Wall-Custance Memorial Forest

photo of the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest sign and path to the 2020 sapling

Please go directly to Wall-Custance to make your gift. Tax receipts will still be provided by the University of Guelph.

The Memorial Forest is a partnership began in 1989 with the Wall-Custance Funeral Home and Chapel in Guelph. For each donation to the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest Program, a tree or shrub is planted in the Memorial Forest using 16 species of native trees and 10 species of native shrubs as part of reforestation efforts across The Arboretum. These forested areas serve as windbreaks, screening, wildlife corridors and habitat for many species. Ten percent of each donation to the Memorial Forest program is added to The Arboretum Endowment Fund to support development and maintenance.  

Individual names are listed at the Wall-Custance Funeral Home & Chapel website and on memorial plaques at the dedication grove. Since 1989, over 18,000 trees and shrubs have been planted in memory of loved ones. For more information please visit the Wall-Custance website or call the Wall-Custance Funeral Home & Chapel at (519) 822-0051, or The Arboretum at (519) 824-4120 ext. 52113.

The Wall-Custance Memorial Forest program has shifted and changed over time, as the ways we grieve and remember our loved ones has changed. The Memorial Forest tree dedication has shifted from a small event with tea and cookies, to a massive community ceremony with thousands of people converging, to video remembrance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023, with input from families and participants, a day-long self-guided Memorial Forest “open house day” was created to increase flexibility. We invite people to come and go on their own time. The day includes a quiet ceremonial opening and closing, a few musical moments, and an invitation to make a walking remembrance through the forest trail at your convenience. We know this commemoration will resonate and be an appropriate way to honour loved ones and support individual and families’ varied grieving and remembrance journeys.

The Memorial Forest is open every day of the year, from dawn to dusk. Please visit as you wish.



Videos from Past Years' Memorial Events

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we changed the tree dedication ceremony by collaborating to create video services to continue the important tradition of remembrance. 

The 2022 dedication video service presents a meaningful story, for children as well as adults, as well as messages on grief and healing, released in late September. This year’s tree was a Bur oak (Quercus – macrocarpa).

Our 2021 and 2020 videos share messages from Wall-Custance Funeral Home and Chapel and The Arboretum, as well as the stories of the meaning of the Memorial Forest and ecological restorations along the Boardwalk Trail. Join us on a virtual walk through the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest grove and trail, and visit the Bur oak (Quercus – macrocarpa) planted as the 2021 dedication tree, the Elm (Ulmus americana) for the 2020 tree, and the plantings from previous years in the videos below.

In 2020, we changed the tree dedication ceremony. To continue the important tradition of remembrance and new growth, The Arboretum and the Wall-Custance Funeral Home and Chapel collaborated to create a video documenting the planting of the tree: an Elm (Ulmus americana) sapling from our Elm Recovery Project. Families, friends, and loved ones can watch the journey of the sapling from our Henry Kock Propagation Centre to its new home in the Memorial Forest. Watch the 2020 video below: