Memorial Services are a Canadian owned and based corporate funeral company
established in 1947, and first listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in
1973. Their Head Office is based in Toronto, and they own 41 cemeteries,
26 crematoria, 5 reception centres located on cemetery premises, and 82
funeral homes across the provinces of Canada.
to their company web site, they serve over 18,000 Canadian families a year,
making their share of the ‘death business’ in Canada extremely significant,
and marking them as an industry leader. However, as a corporate funeral
business that do not openly trade under a national ‘brand’, and the Arbor
Memorials name is largely reserved for their corporate site http://www.arbormemorial.com/
public will more likely know Arbor Memorials under the guise of the many
localised funeral homes, crematoria and cemeteries they own across Canada.
In each province they are in, their funeral homes are titled with a local
or family name, and generic names such as ‘West Lawn’, ‘Mountain View’,
‘Chapel Lawn’, ‘Valley View’ and ‘Evergreen’ represent an Arbor location.
national corporate company trading on the stock exchange operates at a
local level under the mask of branch names such as ‘McDougall & Brown
Funeral Home’. Surely this does not clearly identify to the general
public that this family-sounding local funeral home is part of a national
Memorials proudly promotes its “Canadian Owned and Operated” strap-line,
a too similar sounding claim to being “Family Owned and Operated”, which
eludes the unsuspecting public. Regulatory industry trade bodies
have called for transparency within the death industry, to ensure that
the public are clear about whom they are dealing with, but as of yet most
funeral corporations hide behind the image of a local, family firm.
Although a wealth of information is now readily available on the Internet
for a consumer to access at a time of bereavement, most people when dealing
with their local funeral home such as ‘McDougall & Brown Funeral Home’,
believe they are dealing with a local Mom and Pop business. The choice
is simple - if you could purchase all you needed from a local, family-owned
grocery store for less money…..would you ever electively choose to give
your money to Walmart? This is the mythology that underpins the corporate
and funerals are big business. The ‘death industry’ ranks as one
of the top five industries in most countries, and is an industry that has
been subject to capitalism on a grand scale. A funeral is one of
the largest purchases that an average consumer makes within their lifetime,
behind a house, wedding and car. Many people believe they are spending
their money with a trusted local firm, when in reality they are merely
making another corporate purchase.
a time of economic recession Arbor Memorial Services Inc. shares continue
to prosper well on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the price of dying continues
to rise in line with capitalist inflation.