Old Mill Race
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Mill Race is located northeast of Queen Street East, along the eastern edge of the Thames River, in the Town of St. Marys. The limestone canal was constructed in 1864 and runs south from Trout Creek, under the Victoria Bridge, to the Thames River.
The property was designated by the Town of St. Marys, in 1978, for its historical or architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 31-1978).
The Mill Race is associated with the Ingersoll family and the development of the Town of St. Marys. The Ingersoll's erected the first saw and grist mills in the area in 1841. These first mills led to the settlement of the Town of St. Marys, the establishment of more mills and eventually to the construction of the Mill Race. The early development of the Town centred on these prosperous milling activities which produced a variety of goods for export and which would prove to be the Town's economic focus for over 130 years. Although the old mill buildings are gone, the Mill Race survives as a reminder of the importance of that industry to the development of St. Marys and the area and of the foresight of the Ingersoll's.
The Mill Race was constructed in 1864 of large, locally-quarried course limestone blocks, to form a channel alongside the Thames River, to provide power to local mills. Since its construction, the Mill Race has seen many changes, the first of which was only shortly after its construction. In order to allow the Mill Race to pass under Queen Street to the mills to the south, its course was altered and an additional small arch was built on the eastern end of the Victoria Bridge, in 1865.
The Mill Race is contextually linked to the Thames River, the Victoria Bridge and to the former mill sites. Together with the river, the bridge and the former mills, the Mill Race contributes to the broader cultural heritage landscape of St. Marys. The race is also important in defining the western edge of downtown St. Marys, running alongside prominent downtown buildings and under the Victoria Bridge.
Source: Town of St. Marys By-Law 31-1978.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Mill Race include its:
- narrow and open flowing channels
- construction of large, course local limestone blocks
- route under the eastern arch of the Victoria Bridge to divert the race to the south side of Queen Street
- proximity and relationship to the Thames River, Victoria Bridge, and the former mill sites
- location directly west of downtown, defining the western boundary of downtown St. Marys
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
1865/01/01 to 1865/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Power Generation Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of St. Marys
P.O. Box 998
175 Queen St. East
St. Marys, Ontario
Cross-Reference to Collection