From Years Past

In an earlier post in January, I mentioned a book called Top 150 Unusual Things to See in Ontario.  I was introduced to this book by blogger Rebel Girl, and it’s now the source of many items added onto my New Things List.

One of those places is Tyrone Mills, which was featured by Rebel Girl and Rebel Guy in a series of posts in November 2017.  A few weeks ago I finally got to visit this historical place for myself.

Tyrone Mill

Tyrone Mills is reported to be the last commercially-operated water-powered mill in the province.  It not only continues to grind its own grains, but the upper level contains a wood-working shop with a system of water-powered pulleys.

Tyrone Mills 9

No one has ever accused me of being even a little mechanically minded, but I was fascinated by those massive pulleys ribboned around the upper level – which brings me to my first door with its massive pulley outside on the lower level.

Tyrone Mills 6

Every historical building I’ve ever visited has been largely renovated to a “modern” standard.  This 1846 building is an exception.

Although the mill attracts a lot of visitors, this is not a gentrified tourist attraction. It’s still pretty much how I imagine it looked 170 years ago – including the gaps in the walls, around the windows and doors with sunlight creeping in.

Tyrone Mills 5It meant that it was very cold inside on this winter day.  I could tell that my travelling companion – a city girl with a strong attachment to modern conveniences – was not impressed.

Tyrone Mills 4My regret was not being able to see the actual water mill itself.  Being winter and very icy that day, the mill at water level was not viewable.

Tyrone Mills 10

Perhaps that gives me an excuse to take another drive in the country on a warm day when they are baking their specialty doughnuts.

Tyrone Mills 7

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

101 comments

  1. Joanne, it will be great to go back for the homemade doughnuts and water running through the millwheel. 😋 😮
    We​ have a mill that the Little Miami River feeds into and it has homemade ice cream and yummy sandwiches here in Ohio. It is called Clifton Mill. It was built in 1802. It is near a large valley, called Clifton Gorge. There is an Indian mound inside the gorge (gorge dug out by the Ice Age, or glaciers). I will have to travel there someday this summer to capture images. It used to be a big “day trip” which culminated in ice cream. 😛

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    • Any trip that ends in doughnuts or ice cream is a good one 🙂
      I think you should make that trip!! I’m starting to appreciate how these little mills scattered around the various waterways were critical to the growth and prosperity of an area.

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      • They were so important at crucial times, history is much more fascinating when you are out exploring the places and original sites.
        Yes, treats come in many ways and I have it built into almost every trip!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How cool. Joanne, I loved visiting the old mill with you here. “Simple” machines are so much more interesting than complicated or computerized machines. You’d probably enjoy “steampunk” stuff too. Hugs.

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  3. This is wonderful. Love your photos and the character and full on texture of this place. How fun it will be to return again in the summer and re experience it. Thanks for sharing! I like your new book of exploration ideas 🙂

    Peta

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    • It seems the more I explore around me, the more interesting things I discover are still out there to be explored!! What a wonderful *problem* to have 😉
      You and Ben have the same philosophy except on a larger canvas 🙂

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  4. I’d go back for the doughnuts, for sure. And when you do, take a photo of them! 🙂 Yes, when I see ‘old’ buildings like this, and realize people lived in that kind of cold, I think about how soft we humans have become. Thanks for bringing me along on your trip. xo

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  5. What a fabulous place Joanne. I love when people keep using old technology that works perfectly well — and resist the temptation to turn it into a twee tourist attraction. And doughnuts; the doughnuts are definite bonus 🙂

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    • Doughnuts make everything better 🙂

      I’d like to believe there is a growing interest in doing things the ‘old’ way and this is just an example of a business that’s manage to survive doing just that. I hope it will thrive.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same here.
        On that note. There is a shoe school which has opened up here for people to learn shoe-making, with traditional wooden lasts (the foot-shaped forms the leather is crafted round), and hand-stitching, etc. The woman who runs it is amazing, and her classes seem to sell out despite being quite expensive. I think that it’s a good example of people wanting to learn skills and valuing “the old ways.” Hope you have a great weekend.

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  6. Hi, Joanne – I love re-seeing Toronto and Surrounding Area through your eyes. How did I miss so many things previously?!

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  7. What a great find, Joanne. I would love to walk around through there. I toured a water-powered flour mill in England about 5 years ago. It was fascinating to see the machinery at work. I would love to see a working water-powered sawmill.

    I really enjoyed these pictures.

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  8. Come back with your bike in the summer & we’ll take a ride up to Tyrone Mills for ice cream! Love this building & all its history ❤️

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  9. I am so glad you went there. Such an amazing place and the owners and staff are so nice. They were making doughnuts the first time we went and it smelled wonderful. My husband bought some and said they were really good. Sadly, my tummy can’t take most sweets.
    I went back and bought a bunch of their flours and mixes. We have almost finished the apple muffin mix, then will open the carrot.
    This is fast becoming a favorite stop of ours. Love all the great pictures you took.

