Regina man thrilled to resume beloved tours of historic cemetery

After years of roadblocks, local history buff Kenton De Jong is set to resume his graveyard tours, taking residents on a unique journey through Regina’s past.

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After years of roadblocks, local history buff Kenton De Jong is set to resume his graveyard tours, taking residents on a unique journey through Regina’s past.

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“I’m a bit worried about the weather, it’s been a while, but other than that, I’m really excited to do it again after all these years,” De Jong said in an interview on Friday, hours before his premiere was due to start. summer tour. to start.

De Jong has booked 90 minutes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights this weekend, aiming to squeeze in the visit during the final two hours that the cemetery is open. Potentially a little rusty after all this time, he hopes to be able to fit everything.

“It’s one of those places that has it all. It has the cyclone…the Regina riots, it has stories of past pandemics of past recessions and depressions,” he said. “Whatever is on people’s minds right now, it’s all there. It’s like an open book.

Through a partnership with Heritage Regina, De Jong organized tours of Regina Cemetery, located on the corner of 4th Avenue and Broad Street, in 2017. But he ran into speed bumps when he tried to escape from himself.

Over the past five years, he had been given various reasons why he couldn’t organize the tours. First, he couldn’t live without insurance, so he partnered with Heritage Regina and used theirs. Then, after starting his own business, he ran into obstacles getting insurance when the cemetery didn’t provide him with the proper forms. He was also told at one point that only Heritage Regina was authorized to hold visits to the cemetery.

» to a written contract between the City and the person » would continue to create barriers.

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After making their case and gaining support from council members, the executive committee asked the administration to come back with alternative wording in the bylaw that would address De Jong’s concerns and at a subsequent meeting of the city council, he voted to remove this section of the regulations altogether.

At the time, the administration said it was developing a cemetery visitation and event policy to support events and visitation at city cemeteries, while respecting planned funerals and visiting families in grief.

The changes ushered in a new era of cemetery tours, with ticket costs donated to the City of Regina to help repair headstones.

“I love sharing these stories because it’s easy to relate to them and process them and come away with an idea of ​​what to expect in the future,” De Jong said, adding that he there were a few new elements in the new tours. . “I just think it’s an amazing place and I’m excited to share it with everyone. »

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Teachers who want to learn for educational purposes can get free tickets. For tour dates and to purchase tickets, visit reginacemeterytours.ca.

The site is also home to an online game developed by De Jong where players, stuck in purgatory, can take their own virtual tour of the cemetery, collecting flames to unlock story-rich tombstones.

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