The City of Saskatoon began its life as a Temperance Colony, and was first settled in 1883. The first recorded death occurred in 1884 when Robert Clark, who caught pneumonia while fighting a prairie fire, died. He was buried near the South Saskatchewan River. As the colony grew, this site became the colony's "unofficial" cemetery.
In 1888, a committee was formed to maintain the cemetery, and in 1889, "Nutana Cemetery" was officially recognized by the Provincial Government. In 1903, the Nutana Cemetery Company was formed, which took over the cemetery in 1905.
The City of Saskatoon took over the cemetery in 1910, after which the only burials that were allowed were those of people who already owned a plot, and members of the Nutana Cemetery Company and their relatives. The last burial took place in 1948.
While the Nutana Cemetery is in a beautiful, peaceful location overlooking the river, it has been subject to water erosion caused by the river. The hillside collapsed in 1904, 1969 and 1984, causing damage to many of the graves. Some had to be moved to other locations in the cemetery, or to Woodlawn Cemetery, which was established in 1906 on the west side of Saskatoon.
There were 162 known burials in the Nutana Cemetery between 1884 and 1948, however, only 144 of the graves have been positively identified due to inaccurate early records and grave markers that have disappeared. Of the 41 burials that are known to have taken place between 1889 and 1903, only 29 are registered in the cemetery records. Information regarding the remaining burials comes from resources such as the Saskatoon Phoenix.
It is obvious just how difficult life on the prairies was for the pioneers. Of the 144 identified graves at the Nutana Cemetery, at least 51 are babies, and 14 are children under 16 years of age.
A stone monument and plaque now mark this important site in Saskatoon's history.
Help us preserve this piece of pioneer history. When you visit the Nutana Cemetery, please do not touch or lean on the markers. If you notice signs of recent vandalism, or areas requiring maintenance, contact the City of Saskatoon, Cemetery Superintendent at 975-3308.
Woodlawn Cemetery and the Nutana Cemetery are administrated by the City of Saskatoon.
The information on these pages was primarily taken from a report prepared by the City of Saskatoon Leisure Services Department. Credit goes to the Leisure Services Department and particularly to Arlean McPherson, author of a report submitted to the Nutana (Pioneer) Cemetery Management Committee, and Jacqueline Hutchings, Arts/Heritage Consultant, for making the material available.
Except where otherwise noted, all photographs and articles © J. M. Wood & K. Hodgson 1996-2001. Interment lists © Woodlawn Cemetery. Last updated - January 23, 2001.