Old Bone Trail

The Old Bone Trail was a short but common route connecting smaller settlements southwest of Saskatoon to the city’s bone market. Merchants and settlers began to collect and sell bison bones until the animals became virtually extinct in the late 1880s. The bones were collected in Saskatoon and sold to buyers in the United States for use in fertilizer, or as a colouring agent in paint and ink; the average return for a tonne of bison bones was $8. Homesteaders replaced bone merchants on the trail after 1900, particularly Barr colonists passing through Saskatoon en route to Lloydminster, Alberta. It is estimated that 10,000 settlers traveled the Bone Trail between 1904 and 1905.

James Winkel