Located high on a scenic eastern riverbank at the end of Ruth Street is Saskatoon’s first public cemetery where you can find the graves of the most early Saskatoon residents. This fourteen acre site was designated municipal heritage property on January 11, 1982.
The first burial at the cemetery dates to May, 1884 when Robert Clark arrived in Saskatoon and gave his life fighting a prairie fire threatening the young settlement His widow, Eleanor Elizabeth Clark, and their children would become key pioneer figures, with her stopping house near the edge of town (now Preston Avenue and Circle Drive) a landmark to travelers.
The graves in the Pioneer Cemetery reflect the hard reality of prairie times, with high child mortality rates, disease and accidents taking their toll on the community. It underlines how important mere survival was in those days. Funerals were a community matter as all pitched in to pay their last respects to the departed. Then the long ride to the final resting place, Nutana Cemetery, far beyond the edge of town, began. Between 1904 and 1910, seventy-two interments were made. Tombstones bearing heartfelt inscriptions blend with the wildflowers and the prairie wind.
Impassable roads, the loss of early cemetery records and the instability of the riverbank were factors leading to the creation of a new cemetery. In 1910 the City of Saskatoon took over management of the Cemetery from the pioneer Nutana Cemetery Company, and only those who already owned plots or had family buried there could use it. The last burial occurred in Nutana Cemetery in 1948.
Click here to find this property on a map.