Funeral home comes to Saanich

McCall Gardens locates next to Royal Oak Burial Park

Craig McCall Williams and Trevor McCall are fourth generation members of the McCall Bros. funeral service. The cousins

As teenagers, Trevor McCall and his older cousin Craig McCall Williams held a different type of summer job, in a different kind of business, the funeral business.

“We always knew about the business and were familiar with it, but it was just a summer thing,” Craig says.

Running flowers, setting chairs and driving the funeral car, they got a feel for the family business their great-great-grandfather David and his brother James started in 1921.

Four generations in, the McCall boys are still at it. As certified funeral directors Trevor, 36, and Craig, 40, are bringing the business into a new direction with the completion of the 15,000 square-foot McCall Gardens next to Royal Oak Burial Park on Falaise Drive. They work with Trevor’s dad David (Craig’s uncle), the third generation-owner. Together they’ve helped oversee the three-year process and 18-month construction of the new building, which opened on Aug. 2. The company will also retain its original site at 240 Johnson St.

The cousins credit David’s shrewd decision to purchase the property next door to the Royal Oak Burial Park in 1998, where the McCalls built the Sequoia Gardens in 1998. During recent construction the Sequoia Gardens building was renovated and is now connected as a whole to the McCall Gardens.

“We’re really proud of our big family, a close-knit family that holidays together when we can,” Trevor said. “We’re not forgetting where we came from.”

The family pride beams almost as bright as the daylight filling the McCall Garden’s main hall through ceiling-high windows, bouncing off walls of exposed cherry and fir. It’s bright, with a West Coast contemporary style that is not seen in other funeral homes.

Before the decided to build in Saanich, the business did four months of local research.

“It was about three years ago we decided to either build a new facility here at Royal Oak or renovate the downtown site, so we really wanted to know what people wanted if we were going to [Saanich],” Trevor said.

With pressures coming from corporate competition, the building was in part born out of the family’s desire to move to connect deeper with the community.

“We’ve been approached to sell, but we’re proud to be family owned and proud to have a think local mindset,” said Trevor.

Trevor, who earned a scholarship with Iona College in New York after a successful junior hockey career with the Victoria Salsa (Grizzlies), came back to the funeral business about seven years ago. Craig was already here, having joined full time in 1999.

“My wife and I came back from New York and committed to being here for two years,” Trevor said of his wife Erin of New York. “By the end of it, there was no question we were staying.”

Before Trevor arrived, Craig had already completed his funeral director apprenticeship. With four kids between them, Craig with a son, 10, and a daughter, 7, and Trevor with two boys, aged one and four, it’s the makings of a fifth generation of McCalls.

“From the start there was never any pressure to go into the family business,” Craig said. “After I came back  [as an adult] I fell in love with it, the hugs, the people we work with and the thanks we get, and when I was offered to work full time I took it.”

The name Sequoia Gardens came from the series of large sequoias on the Royal Oak property. In Saanich fashion, the new facility was designed around three of the biggest sequoias. It was designed by local architect Peter de Hoog, and built by Saanich’s Durwest Construction.

“We did all the plans with the preservation and celebration of the sequoias in mind,” Trevor said.

Before constructing the facility, the company hired a local research company that ran focus groups and surveyed more than 400 Greater Victorians. It took four months, and was well worth the effort, Craig said.

Being next to the non-profit Royal Oak Burial Park is part of the draw. Like the First Memorial Funeral Services, which is just a few hundred metres up Falaise Drive, McCall’s has a close relationship with the burial park.


McCall’s new hall can host up to 300 people in the main centre and up to 45 people in the more intimate Redwood lounge. There are five large TVs and up-to-date audio visual capabilities which can run tributes and photo albums. They can also broadcast the service live on the internet to anyone in the world, which is helpful when the funeral draws over capacity.



Just Posted

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

Canadians not afraid to take the plunge for the second time

Most will wait almost five years before remarrying

John Cleese sets fall date for Victoria return

June show sold out, comedic actor returns Nov. 4

Famed Syrian artist displays paintings created while living in refugee camps

Farid Abdulbaki’s ‘Between Two Worlds’ exhibit will be displayed May 24-26 in Victoria

Mighty Garage Sale offers boost to Metchosin groups

Metchosin Community Association holds annual sale on May 25 and 26

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read