‘Skeleton Park’, the city park created out of a former cemetery

Real name: McBurney Park.

skelprk

McBurney Park is a small city park in Kingston, Ontario that is better known, and known by locals as “Skeleton Park”. Before 1827 it was known as the Garrison Burial Ground. Perhaps upwards of 10,000 bodies were buried there over the centuries. Records are sketchy. Its peak burial activity was during the 1830’s cholera epidemic when what was already a burial ground slash graveyard effectively became a largely unmarked public mass grave. Some bodies, perhaps 1,000, were exhumed and moved in the 1890s when the property was converted into a public park, but most remain buried, some not so deeply, and some remains occasionally resurface after heavy rain or during public works. The park is a favorite tourist destination for those interested in ghosts and the paranormal. It is also a loved community park in an established and vibrant residential area of downtown Kingston, nicely treed and landscaped with play and exercise facilities including a seasonal ice rink – for the enjoyment of the living.

Skeleton Park, by the Tragically Hip

Skeleton Park

In Skeleton Park
One fine summer evening
The sun teased the dark
Like the last strawberry
I could hear them on the breeze
Hear them moving through the trees
The ghosts of the Rideau Canal start to sing
And patting the grass you said
“Come sit next to me, be my sweetheart”
Over in Skeleton Park
Over in Skeleton Park

In Skeleton Park
I couldn’t see anything
A raven took the moon
And tucked it under her wing
I could hear them in the rain
Hear them dripping from the leaves
Widows of the Rideau Canal softly sing
And underneath the trees you said
“Please watch over me, you are my heart”
Over in Skeleton Park
Over in Skeleton Park
Hear them sing

In Skeleton Park
My dreams went a scattering
Multiplying light
For all there was to see
And then in the dawn I wept for all them ghosts
And their poor broken hearts
Over in Skeleton Park
Over in Skeleton Park
Meet me in Skeleton Park
Over in Skeleton Park
Hear them sing

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