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  10. Although I would be tempted to put off a visit until it gets quite a bit warmer, I also love that they haven’t tried to pretty the building up. The patina of age is not something that can be recreated.

    Once again I am inspired by your get-up-and-go spirit as you discover – and rediscover – fascinating places around where you live.

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    • I know a lot of people who aren’t interested in going anywhere in the winter because it’s too cold, and quite frankly things tend to look prettier in the summer …. but that would mean spending a huge chunk of the year indoors. I’ve decided that’s something I’d rather not do.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. There seems to be a fine line between relict and derelict. I like how they’ve kept this building so authentically old, without letting it fall apart. That’s true history.

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    • I was trying to understand what specifically about this building appealed so much to me and you expressed it very well – the textures, and layers, and depth. The only thing a photo can’t convey was the smell of fresh cut wood that permeated the workshop.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I bought some tarts when I was there, and some of their flour blends for scones. I’ve only made one package so far and they were excellent 🙂
      Are you in Bowmanville?

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  12. I enjoyed seeing all the machinations of the mill, Joanne. It is fascinating just to see how these things work, but then that it is still functioning is very impressive. Great photos and words to describe it, thank you.

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    • Glad you enjoyed it. I was fascinated with those pulleys and would love to see them actually working one day.
      It occurred to me after the fact that I need to start taking videos. It would have helped capture this interesting room much better than photos.

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  13. Old workshops that ran on pulley and belt systems were the height of ingenuity back then. It fascinates me that someone was clever enough to invent set-ups like this.
    The place looks like it could make for an interesting visit any time of year.
    Nice door finds too 🙂

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  14. How many times in my life have I hurtled down the 401 from Ottawa to Toronto marking distance traveled by roadside place-names (Brockville, Prescott, Kingston, Belleville, Napanee, Cobourg, Port Hope, Newcastle, Bowmanville, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, etc.) and always wanting to take a detour and poke around country roads. Thank goodness I found you and can do it vicariously!

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  15. These are great images Joanne 🙂 I really love old places like this. Your comment really cracked me up about your traveling companion not being impressed. We had the same problem when vacationing with friends a few years ago. We spent a couple of days in Ontario (Niagara) then on our way back home we spent a few days at a winery/hotel called Glenora Vineyards on Lake Seneca in western NY. Looking for things to do we visited the Corning Museum of glass. My fiends were bored while my wife and I were so impressed with the glass blowing demonstrations and how they finished their world famous Steuben glass (crystal). We had the same problem when we visited Boston with them. I wanted to visit Fenway Park, Samuel Adams and Harpoon Breweries and they didn’t want to to. Terry and I had to take the train up to Boston one day in advance so we could get to do these things, LOL.

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    • It’s definitely a problem when travelling with someone who isn’t interested in the same things. That’s funny you made a special trip in advance to do the stuff you wanted to do 😆
      Gilles and I are often not interested in the same things, but we’re able to negotiate a mix of stuff. Inevitably, I can still find something to enjoy out of the things he wants to do … but let’s not tell him that. I want him to think I’m really sacrificing myself 😇

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  16. Oh yes, go back on doughnut baking day!

    I kept looking for the water in your images and wondering how the pulley’s worked with it. Thanks for sharing why we couldn’t see the water. Maybe next time you’ll be able to photograph that too.

    It looks like a neat place. That bell sure looks crusty and neat, and I love the horseshoe over the entry door! Great find for TD!

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    • Oh, you’re good! I hadn’t noticed the horseshoe over the doorway!
      I would definitely like to get back to this area again in warmer weather. Besides the water mill itself – and doughnuts – I think there are other heritage buildings in the general area that I didn’t get to explore.

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  17. Doughnuts??! Yes, please. I do love these old doors and am happy to hear they have not been gentrified. I do like the double doors with the remnants of red paint. They have a certain reverence about them, and should be a warning to leave them exactly as they are!

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      • The fountain is behind the Flat Iron Building which is located between Union Station and the St Lawrence Market. His photos are amazing and I want to go down there myself and see it. I’ve only ever seen photos of the fountain … apparently I haven’t been down there in a long time!!

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    • Thank Jude – I just went over to visit and I know that area very well. That Flatiron Building is one of my favourites.
      Unfortunately I haven’t been down there in a while and I’ve only seen this fountain in photos. His photos however are easily the best I’ve ever seen and now I want to go down there and see it for myself!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You must do and find out what it is all about, one of your NEW things to add to the list. LD’s photography is fabulous. He is well worth following.

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