Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Scarborough's 700 Year-Old Burial Mound


This is an ancient, sacred place. It's a hill in Scarborough, about 700 years old, with nearly 500 people buried inside it. It's near Lawrence & Bellamy, a few storeys high, looking out over bungalows for miles in all directions. It was made sometime around the years 1250-1300 as a burial mound by the Wendat (who the Europeans called the Huron) during a Feast of the Dead. The Feasts were held every time a village moved to a new location — every 10-15 years or so, at the end of the winter. Those who had been buried during that time were dug up for the 10-day Feast before having their bones cleaned and then re-buried in a communal grave like this one. Today, we call it Tabor Hill and it's one of the most remarkable places in Toronto.



 

A version of this story will appear in
The Toronto Book of the Dead
Coming September 2017

Pre-order from Amazon, Indigo, or your favourite bookseller

9 comments:

  1. The plaque reads that this is an Iroquois site. I see no mention of the Huron/Wendat?

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    1. Yeah, historically there's been a bit of confusing — possibly caused by the different between the terms "Iroquois" (specifically meaning the Haudenosaunee Six Nations) and "Iroquoian" (a broader group including the Wendat. The Six Nations were originally consulted as part of the commemoration at the time of the discovery in the 1950s. Today, it's recognized as a Wendat site. David Wencer covers it in more detail for Torontoist here: http://torontoist.com/2015/02/historicist-the-tabor-hill-ossuary/

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  2. Has anyone done a Paranormal Investigation of this site at night. It would be very interesting to do.

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    1. I'm sure some charlatans over time have tried, but as the whole paranormal thing is hogwash i doubt there is any reason for them to return.

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    2. From what little I have read on the subject, paranormal researchers find very little correlation between cemeteries and events that might qualify as paranormal. I'd imagine that would apply to burial mounds as well. That said, torontoghosts.org is worth a visit. Lots of stories of strange happenings throughout the GTA.

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  3. As part of an unauthorised and non scientific study a couple of my friends went there in I believe 1967 or 68. All was fine until about 2:00Am when they received a visitation from a very large plolice officer who moved their sorry stoned asses off the burial mound.

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  4. The Earth is the graveyard of our past.

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  5. This was just down the street from were we lived. My daughter and i decided to go up the hill to check out the rock. I did not know it was a burial ground. We sat there and it was so peaceful and nice to look out at the neighborhood. I got a little scared when i read the plake that people were buried there..and we left...but everytime i passes by i thought of how peaceful it looked.

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  6. This was just down the street from were we lived. My daughter and i decided to go up the hill to check out the rock. I did not know it was a burial ground. We sat there and it was so peaceful and nice to look out at the neighborhood. I got a little scared when i read the plake that people were buried there..and we left...but everytime i passes by i thought of how peaceful it looked.

    ReplyDelete