Watson’s Mill

Watson’s Mill & What it Offers

Watson’s Mill is in Manotick, Ontario in Canada. It is a unique and historic grist and flour mill built in the 1860s. The Watson’s Mill is on the shores of the Rideau River giving it a great and scenic view. As of this day, Watson’s Mill is the only working museum in the Ottawa area. Aside from that, Watson’s Mill is one of the very few operating industrial grist mills in North America.

Watson’s Mill has a remarkable history linked to Manotick’s local politics, the building of Canada as a country, and a tragic love story.

Watson’s Mill is older than Canada itself, and it makes this fact one of the reasons why it’s very important in history. Watson’s Mill was built using limestone quarried from the western channel of the river. According to many architectural journals, Watson’s Mill is described as one of the best examples of 19th-century grist mill architecture in Canada. The Watson’s Mill was built by Moss Kent Dickinson and his partner, Joseph Currier, in 1860.

The partner purchased 30 acres of land to build a complex which includes the Mill, a woolen mill, sawmill, carding factory, and a plug, bung, and spile factory. Dickinson and Currier aimed to build a community around Watson’s Mill. Since the community was the idea of the two, they named the village as Manotick; it is an Ojibwa Indian word which means “Island in the river.”

The Mill was owned by the Dickinson family from 1860 until 1929 until it was sold to Aleck Spratt. Then, Spratt renamed the Long Island Mills to Manotick Mills. Aside from the Mill itself, Spratt decided to buy Dickinson’s house which is strategically located in the area where he can oversee the mill’s operation.

Harry Watson, the last private owner of the Mill, came to Canada from England in 1924. He worked and later managed the Mill under Spratt’s ownership. After purchasing the Mill and Dickinson House from Spratt’s family, Harry Watson decided to change the name of the mill to “Watson’s Mill.” One of the first things he’d done is to have the front door sign removed to introduce the mill’s new name.

Watson’s Mill is managed by the non-profit group called Watson’s Mill Manotick Inc.; they are making every effort to maintain the Watson’s Mill to celebrate the jaw-dropping architectural design of the 1860s. Some of the machines in the Watson’s Mill are still working, and the staffs in the museum can still demonstrate how it was used in its prime life.

The Watson’s Mill is in 5525 Dickinson St, Manotick, ON, Canada and you can still witness its wonderful beauty, and it’s open in the following schedules:

Watson’s Mill: Ongoing Events, May 18 – Oct. 14, 2019

  • Guided Tours                          Daily, 10 am – 5 pm
  • Used Book Store                     Daily, 10 am – 4 pm (ending Oct 14)
  • Milling Demonstrations            Most Sundays, 1 – 3 pm (ending Oct 6). 

You can contact Watson’s Mill for more information about the events and guided tours. Lastly, Watson’s Mill offers special events from time to time.

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