Cremation Services

Cremation is an increasingly popular option for many people and serves as an alternative to burial. The reasons for preferring cremation vary. For some, it may be a religious choice, while for others, it may be considered more environmentally conscious. Some people may simply like the idea of cremation more. During cremation, 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. 

Cremation FAQ

What is cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body using high heat and flame.  It is the transition to cremated remains, resembling coarse sand. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service. 

Is a casket needed for cremation?

Yes. In British Columbia, a cremation casket or container is required for everyone choosing cremation. Options for this cremation casket are wood and cardboard.

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

No. Embalming is not required. A few scenarios where embalming would be necessary are if the family is desiring a public viewing with an open casket, if they would like their loved one’s appearance enhanced for a private, family viewing, or if the deceased is going to be transported by air. 

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Yes. If there are only a few immediate family members who wish to say goodbye prior to cremation or burial, embalming is not required. However, if that number is greater than a few, then by law, embalming must be done. This is a conversation that will happen when you sit with the funeral director. 

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes. Some crematoriums will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber.  Some religions 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?

There are many options for the disposition of cremated remains and can be as unique as each person. They may be buried in a cemetery plot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium niche, kept in a decorative urn at home, placed in mini urns or keepsake jewellery, scattered with permission from a landowner, spun into decorative glass pieces or diamonds.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

Each crematorium will have their own system in place to ensure that continuity of identity is followed. We hold very highly the knowledge and handling of each individual while in our care. At Hamres, we have many procedures in place to follow your loved one from the time they enter into our care and until they are safely back in yours.

How long does the actual cremation take?

The length of time required for a cremation is dependent on bone structure of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation takes between 2 and 3 hours. The complete process from start to finish; however is approximately 6-8 hours which includes a cooling and processing time.

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 weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required by law.  If there is going to be a memorial service, or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery, an urn mat be desired. Some cemeteries do have regulations about urn types and sizes. Some families have requested that their remains be placed in a special box, coffee tin, tea pot, etc. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.