others prefer to have a procession to the crematorium, similar to that often done to the cemetery for an earth burial. However, you should be aware that the actual cremation may not take place upon arrival. Some families prefer to arrange for a “witnessing” of the cremation at a designated date and time, and the funeral director will assist in these arrangements for you.

Is embalming required?

Embalming is not mandatory; however, some circumstances may require that it be performed and, in limited cases, it may be mandated by regulation. If a public or extended family period of visitation is requested and certainly with an open casket prior to the service, embalming is highly recommended not only for safety and sanitation reasons but also to preserve and present a more usual visual semblance of the deceased over a period of time.

What is an urn?

An urn is a container designed to hold the cremated remains permanently. It may be constructed from a variety of materials such as wood, bronze, copper, steel, pewter, granite, marble, clay pottery or fine porcelain. We have a large selection of urns available designed to reflect the lifestyle of an individual. Urns may also be personalized by engraving and are available in a variety of sizes to allow for companion inurnments or smaller to allow more than one member of the family to have a portion of the cremated remains in a keepsake urn, locket, or jewellery selection.

What can we do with the cremated remains?


As discussed previously, the cremated remains may be buried in an existing cemetery plot or a new plot may be purchased. Each cemetery may have varying regulations regarding the number of urns which may be interred in various plots available for the purpose. Ferguson Funeral Home will be familiar with most of the local cemetery requirements or will access that information on your behalf if requested.


The urn may be placed in a niche in an above-ground structure called a columbarium.


Some cemeteries have scattering areas on their property. Cremated remains may be scattered on private or public property if authorization is obtained. Properties may be bought and sold so it is important to know that once the scattering takes place, the cremated remains are irretrievable. Scattering on either public or private property may offend some people, and there may be laws prohibiting such action in certain locales.


You may wish for the cremated remains to be shipped to another country. We can look after these arrangements for you. You may also be permitted to take the cremated remains yourself to another country. Check with us first, and we can assist you to obtain any additional documentation, certificates or affidavits that may be required. Certain carriers, especially airlines, will have specific regulations or policies to which one must adhere if transporting “ashes” personally. Ferguson Funeral Home endeavours to provide its client families with the most recent information available regarding such transporting requirements.


Some families prefer to receive and hold the ashes in an urn in their home either for a shorter period of time (until a selection of final disposition, or date and time, is determined) or for permanent safekeeping. As we evolve into a very mobile society and relocation of family from the usual or family residence is common, this option may be more suitable now. A number of keepsake urns are available at the funeral home and a selection of various qualities of memorial jewellery may be special ordered to reflect and commemorate the deceased’s lifestyle.

Is cremation less expensive than burial?

Typically, a direct disposition by cremation may be less expensive than a casketed earth burial. A great deal depends upon which cemetery and related services might be selected. The cremation cost may be less expensive than the purchase of a cemetery plot. However, one needs to consider the costs associated with the possible interment or inurnment of the “ashes” after cremation. There are also coroner fees to authorize the cremation, an urn to purchase, and transportation costs to and from the crematorium, as well as to possibly deliver the urn to its final destination.

One should identify exactly what services are being excluded by the cremation service, as many service fees may be very similar regardless of whether a casket or an urn has been selected. Service costs and fees at the funeral home for like services will be the same regardless of the mode of disposition. Similarly, disbursements for either cremation or burial will be very similar when considering a memorial service — like flowers, notices, honoraria and registration fees which are not dependent upon whether cremation or casketed burial is selected

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