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The Time I Was Trapped in a Cemetery

Hey, did I ever tell you guys about the time I got trapped in a cemetery? Nope, because it was two nights ago.

I’ve been trying to keep up with the running thing lately, and one place I really enjoy running is the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It’s beautiful, really well maintained, and there are 14km of paved trails in there. It’s a designated Natural Historic Site of Canada, and there are statues, fountains, botanical gardens, and the “forest of memories.” Some parts of it are truly stunning, and it is the final resting place of many well-known Canadians, including William Lyon Mackenzie King and the Eaton’s.

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Eaton family crypt

So running in there is very interesting. Nearly my entire family on my mom’s side is buried in there as well, including my grandma and her parents, and their parents.

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Mom, this picture is for you!

Which was a weird coincidence that I discovered after I started running in there.

Anyway, to access the cemetery you can enter from three pedestrian entrances, or six gates connected to Yonge St, Mount Pleasant, or Bayview. To keep the hooligans out at night, these are all closed and padlocked, and the rest of the cemetery is surrounded by a tall, steel fence. With spikes.

I have run in there many times over the past year, and during the summer they usually close the gates around 9pm.

On Monday I hit up the cemetery a bit after 8pm and all was going well running-wise. Well, besides being a sweaty mess because it was insanely hot. After about half an hour I passed one of the gates on the furthest side of the cemetery from where I entered and I noticed it was locked. I thought it was weird, but I don’t ever use that gate so I thought it may have been unpopular and closed early. I kept running to the gate that I was planning on exiting from, while noting that I hadn’t seen anyone in a while and that was odd because usually the cemetery is busy with walkers/runners and cyclists. That gate too was locked. I ran to the gate I came in from. Locked. Uh oh.

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“What am I gonna do?” – I am saying this to myself in the voice we use to talk to my friend Dawn’s dog.

This was not a good sign. As much as I love the cemetery, it was starting to get dark and I did not want to spend the night in there (um, ghosts?!). But I figured I would get out somehow. I didn’t start really worrying until I came across a young couple who told me that if all the gates were locked we were probably stuck in there.

Awesome. Around that time, an older man on a bike rode past and said he was going to go check out the main gate and report back. We (the couple and I) followed The Biker on foot, and by the time we got to the main gate (locked), he had already hopped the fence with his bike and was on the other side on the street.

The fence was steel and taller than me. I can barely do a pushup with my knees down, so pulling myself up and over it would have been an impossible task with my lack of upper body strength. However, there was a brick pillar on the main gate, and a spot for a foothold on that pillar halfway up the fence. The only problem was at that spot there were giant steel spikes (to prevent people from climbing).

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It looked like this

The Biker on the other side of the fence pointed to the spot on the fence beside the pillar and yelled “HERE! You have to climb here!” and I didn’t see another option, so I stepped onto the pillar and began to pull myself over the fence. And here is how that went:

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And then The Biker appeared in front of me.

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I protested.

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I actually said this.

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So, I did.

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I managed to not impale myself or fall on my face, and I made it down safely. I don’t even think The Biker hurt his back too badly.

This all happened on a very busy street, so by this point a few people had gathered around (one other guy actually grabbed my hands at the last second to help me down), so that was not embarrassing at all. The couple was still inside the cemetery watching the whole thing, and when they saw my awkward fence jump, they decided to turn around and find somewhere easier to climb out. Kind of wish I stayed and went with them.

So what do you say to the complete stranger whose head you just wrapped your sweaty legs around? I didn’t know.

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Seemed appropriate. And then I walked home.

And that is the story of the time I got trapped in a cemetery.

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