Saskatchewan

More families using live video feeds to share funerals, weddings

More and more families are turning to personalized video feeds to share — live on the internet — significant events like weddings and funerals.
A webcam, mounted on a back wall, is used to live-stream special events in a Regina church. (CBC)

More and more families are turning to personalized video feeds to share — live on the internet — significant events like weddings and funerals.

The recent funeral of a Saskatoon man, who died from an apparent drug overdose, was shared with people online.

The innovation has proven especially useful when long distances are involved.

Gordon Grant, for example, wanted to ensure family members could participate in a funeral service for his father, George.

"He had a lot more friends than he ever let on," Gordon Grant said. His father was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Canada from Hungary. There are still many families members in Hungary, and many were unable to make the trip to Canada.

The family shared the proceedings using a live-stream on the internet.

"I don't have any objection to other people seeing it," Grant said, noting their video stream was open for anyone to view. "It's not anything that we would be ashamed of or be really private. Otherwise we wouldn't have put it out there for people to see."

Some funeral service providers are able to provide the equipment and technical support for a live-stream.

"If you can't be there, then being engaged and available and involved through technology is better than not being there at all," Jeff Christiansen, from Speers Funeral Service, told CBC News.

Some churches are also turning to new technologies, to meet people's needs.

Darren Andres, a pastor in Regina, told CBC News that his church has produced live-streams of funerals.

"We have a lot of our church members, who if [a funeral] happens during the winter and they're down south, many will be emailing, 'Are you web-casting? Can we tune in? What time?'"

In many cases, funeral service providers and churches are able to limit access to a live stream by requiring viewers to have a password, allowing the service to as private, or public, as a family wants.

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