The Tyrone Mill, Tyrone Ontario
2656 Concession Rd 7, Tyrone, ON L0B http://tyronemill.net/
The Tyrone mill near Bowmanville may be Ontario’s last commercially operated water-powered mill.
Within the sprawling Greater Toronto area, there remains a tranquil oasis where visitors can return to simpler pleasures of Pioneer Ontario. That retreat, one of the last commercially operated water-powered mills in the province is found in the historic village of Tyrone.
As pioneer settlers pushed inland from Lake Ontario, James McFeeters built a flour mill on the waters of Bowmanville Creek, about 18 kilometers north of Bowmanville. It became the main industry in a little growing community. In 1908, with most of Canada’s wheat-growing having moved west, the owner Thomas Goodman converted the building to a feed mill to provide feed to the growing dairy cattle industry.
But even that operation began to flag, bringing in less than $50 a year by the 1970’s. At this point, most mills would have either burned or been converted to a restaurant. But Bob Shafer, a relocated American, had other plans to continue to operate as a mill, not just any mill. It would be one that continued to use water. At first, he focused on custom cutting logs provided by local farmers. However, after locating a compatible turbine, he restored the mill’s original role to that of grinding grain.
Today, the Tyrone mill has become a popular day trip destinations for families and history lovers who wish to flee the maddening world of ceaseless traffic and the tedium of urban sprawl. The mill offer not just its own grain, but also fresh apple cider (in season) and its specialty, hot an tender freshly baked doughnuts.
Visitors may also climb the wooden steps to the second floor to view the wood working room, where a system of pulleys is also run by water power. At the rear of the mill, a small lookout over the millpond may reveal ducks, geese and possibly a pair of swans.
Meanwhile, Tyrone’s main street offers up other vestiges of Ontario’s pioneer days, including an early schoolhouse, churches, and a stone blacksmith shop.
Information Source: From Author Ron Brown and his book the “Top 150 most unusual things to see in Ontario”