In 1995, Leo Facio was one of the first residents of Harrison Hot Springs to put up a memorial bench in honour of his late wife.
But the practice has proved so popular in the picturesque little community that Facio, now the town's mayor, and his council have decided to put a limit on the number of plaque-bearing structures paid for by members of the public.
"It's been a wonderful way for people to remember their loved ones when they passed on," said Facio.
But the most popular spots are by the beach and lagoon in Harrison, and there's only so much room for the benches, which require a concrete pad for installation.
City staff estimate there is enough room for another 17 benches in that area.
"We're using up what space we think is possible at the moment and review it with council at a later date," said Facio. "We're not discouraging people to come forward."
While the waterfront space for benches might be filling up, Facio said there are other parks in the community of 1,600 residents and other opportunity for memorials, like planting a tree or putting in paving stones.
He said there are currently about 110 to 120 benches in Harrison.
Putting in a park bench is costlier than you might expect.
The tab for a bench in Harrison is $2,300, which includes installation and maintenance for 10 years. After that period, there is a review of the cost for an extension.
Harrison isn't the only place where premium spots for benches are in high demand.
There are about 1,100 hectares of parks in Vancouver and approximately 2,000 benches.
But Josie Riebe, manager of fundraising and development for the Vancouver Park Board, said "a number of our parks have reached capacity [for benches]."
Particularly popular is the waterfront from Spanish Banks east to Jericho.
Riebe said only about 40 per cent of the agreements for the memorial benches are renewed so "each year spaces become available."
But they don't come cheap.
A 10-year term for a bench's installation and maintenance is $4,000. A 'legacy' bench with ongoing maintenance in perpetuity is available for $25,000.
In Surrey, where the slogan is 'City of Parks' and there are 2,630 hectares of parks, 229 of 420 benches are donated. But scenic Crescent Beach is almost at capacity.
Surrey memorial benches range in price from $2,400 to $3,500 for a 10-year term. There are also memorial picnic tables for $5,000.
In addition to providing emotional solace and a place to sit, memorial benches -and picnic tables-are tax deductible.
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