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Family of Toronto man who died 8 months ago waiting to bury remains amid court battle with cemetery

A Toronto man who died more than eight months ago has still not been buried in a Richmond Hill cemetery amid an ongoing court battle between his family and the landowners.

Louis Tsotsos died following complications from COVID-19 in January. Before his death, he’d told his daughter, Lisa, he wished to be buried in the family plot at the Headford Cemetery in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto.

“My grandparents and the siblings wanted to be put there,” Lisa Tsotsos said in an interview with CTV Toronto from London, England Tuesday.

But more than eight months later, his remains are still at the funeral home in a refrigeration unit.

“Some days, it's so overwhelming that I cry and I want to give up but I’m the executor of the will and I need to finish this for him,” Tsotsos said.

The family is in a legal battle with the new owners of the cemetery property. It was sold to September 21 Inc. two years ago, and Tsotsos says the new company is not honouring their previous agreement.

“The church was sold to September 21 a couple of years ago and they are saying that the cemetery purchases weren’t passed along to them, but I don’t see how that is my family’s problem when I have all the evidence we own [the plot],” she said.

She says the new land owners have blocked the burial, arguing the Tsotsos family hasn't produced the proper documentation.

Tsotsos’s family has taken September 21 Inc. to court and won a judgement, with the Superior Court of Ontario of Justice saying “the internment of Louis Tsotsos at Headford Cemetery shall take place as soon as possible and in any event by no later than Aug 31, 2022.”

Despite a letter from lawyer Art Lambert sent on Aug. 31 saying he was hired by September 21 Inc. “with instructions to ensure Mr. Tsotsos’ burial takes place quickly and without complications,” the burial still has yet to happen.

Reached Tuesday by CTV News Toronto, Lambert wrote, in part, “As far as we have been informed there is ongoing litigation on the issue. We do not represent September 21 Inc. in the litigation”.

In an email Tuesday night, Lambert said “The current court order is made with the consent of September 21 Inc. September 21 Inc. complies with the court order as of 19:29 September 6, 2022, the family has not complied with the court order."

Lisa Tsotsos worries time is running out as her father’s remains decay.

“I‘m facing a really terrible choice of either cremation or find him another plot and pay twice for a piece of land to put him in – my father was a very religious man and [cremation] is not something you do in Macedonian Orthodox. He made me promise when he was alive I would never cremate him.”

She says the entire family would like to honour her father’s wishes: that he be buried with his family in the family plot that they paid for. Top Stories

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