Cremated Remains FAQ

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Definitions

Cremation Container
A casket like container into which the deceased is placed for the purpose of cremation. The container eases the handling of the deceased for the crematorium operator and preserves the dignity of the deceased. Cremation containers are made of many different products ranging from simple cardboard to the most exotic types of wood.
Cremation Urn
A cremation urn is the vessel into which the cremated remains are placed after cremation. An urn can be a simple plastic box or it can be made of more ornate materials such as wood, bronze, brass or marble. It can even be made of biodegradable materials that join with the earth after time.

FAQs

What can I do with cremated remains?

Once a cremation is completed, the remains are put into a plastic bag and then into a plastic or cardboard container. This is how the crematorium provides them for the family. So what now? Some families keep the cremated remains in their homes, while others inter in a cemetery. Still others prefer to scatter either in a cemetery or in a personal location such as a cottage or other appropriate place.

Usually when a family decides to keep the cremated remains at home they will put them into an urn or other ornamental container to properly represent them in their home environment.

Interring in a cemetery could include burial of cremated remains in an urn garden or burial in an already existing grave. Most cemetery plots will accept up to three urns even when a casket has already been placed within the plot.

Placing urns in a niche of a columbarium is also becoming a more popular means of final disposition. A columbarium is a large wall and a niche is one of many small compartments in the wall. There are niches that have glass fronts to allow you to see the urn that has been placed inside. Columbarium come in many different varieties and can be either indoor, outdoor, or both.

There are also some cemeteries that have scattering gardens. A small fee must be paid to scatter the remains there. If you are not scattering in a cemetery, please choose a location very wisely. You want to find somewhere that you can associate with that person for many years to come.

Is scattering cremated remains illegal?

It is generally not illegal to scatter cremated remains in Ontario. Please check with your municipality to ensure there are no by-laws related to the scattering of cremated remains in your area, because a permit may be required. If you chose to scatter on private property, you must have permission from the property owner. Be wary of people who may tell you otherwise for the purposes of selling an urn or cemetery plot. If you are told that it is "illegal" to scatter cremated remains, please ask that person to show you the appropriate legislation.

Can I bring cremated remains on a plane?

Many people decide to take cremated remains on a plane with them. It may be so that the deceased can be brought home for their final resting place, or to fulfil their wishes of being buried or scattered in another country.

If you are going to be travelling on an airplane with cremated remains, it is very important that you have the Cremation Certificate. This document is provided when you receive the cremated remains from the crematorium or funeral director and should remain with the urn at all times. Inside there should also be a letter of contents stating that cremated remains are in fact in the urn. We have yet to hear of an incident where someone was turned away for having cremated remains with them. We will suggest however that the urn not be metal, so that it is easy to see its contents with an x-ray machine. Although they are heavy, cremated remains come in a container that is smaller than a shoe box, and can easily be placed in carry-on luggage. If shipping cremated remains through cargo, Air Canada states that they must be in an urn and wrapped securely.

How do I choose an urn?

Cremated remains come in a sealed plastic bag, which is placed inside a plastic or cardboard container. While this is suitable for burying or scattering remains, many families choose to purchase or find an urn. The options for an urn are endless, and when choosing one, you should try to keep it personal and reflective of the deceased's personality, passions, and lifestyle.

There are many types of urns available for purchase. They can be wood, stone, marble, or metal. Urns come in biodegradable forms as well and can be placed in water or earth. Some people chose not to purchase an urn and instead use something with sentimental value. We have seen a tea packet box used as an urn for a woman who loved to drink tea, a scotch canteen for a gentlemen who loved his scotch, and a garden gnome used for a woman who loved to garden. These were things that were important to the deceased, and the families found it significant and appropriate to have this be the final resting place.