The two remaining mills on the Grand River in Caledonia, ca.1960s (Shirra Mill, right and Caledonia Mill, left)

Historical and Cultural Significance

In 1983, the Caledonia Old Mill was granted heritage significance status under part 4 of the Ontario Heritage Act. The mill was designated by the Town of Haldimand as having “historical interest or value.”  Reasons for designation are given as follows:

The Caledonia Mill began to process wheat into flour in January 1857.  It is the last mill to be in operation along the Grand River using waterpower.  The Caledonia Mill also has a surviving link to the Grand River Navigation Co. of the past, and is a memento to the many enterprising men of Caledonia and surrounding area, including James Little, J.B. Holden, John Scott, Donald McQuarrie 1832-1887, William Munroe 1825-1901, James H. Thorburn 1845-1903, Samuel Scott, William Scott, Hugh Scott, Ob Scott.

In addition to characteristics outlined in its designation, the mill is also an important cultural resource in the community and broader area. 
  • It is among the first of the Caledonia industries, and thus an important vestige of the Town’s heritage, culture and past.  
  • It is the only mill remaining from many that used to be in Caledonia. 
  • It is also considered to be the best example of an operational mill still left on the Grand River, which itself, was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1994.
  • Finally, the mill is a prime example of a commercial merchant roller mill of the 1880s period, and much of its original features and some equipment still exist.
  • And to top it all off, the mill contains a distinctive cupola, a decorative roof feature rarely seen in Canadian Mills of the era.