Tag Archives: Thoburn mill

Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group Buildings: Victoria, Thoburn Mill and 65 Mill Street

Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group Buildings: Victoria, Thoburn Mill and 65 Mill Street


When Santa parks his reindeer atop Almonte’s 150-year-old Victoria Woollen Mill, he has to comply with the poop-and-scoop regulation. It says so right in the legal condominium corporation document extending annual landing rights to the jolly old fellow. All of which may make the venerable building at 7 Mill St. the only former textile mill in the world that’s being repurposed for stylish, riverside condo living, while guaranteeing Santa a touchdown strip.

Neighbourly gestures like these rooftop rights typify Almonte, a 20-minute drive west of Kanata, Ont., in historic Lanark County. With its vibrant arts community (the Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival is a must-see August event), gift and other specialty shops, picturesque setting including the Mississippi River coursing through town, and proximity to the big city, Almonte is on a growth track. But even while grooming itself for expansion, Almonte current population about 4,800 is determined to hold fast to its small-town charm.

Nowhere is this hybrid of past and future more evident than in the Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group’s resurrection of old industrial buildings, like the Victorian Woollen Mill, into downtown residential and commercial space. The goal is affordable downtown housing and vibrant business space that’s essential if small towns are to short-circuit urban sprawl and highway commercial development that kill their centre cores. “We’re trying to create a neighbourhood in the style of Westboro or the Glebe, where you can walk out the door and pick up a loaf of bread or a book,” says Stephen Brathwaite, founder of the group with Greg Smith.

Since 1993, Brathwaite, a nationally recognized glass artist, puppeteer and self-styled redeveloper, and his Almonte partners have snapped up historic downtown properties for major makeovers. The Victoria Woollen Mill was the first. Backing onto a waterfall of the Mississippi River and boasting oiled wooden beams and deep-set windows, it now includes a ground-floor restaurant, art gallery and shops. The balance of the building is mostly occupied by businesses, but those units are now available as condos, 10 in all ranging from 900 to 2,000 square feet and priced at roughly $175,000 to $385,000. Thoburn Mill is another of the group’s “adaptive reuse” projects. It’s at 83 Little Bridge St. behind the Romanesque revival-style post office on Mill Street (built in the late 1800s and now home to engineering, law and other small businesses, the old post office has been usurped by a newer, box like Canada Post building, a product of the Eyesore School of Design, further down Mill Street). A mix of commercial and residential space, Thoburn Mill will include 13 household units once -rebuilding is finished later this summer or fall.

Its residential space is currently classified as apartments, but those will become condos ranging from 1,000 to 1,650 square feet and selling in the $210,000 to $350,000 vicinity. “I can walk to so many places,” says Margaret Brunton who’s rented her two-storey, open-concept apartment in Thoburn Mill since 2005 and is buying one of the condos. “The minute I step outside in the morning, people say: ‘Hello, Margaret.’ There are young people around. It’s like a little community.” She also praises the town’s natural beauty and how secure she feels in a place where everyone knows everyone else. Like others, Brunton’s unit includes a generous deck overlooking the Mississippi and its cascading spillway (that proximity to the river means that the building’s old, existing turbine will be restarted, which should make Thoburn Mill self-sufficient with green electricity).

Brunton’s current home is also atop the river walkway, a public area where a romantic young man apparently popped the question to his beloved within days of the snaking walkway opening a couple years ago. Almonte architect Peter Mansfield designed Brunton’s unit and most of the other spaces in the Thoburn and Victoria Woollen mills. He also planned the heavily glassed barrel-vault addition to Thoburn Mill. “It’s almost archaeological with all its different sections,” says Mansfield, referring to how the mill’s former owners added to it during profitable years.

“It was fun fusing contemporary building materials into the old warehouse structure,” he adds, referring to the glass and steel that define much of the building’s common areas, the massive wood beams traversing residential ceilings and the old brick walls that define some of the commercial space. Along with the Victoria Woollen and Thoburn mills, the Almonte Heritage Redevelopment Group rents apartments in smaller heritage buildings in downtown Almonte and has plans for residential lots and other projects around town. It’s also begun work on a larger historic building at 65 Mill St. Like other projects, energy efficiency ranks high on the list of planning priorities. According to the town’s chief administrative officer, Diane Smithson, the current population is expected to grow to about 8,000 by 2026. Ottawa Citizen

65 Mill Street

Calgary Herald

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Sat, Aug 08, 2009 · Page 96

Rosamond and Victoria Mill — Rosamond Journey from Carleton Place to Almonte

Memories of Madeline Moir – Pinecraft Proberts and John Dunn 1978

Where Was Pinecraft?

