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Mill Lofts

26, Ontario Street, City of Guelph, Ontario, N1E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/04/07

Featured is a plan detailing the different sections of the Mill Lofts.; City of Guelph, 2003.
Plan, Mill Lofts, 2003
Of note is the gable-roofed 1920's third-storey addition to the original 1902 building.; Lyndsay Haggerty, 2007.
South Elevation, Mill Lofts, 2007
Of note are the powerhouse chimney and former bleach house.; Lyndsay Haggerty, 2007
West View, Mill Lofts, 2007

Other Name(s)

Mill Lofts
Guelph Worsted and Spinning Company
Lens Mill Store
Guelph Worsted Spinning
Newlands-Harding Yarns
Dobbie Industries
26 Ontario Street
45 Cross Street
Guelph Carpet and Worsted Spinning Mills

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Mill Lofts are located at 26 Ontario Street, on the northeast corner of Cross Street and Arthur Street South, in the City of Guelph. The three-storey red-brick industrial building was constructed in stages between 1902 and 1920, along with an accessory building and a chimney.

The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 2003, for its cultural heritage value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 2003-17098).

Heritage Value

The Mill Lofts building is the site of the former Guelph Worsted and Spinning Company, which began operation in 1902. The mill, which also operated as Guelph Worsted Spinning, Guelph Carpet and Worsted Spinning Mills, Guelph Yarns, Newlands-Harding Yarns and Dobbie Industries, turned out worsteds, yarns, and carpet fibres until 1975. It has been used for a variety of commercial and industrial uses since that time, most notably as Len's Mill Store. In these capacities the Mill Lofts building has contributed greatly to economic development, in the City of Guelph. Its location in St. Patrick's Ward, which was an area of rapid growth for major industries, during the early 20th century, further confirms its economic contributions.

The Mill Lofts are a fine example of the extent and architecture of industrial complexes. It was built in stages beginning in 1902, with major additions in 1907 and 1920. The construction of the main mill building is attributed to two local architects, W. Frye Colwill, who designed Guelph's Carnegie Library and Torrance School, and William A. Mahoney, who designed Guelph's Tytler School. W. Frye Colwill was the architect of the original 1902 building along Arthur Street South. Typical of industrial architecture, this section is two-storeys in height and constructed of red-brick with a timber-frame. A flat-roofed, timber-framed, three-storey red-brick addition filled the Arthur Street South frontage to Cross Street in 1907. Some brickwork details, identical to the 1902 section, suggest that the 1907 addition was also designed by W. Frye Colwill. In 1920, a third major three-storey section was added to the building, extending from the corner of Arthur Street along to Cross Street, from plans prepared by William A. Mahoney of Mahoney and Austin. A wider red-brick third-storey was placed on top of the 1902 portion, also courtesy of Mahoney and Austin.

Characteristic of industrial complexes, the Mill Lofts have accessory structures that contribute to its value. These include a powerhouse chimney and gable-roofed bleach house, both located in the southern yard.

Source: City of Guelph By-law 2003-17098.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Mill Lofts include its:
- location in St. Patrick's Ward
- red-brick construction of the Arthur Street South section
- arched lintels, corbelled cornice and corbelled end walls with capstones at both ends of the Ontario Street elevation
- 1920 pilasters on the east elevation
- gable roof on the 1920 third-floor addition
- installed facsimiles of the original window sills in the Ontario and Arthur Street sections
- tapered, brick powerhouse chimney
- exterior of the former bleach house, including brick walls
- gable roof of the bleach house
- original window openings on all elevations of the bleach house




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1920/01/01 to 1920/01/01
2003/01/01 to 2003/01/01
1907/01/01 to 1907/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Crafts Production Facility

Architect / Designer

W. Frye Colwill



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development Services 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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