Ontario's Historic Mills

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9781550464801: Ontario's Historic Mills
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A picturesque journey through 19th century Ontario.

This richly illustrated guide features photographs and detailed descriptions of 70 of Ontario's most remarkable mills. Some were chosen for their fascinating histories, and some for their architectural beauty. All evoke Ontario's charming 19th century past.

Mills are listed alphabetically according to regions of the province. Each listing includes concise travel instructions, a brief history of the mill's use, and a handy sidebar with vital statistics on age, operation, architecture and location.

This colorful and compelling guide is a must for anyone planning to visit Ontario's historic mills, whether in person or from the comfort of their favorite reading chair. Many have been restored or renovated and are destinations for thousands of travelers each year.

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About the Author:

George Fischer's photographs have been featured in more than a dozen books. He is a longstanding member of the Travel Media Association of Canada, and his work has appeared in such notable publications as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, L'Express, Islands, Mountain Living and Explore. He lives in Toronto.

Mark Harris is the co-author, with George Fischer, of Waterfalls of Ontario. A water resources professional by trade, he lives in London, Ontario.

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Excerpted from the
Introduction

0ntario's historic mills are special places! Once a magnet for settlement and an icon of optimism, the mill was a vital ingredient for the development of our modem society. By automating the cutting of lumber, grinding of grain or preparation of cloth, it finally relieved the burden of completing these mundane tasks by hand. But despite the mill's crucial importance to Ontario's history, most have become a casualty of progress, either disappearing altogether, or slowly crumbling at the mercy of the elements or vandals.

Of those that remain, many have now come full circle, returning to their roots as the nucleus of their community. This time around though, instead of functioning as a centre of commerce and industry, the old buildings now serve a myriad of new purposes. Some have been lovingly and painstakingly restored to working order to serve as living examples of yesteryear. Others have been converted to upscale restaurants, unique office spaces, exclusive inns and even one-of-a-kind residences. Still others await redevelopment, held back only by a temporary lack of financing or a firm vision. But why the attraction to the old building? What makes them so special?

From the outside the old mill can be magnificent, often visually dominating its landscape. Even the crumbling stone ruins can be attractive, ranging in appearance from rustic to nearly castle-like. With massive timber-frame construction or beautiful stone masonry they just don't build em like this anymore. Inside, the rudimentary, yet sophisticated workings charm those with a love for all things mechanical. With the turn of a crank, water is hurtled at the blades of a turbine and, presto!, power to move a saw, turn a stone or brush a fibre. No electricity or internal combustion required!

Another attraction is the mill's physical link to the past; offer the one constant in a community through a century or more of change. Many local groups interested in preserving and promoting local heritage have turned to "their" mill as a material outlet for their efforts. Often occupying choice locations in our cultural landscape, their long tradition as "people places" is easily understood and exploited. Who wouldn't want to live, work, shop, dine or wed here?

The old mill has long been a romantic element of our landscape. Those that look much as they did a century before have been the subject of countless paintings, photographs, poems and stories. There is something magical about a building that symbolizes fundamental relationships between the natural environment and the basic needs of society

There is so much that can be known about historic mills, and it is impossible for a book of this scope to thoroughly educate the reader about all the intricate details of milling history and technology. This is not our goal. Instead, it is our intention here to provide a contemporary glimpse of Ontario's milling heritage as it appears today With the growing trend towards eco- and heritage-based tourism, more and more people are seeking an appreciation of natural or historical treasures in their own backyard. With this book as your guide we hope that you will explore many of these grand (and not-so-grand) old buildings, either from your car or from your armchair.

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