Cremation is an alternative to the burial process and it is chosen by many people because of religious beliefs, the desire to preserve the environment or it was requested by the person who died. Cremation is also a less expensive option in comparison to a burial. The remains are placed in a container that is combustible and placed in a special furnace called a cremation chamber or a crematory where through intense heat is reduced to bone fragments that are then crushed and pulverized to resemble course sand. The cremated remains of an average adult body will weigh about 7-8 pounds.
Cremation is often misunderstood as an alternative to a funeral. In reality it is simply an alternative to burial or other forms of disposition.
Cremated remains can be scattered or buried, or they may be kept with the family in a decorative urn. There are many new and different ways to dispose of ashes today: cremated remains can be placed in an artificial coral reef in the ocean, they can be launched into space or sent up in helium balloons, or they can be spun into glass pieces of art or diamonds.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, a casket is not required; however, a fully combustible container is required. Crematoriums set requirements in their by-laws, but the standard is a container with a top, four sides and a solid bottom.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. In fact it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes. We always provide families the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one before transporting them to the crematorium.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
Laws vary by province. In Ontario:
- You may buy rights to place the cremated remains in a compartment in a columbarium, called a niche. A columbarium is a structure that houses a number of niches.
- You may scatter the cremated remains on private property with the consent of the land owner.
- You may also hire a funeral home ("provider") to scatter the cremated remains for you. Only a Provider is permitted to charge you for the service of scattering the cremated remains.
- You may also choose to scatter the cremated remains on unoccupied Crown lands and Crown lands covered by water. Please ask us for more information or visit the Ministry of Consumer Services’ website at www.ontario.ca/consumerservices and select “Cemeteries and Funerals”. If you wish to scatter cremated remains on municipally-owned lands, check municipal by-laws first.
If you choose to take or transport the cremated remains out of Ontario, you must follow the laws that apply in any other province or country.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.