WINDSOR, ONT. -- A Chatham-Kent funeral home is bringing new life into old cemeteries.

As times change, cemetery use at least in Ontario appears to be on the decline, so Life Transitions is bringing local cemeteries to people remotely.

“I thought, what a great idea because people ask questions all the time about that cemetery they’ve driven by their whole life or that one they were at,” said James MacNeil owner of Life Transitions.

The burial and cremation company launched a 15-part online series showcasing some select cemeteries scattered throughout Chatham-Kent.

“They stood there silently during the wars, during the pandemics, during the trends, during the ups and downs they remain on duty so to speak,” said MacNeil.

According to the Chatham-Kent website, the municipality has 65 cemeteries, including 31 abandoned, 28 inactive and six active, covering 300 acres.

“Many of them are shifting with the culture, you’re seeing smaller rural cemeteries accommodating more cremation burials,” MacNeil said.

MacNeil launched Life Transitions with his wife nearly five years ago, an alternative funeral service without the physical funeral home feel.

“Right from the very beginning we knew that we wanted to be available to people remotely or online or we would come to your home,” he said.

MacNeil said when he got in the industry 20 years ago, the Ontario cremation rate was around 38 per cent.

“Here we are in 2020, it’s a little bit of guess work but we’re probably teetering towards 75, perhaps even 80 per cent relation in Ontario,” he said.

According to the Cremation Association of North America, the cremation rate in Canada has risen from 48 per cent 20 years ago, to 72 per cent in 2018 and will continue a “rapid growth period” over the next several years.

“I think we’re always going to have cemeteries, whether they’re more historic than active, but, it’s hard to say what the future is going to hold,” MacNeil said. “But they will continue to be a part of our culture long after we’re gone I would think.”