selecting an urn

How to Choose an Urn — with Arbor Memorial

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As more and more Canadians opt for cremation, it’s important to share the wide variety of urn options that allow you and your family to make a personalized choice. Arbor offers urns from traditional bronze to biodegradable alternatives that will best honour your values and legacy.

When choosing an urn, the first choice is the material.

Our most popular materials are different types of wood. These include cherry, mahogany, maple, oak, pecan, and hardwood. Each wood offers a different finish, price, and even spiritual or religious significance for some. Ultimately, your choice comes down to personal preference.

Next are the metal options. Bronze, copper, brass, and steel each offer their own unique looks. These are among the most durable of urn options at Arbor.

Marble is another durable and elegant choice, along with acrylic plastic and glass. Of course, glass is among the most fragile of choices, but depending on where the urn is stored (such as an indoor glass front niche) it can be a beautiful and safe choice.

Biodegradable cotton is the final material for modern urns at Arbor. These urns are growing in popularity for people who care deeply about the environment and leaving a legacy of stewardship for the earth. In addition, biodegradable urns are an excellent choice for ground burials, water burials and scattering.

See some examples of different urn materials

Shape is the second choice to make when looking at urns.

Personal preference plays a leading role in this decision, and it’s also an important consideration if the urn will be visible, such as in the home or a glass-front niche at one of our columbaria. 

In fact, in addition to traditional squares, rectangles, and vases, some materials can even be crafted into home decor. For example, wood, acrylic, or glass can be shaped like animals such as horses or dolphins, or include sphere toppers and other decorative elements. 

The third choice is the finish.

For some materials, this is easy - marble, acrylic, and cotton each have their own consistent finishes. For metals, you can choose an urn with a patina although a brushed finish is the most common. Wood finishes vary between matte and gloss.

The most complex choices are always around personalization.

80% of families who choose an urn at Arbor will have fit personalized. Engraving the person’s name or a quote is a popular choice. The most common alternative to engraving the urn itself is to fasten a bronze plate to the urn. Appliques, like corners or medallions, can also be fastened to the urn. You can also etch images or designs onto urns, depending on the material.

Another option is to choose miniature keepsake urns or jewellery to divide the cremated remains between family members. Jewellery and brass are the most popular keepsake urns, but there are many selections made from other materials as well.

The final choice is where to keep the urn.

In addition to bringing home the urn, there are both indoor and outdoor options for final places of rest at Arbor.

Typically, our indoor glass-front niches are the most popular because they’re incredibly customizable. Of course, if you’ve chosen an urn for its beauty, it can be seen and appreciated in a glass-front niche. However, what makes this option truly special is that you can also display photos and meaningful keepsakes there, such as a beloved baseball. A glass-front niche is a beautiful, long-lasting memorial to a life well-lived. There are also many outdoor cremation gardens and niche options as well.

Metal Urns

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Wood Urns

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Biodegradable Urns

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Marble Urns

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Cloisonne  Urns

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Memento Chests

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