Hodgins Bros. Ltd Thoburn Mill 1950s

More Tales from the Thoburn Mill

Is Samuel Shaard Lying in the “Cement” of the Thoburn Mill?

Tears From the Old Gears of the Mills

Bits and Pieces of William Thoburn and the House on Union Street

The Crater Lot on Mill Street — Peterson and Dr. Metcalfe

Graham Forgie and 65 Mill Street

In the Public Eye– William Thoburn

In the Public Eye– William Thoburn

 - In 1MT. th year of Confederation. William...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  01 Sep 1911, Fri,  Page 6


            INDEX       THOBURN      FAMILY--Click here

                                                       RETURN TO HOME PAGE
1 c1    John Thoburn #1
  s      Unknown
  2 c1 John Thoburn #2                       1845-1879     b Woolwich, Kent, England; d in Almonte
   s Margaret (Maggie) Jane Bond     1848-1937    b Beckwith Twp.  married Jan. 1, 1870; Carleton Place
                                                                                  d Victoria, B. C.
                       FAMILY LINK (5 c8) Bond Family
  3 c1 John E. Thoburn                      1875-1907     b Almonte; d Bellingham, Whatcom, Washington
  3 c2 Frank Thoburn                         1880-1897     b Almonte ; d Kamloops, B. C.
  3 c3 Eva (Mimi) Bond Thobutn         1888-1969    b Almonte; d Victoria, B C.
    s John Charles Mcintosh
        Eva & Charles’s family (c1-c5) at FAMILY LINK (1 c7 cn/c) McIntosh Family
  NOTE     Larry Ferguson states that Eva was raised by Eva Bond and William Templeman)
  2 c2 William (Willie) Thoburn          1847-1928      b Portsmouth, Hampshire, England; d Almonte
    s Margaret Lyons                          1849-             b Canada West       
   3 c1  Annie Thoburn                       1871-            b Almonte
    s Percy A. Jamieson                     1871-           b Arnprior
                         FAMILY LINK (1 c2 cn/c, 3 c2) Jamieson Family
  3 c2 Mae Elliot Thoburn                 1897-            b Almonte
     s Arnold Murchison Ivey               1876-           b Toronto           married 1899; Almonte
                                                                                                (Ancestry.com marrages 1899)
                                                                                wtn. Percy Jamieson, Almonte & Myrtle Ivey, Toronto   



Thoburn Home-161 Union Street Almonte


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)



More Tales from the Thoburn Mill

Is Samuel Shaard Lying in the “Cement” of the Thoburn Mill?

Tears From the Old Gears of the Mills

More Tales from the Thoburn Mill



Photo from Almonte.com

With notes from the Almonte Gazette— July 21, 1882

On Monday evening two children children of Mr. Howard were attempting to cross the dam between Thoburn’s mill and the railway bridge when the eldest, named Willie, age nine years, slipped into the water, and the youngest, named Archie, aged about six, made an attempt to save his brother, and be himself got into danger.

An alarm was raised by 6 little fellows running to tell Mrs. Howard, who flewacross to Mr. Galtin ’s store, where her husband was employed, and the father lost no time in rushing down to the scene of the disaster. On arrival there he saw the youngest boy holding on to a log, but the action of the water and the unsteadiness of the log caused the child’s head-to frequently -dip under water.

Very soon the father succeeded in placing him in safety; in the meantime the elder boy had disappeared, and the suction of the water prevented him from coming up to the surface. As soon as the wheel wss stopped Mr. Delisle an- employee ol No. 1 mill, threw of his coat and hat and dived to the bottom and in a moment, the child appeared above the water,

Fortunately Drs. Burns and Lynch were immediately on the spot, and to their prompt and energetic action, humanly speaking, the boy owes them his life. The little fellow, when taken out of the water, was to all intents and purposes dead, but to the coarse of treatment resorted to was successful in restoring the action of the respiratory organs, and in a few minutes his life was saved.

After a short time he was moved to Dowdall’a drug store, and – from thence to the house of his parents-. The doctors remained with, him for some time, and had the satisfaction at length of knowing that they had snatched a victim out of the grasp of death. The boys are rapidly recovering, but they along with their father and mother received – a severe shock.

We have referred to the prompt action of our townsmen jumping into the water after the missing boys and they should be proud.


Mr. Wm. Thoburn is going to have his flannel mill lighted with gas. It will cost him about $500. June 3 -1882


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 28 Aug 1918, Wed,
  3. Page 6
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
28 Aug 1918, Wed  •  Page 1

Related reading

Is Samuel Shaard Lying in the “Cement” of the Thoburn Mill?

Tears From the Old Gears of the Mills

Bits and Pieces of William Thoburn and the House on Union Street