A group from Orillia is taking steps to personalize the memories of those who were buried at the Huronia Regional Centre cemetery.

Some of their final resting spots are marked only by their registration number – hundreds more have been buried in unmarked graves or have had their plot markings removed. It’s upsetting for former HRC residents like Cindy Scott.

"I have friends buried here. They have no names on it, all they have are these numbers and that's wrong," she says.

Scott is part of group called Remember Every Name, which is sifting through a government registry in order to make sure every burial plot is marked with a name; something not covered in a $35 million settlement two years ago between the Ontario government and former residents and their families for decades of alleged abuse and neglect.

“What we really want is to honour every single person that is buried here by having their name on a stone,” says Marilyn Dolmage of Remember Every Name.

As part of that settlement the province did erect a sign for the cemetery, added fencing, created an online registry and has promised to maintain the grounds. However, this group of former residents and family members are asking the government to do more to preserve the memory of those buried here.

“Every grave that is known, we would like to be known and those who are not known, we would like some sort of memorial just in case the government does more research they can go back and add names.”

According to the province, nearly 1,400 men, women and children who died while they were residents at the centre for the developmentally disabled are buried at the cemetery.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services says it’s willing to explore options not included in the settlement to preserve the memory of people interred at the cemetery and is working closely with the remember every name group.

The government has also hired an independent archaeological consultant to review and validate the cemetery’s registry.

“Our hope is that we identify every single name that is known and that the documents are opened up for researchers in the future for if there is a better way of discovering who is buried here,” says Dolmage.

The province says it will continue to make improvements to the cemetery over the next year, which includes replacing every numbered stoned with that individuals’ name.