Caledonia Mill, 1877                                                                                             Caledonia Mill, ca.1910-1920

History: A Snapshot                                                               

The Caledonia Mill was built by James Little around 1853, and was originally known as ‘Little Mills’.  With subsequent changes in ownership, the mill would later be renamed Balmoral Mills and then the Grand River Mills when McQuarrie, Thorburn & Munroe took ownership in the 1870s. 

McQuarrie, Thorburn & Munroe were well known as prominent millers and grain dealers of the time, and Caledonia was considered one of the best markets for grain in the country. At first, grinding of wheat was done between revolving stones, and the mill was originally said to have had “three run of stones each with its own wheel.”  The introduction of steel rolls for grinding wheat in the 1880s improved and process and quality of the flour product.

In 1892, William and Hugh Scott formed the Caledonia Milling Company Ltd., a joint stock company, with about 100 residents in the community as shareholders.  Over the years, the company was well known for its manufacturing of fine flour and cereals that were shipped locally and abroad.

In 1929, the Caledonia Milling Company acquired the Shirra Mills.—on the north bank of the river—and converted it into a feed mill.  The company continued with both mills in production until 1964.  All operations ceased in 1966.  The Shirra Mills burnt down in 1969 leaving only the Grand River Mills (i.e. the Caledonia Mill) still standing.

Over the next decade, the mill passed through several hands until when in 1981, Haldimand County attained ownership.  At the time, a group of local residents concerned with the state of the mill was granted the responsibility of maintaining the mill.  In 1998, ownership was transferred to the Caledonia Old Mill Corporation, a not-for-profit organization entrusted with the care and promotion of the mill.

Flour sac designs from the Caledonia Milling Co., various dates

For historical time line see: Historical Time Line