Cremation Services in Calgary, Alberta

Cremation is an increasingly popular option for many people, serving as an alternative to burial. Reasons for preferring cremation vary. Some religions request it, while other people consider it more environmentally conscious. Some may simply like the idea of cremation more. During the cremation process, the remains are placed in a special furnace and reduced to resemble coarse sand. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burials or other forms of disposition.

Cremated remains can be scattered, buried, or they may be kept with the family in a decorative urn. There are many 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; they can be spun into glass pieces of art or diamonds.

Some religions welcome cremation, while others forbid it. The Catholic Church had previously banned cremation up until 1963, and burial remains the preferred form of disposition today. In other Christian denominations, cremation was historically discouraged but is now more widely accepted. In eastern religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, cremation is mandated. In Islam, it is strictly forbidden.  Orthodox Jews also forbid cremation, while other sects of Judaism support cremation; however, burial remains the preferred option. 

Cremation FAQ

How much does it cost for a cremation?
There are many options available when cremation takes places. Costs will vary depending on the type of service that is chosen. Cremation can occur following a funeral service, or following a visitation, prayer service or informal gathering. Cremation can also occur prior to a Memorial Service.

Click here for an informational video.

What is involved with cremation – can it be done right away?
Cremation is a form of final disposition for your loved one. There are many options for the final disposition of the urn that will hold the cremated remains.

With cremation there are legal requirements and documents that need to be completed. Once all of this documentation is in order the cremation will take place, usually within 2 – 5 days. The funeral home will look after these necessary requirements. Public or private services can be held before or after cremation.

Can I see my loved one before they are cremated?
Yes, at the time of the funeral arrangements, the family will be advised that a private or public viewing may be set for those wishing to pay respects before the cremation takes place.

Is it really necessary for myself, or others, to view the body of my loved one?
McInnis and Holloway has a policy that requires identification by a family member or friend prior to cremation. This ensures peace of mind for the family that it is indeed their loved one and the cremation container they have chosen.

Why do we have to provide clothing when he’s going to be cremated?
We ask that you bring in a full set of clothing, including undergarments, as this provides dignity to your loved one.

Do we need to have embalming if it is cremation?
Embalming is not required by law. Even though one chooses cremation, often families choose to view or have the body present at services prior to cremation and in this case we would recommend embalming the body.

Can I get a cremation without a service of any kind?
Yes, you can have a cremation take place and choose not to have a funeral or memorial service.

Click here for an informational video.

We are thinking of cremation. Can we have the casket present at the service?
For all services the casket may be present, allowing the opportunity for family and friends to view if they wish.

Why is it necessary to purchase a cremation container AND an urn?
The Alberta Funeral Service Regulatory Board requires that your loved one be placed in a suitable enclosed container in order to be placed into the crematorium. This is done out of respect for the deceased as well as for safety of the crematorium operator.

It is also very important to select a suitable urn where the cremated remains can be safely held. You may want to put some thought into where the urn will be interred. We have many options available for you.

Click here for an informational video.

Do I have to get the cremated remains?
Yes, Funeral Homes are not a cemetery for the final disposition of an URN.

The recommended method of disposition is permanent placement of the cremated remains in a cemetery or columbarium. This allows families an opportunity to visit the site as the years go by, to remember and reflect. An Urn can also be kept at home or scattered in a cemetery scattering garden.

Cremated remains may not be scattered or otherwise disposed of in any public area or on private property without permission from the owner of the property. The Cemetery Act states: If the remains of a cremated body are not claimed within five years from the date of cremation and if the owner of the crematory/funeral home has been unable to arrange for disposition by a responsible relative of the deceased, the crematorium/funeral home may bury the remains at their discretion.

I don’t want the “ashes”, what am I supposed to do with them? Can’t you keep them or throw them away?
The “ashes” or cremated remains are human remains so the funeral home will not permanently keep them or throw them away. The funeral home can arrange for short term safekeeping until the family has decided on the final disposition.

There are many options to choose from when deciding final disposition for cremated remains. During funeral arrangements the Funeral Director can suggest several options to help with your decision.

Is it legal to scatter ashes?
If you want to scatter on private property, make sure you have the owner’s permission. Also be aware that it is illegal to scatter cremated remains in a water way that is located in a National Park.

Some cemeteries have scattering gardens as well.

We have a brochure regarding scattering and we suggest that you read through it before you make your final decision.

Click here for an informational video.

I have read that ashes can be made into diamonds. Is that true?
If this is the family’s desire, we can assist you in making this timeless keepsake of your loved one. A portion of cremated remains will be required to have the diamond made.

There are also other jewelry options available that can hold cremated remains or a lock of hair.

What happens to the gold in the teeth during cremation?
Any gold from dental work or jewelry placed on your loved one for cremation melts during the cremation process and cannot be recovered.

What is cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body 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?

The Alberta Funeral Service Regulatory Board requires that your loved one be placed in a suitable enclosed container in order to be placed into the crematorium. This is done out of respect for the deceased as well as for safety of the crematorium operator.

Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. It is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, most crematories allow immediate family members to view the deceased prior to cremation.

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 ask for this as part of their funeral custom.

Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service.  Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. Including cremated remains as a part of the funeral provides a focal point for the service.

What can be done with the cremated remains?
While laws vary from province to province, for the most part, remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or in a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered.

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 colour. The remains of an average sized adult usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.