Baird's Store 1830
Now known as “The Gatehouse” Baird’s Store was originally built by John Baird as home, store and accommodations for workers at Woodside Mills. Restored by R. Tait MacKenzie in the 1930s. The Verandah is regency style.
Bennie’s Corners was a small village less than two miles from Blakeney. It was at the junction of the eighth line of Ramsay and the road from Clayton north of the Indian River, on land where James Bennie located in the original settlement of the township in 1821. The buildings of the hamlet were destroyed in the summer of 1851 by fire. As rebuilt it had little more than a post office and general store, a few residences, a school and such tradesmen as blacksmiths and shoemakers, and claimed a population of about fifty persons.
To that wilderness of the Indian river came the Toshacks, the Bairds and others by batteaux and canoe. Baird’s Mill is one of the few remaining landmarks of colonial times, and today it is the Summer-studio residence of two distinguished Canadians—Dr. and Mrs. R. Tait McKenzie.
Bairds Flour Mill Restored
Nearby were William and John Baird’s flour mill, Greville Toshack’s carding mill and Stephen Young’s barley mill, all on the Indian River ; and on the Mississippi the similar industries of Blakeney. The Baird mill, restored as a century old structure in 1930 by Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, sculptor, surgeon and native son of the manse, is now well known as the Mill of Kintail, repository of examples of his works and local historical exhibits. It was described by its owners in 1860 as:
“Woodside Mills, consisting of a Flour Mill with two runs of burr stones, a superior Smut Machine and an Oatmeal Mill with two runs of Stones, one of which is a Burr. The Mill is three and a half stories high and most substantially built. There are also on the premises a kiln capable of drying from 120 to 200 bushels of oats at a time, a frame House for a Miller, a Blacksmith Shop with tools complete, two Stone Buildings and outbuildings, with Stabling for eleven horses.”
Mill of Kintail Museum. Known originally as Woodside Mills, this imposing stone structure was built by John Baird in the 1830s as a grist mill powered by a series of dams on the Indian River. Abandoned by the Bairds in the 1860s, it was purchased by Robert Tait McKenzie in 1930 and transformed into a summer home and studio. In 1952 Major and Mrs Leys purchased the mill and founded the museum as a memorial to Robert Tait McKenzie. In 1972 the property was purchased by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority.