Our History

From the opening of our first cemetery in London, Ontario in 1947, Arbor Memorial has had a strong sense of purpose. In a tranquil parkland setting, we offered Canadians of all backgrounds caring, professional support for their end-of-life needs. As our business grew in the years that followed, ultimately expanding to include funeral homes, we maintained our commitment to the highest standards of quality and attentive personal service.

Image of mother & daughter walking in the forest

1947

Cemetery property in the early days of the company that would become Arbor Memorial Inc.
1947

The business that will become Arbor is founded. Establishing a national network of park-like cemeteries with memorials set flush to the ground, the company promotes the pre-arrangement of burial products and services.

1947

Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens opens in London, Ontario, launching future Arbor Chairman Daniel J. (“Dan”) Scanlan on a sales career that will span more than 60 years.

1960

1960

The company continues cemetery expansion across Canada through the 1950s and 1960s.

1970

1973

On August 31, Canadian Memorial Services Limited becomes a public company trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company evolves through several name changes into Arbor Memorial Services Inc. (ticker symbol: ABO.A/ABO.B).

Image of Glendale Mausoleum
1976

Arbor’s original mausoleum opens at Glendale Memorial Gardens in Toronto.

1978

Arbor’s first crematorium is built at Rideau Memorial Gardens in Montréal. More soon follow.

1980

Memorial Gardens Canada Logo
1981

Head office moves to its current location at 2 Jane Street in Toronto.

Image of Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens
1983

Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Arbor’s first on-site funeral home, opens in Winnipeg, providing a complete range of end-of-life products and services at one facility. The company also introduces pre-need funeral arrangements.

Image of Arbor Award of Excellence
1983

The Arbor Award of Excellence is introduced for employees who provide exemplary customer service.

1984

Desjardins Funeral Home in Winnipeg becomes Arbor’s first funeral home acquisition.

1985

Operations expand outside Canada to Florida. (The company subsequently divests of its U.S. properties by 1994.)

1987

Trillium Funeral Service Corporation is founded, enabling Arbor to own and operate funeral homes in Ontario.

1990

Image of Burlington Memorial
1990

Upright memorials are introduced at some cemeteries to meet growing demand.

1991

Two Arbor cemeteries in Calgary dedicate sections for use by the Roman Catholic Church. (An Ontario cemetery makes a similar arrangement in 2000.)

1993

Annual revenue exceeds $100 million.

1997

Ontario’s first on-site memorial chapel and reception centre opens at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in London.

1998

Highland Hills Memorial Gardens, specifically developed to reflect Canada’s multicultural faiths and traditions, opens in Stouffville, Ontario.

Image of Glenwood Memorial Gardens
1999

Arbor’s first combination funeral home and cemetery sales office designed to create synergies that enhance customer service, opens at Glenwood Memorial Gardens in Edmonton. 

2000

Image of Highland Funeral Home
2000

Highland Funeral Home, Arbor’s first off-site facility, opens in Toronto and goes on to become the company’s most profitable funeral home.

2001

The Arbor website is officially launched: arbormemorial.com

2002

Arbor introduces The Director, a computer-based program offering customers a more streamlined, interactive funeral arrangement process.

2002

Total company assets exceed $1 billion.

Image of Kelly Funeral Home
2005

Kelly Funeral Homes in Ottawa becomes the largest acquisition in Arbor history.

Arbor Alliances logo
2009

The newly launched Arbor Alliance Program enables affiliated companies, associations and groups to offer their employees or members pre-arranged cemetery and funeral products and services.

2010

2010

Dan Scanlan is named Chairman Emeritus of Arbor; David Scanlan becomes Chairman of the Board.

2010

Arbor introduces The Arranger, a computer-based presentation for pre-need and at-need cemetery sales.

2011

The Arbor Memorial Foundation becomes Arbor’s primary vehicle for donating to charities and supporting local communities.

PlanToday.ca logo
2011

Arbor launches plantoday.ca, a web-based service that provides free guidance on planning end-of-life arrangements.

2011

One Arbor is launched as a key strategic goal for the company.

2012

Arbor Memorial Services Inc. exits the Toronto Stock Exchange valued at approximately $375 million and becomes a private company.

Photo of Daniel J. Scanlan Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Arbor Memorial
2014

Passing of Daniel J. Scanlan, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Arbor on April 26, 2014.

2015