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VIA 87 slows to it's stop at Guelph crossing the 1856 Grand Trunk 'Allan's Bridge.'  So-named for Allan's mill and distillery which stood below next to the Guelph Junction Railway (eventual CPR Goderich Sub).  Looking beneath the main span where the locomotive is, one can see the current Spring Mill Distillery.  The mill and distillery (ruins of mill behind limestone pillar to right of distillery - Speed river running between them) were built in 1830 as wood structures by Horace Perry for the Canada Company.  The Canada Company had been founded through an Act of Parliament in 1825 to settle the area of the Huron Tract, stretching from the shore of Lake Huron throughout Southern Ontario.  The Canada Company was founded by John Galt; founder of Guelph (1827), and co-founder of Goderich (1827) with colleague William "Tiger" Dunlop (town plans for the two were apparently swapped for each other mistakenly during construction).  The nearby settlement of Shade's Mills would eventually be renamed Galt, Ontario after John Galt; eventually his name also being used for the CPR Galt Subdivision.From it's 1830 roots for the Canada Company, the grist and flour mill, distillery would be sold to William Allan, and his son, David during the 1840's, leading to the wood structures being removed and replaced with the current limestone structures circa 1850.  The operations continued until a fire in 1883 that gutted the interior.  The business folded and the buildings were used for other ventures in subsequent years.  In 1909 the mill building would be used by the Flexible Conduit Company, expanding by 1918 to make light bulbs and changing to the Dalyte Electric Company.  the business would close in 1929 as the Great Depression hit.  The mill building ended it's life as Doughty & McFarlane; a feed and seed business.  The business was entirely destroyed by fire on January 2, 1966, including the neighbouring brick structure erected by Daylite Electric (circa 1918 - also part of Doughty & McFarlane).  The mill building partially remained in derelict condition until demolition throughout 1975 and 1976.  The site is now known as Heritage Park (created 1977 as Allan's Mill Park), and contains stone ruins of the mill, a flywheel, and other industrial implements.  Located on a trail by the river, it provides nice vantage points for the OSR, such as Steve's shot which includes the distillery building.  After the 1883 fire, the distillery building area of the "Mill Lands" were purchased by Thomas McCrae and later David McCrae of the Armstrong & McCrae woolen Company.  These two would be the Grandfather and Father to john McCrae; WWI Doctor and poet of 'In Flanders' Fields'.  They expanded the site with a stone factory adjoining the old distillery property.  The site would be taken over by the A.R. Woodyatt Company (1899) and, after merging with Guelph Malleable Iron Company in 1902, would be known as the Taylor-Forbes Company Limited.  The company changed it's name in 1934 to Taylor-Forbes Ltd..  Taylor-Forbes would sell the property to the W.C. Wood company in 1956.  W.c. Woods would expand the property until full capacity in 1973 and included restoring the distillery structure in their work.  W.C. Woods would close in 2010, leaving the site to be demolished to make way for condos (seen above behind VIA 6411).  Today, the distillery structure has been revived as the Spring Mill Distillery by John W. Sleeman of Sleeman Breweries.John W. Sleeman; founder of today's Sleeman Breweries (1984) and the Spring Mill Distillery (2018), resurrected his great-great-grandfather, John H. Sleeman's, brewing recipes from the 1800's.  The original brewery began in 1847 (Hodgert's Brewery) followed by the Silvercreek Brewery (1851), soon being passed to John's son, George Sleeman - John W's great-grandfather, who would incorporate these businesses as the Sleeman Brewing and Malting Company Limited.  Eventually, George would lose the business from over-investing in another project, the Guelph Street Railway Company (1895).  The brewery would continue into the prohibition era and after fraudulent dealing with smugglers including Rocco Perri; connected to Al Capone, the company was fined and eventually their license removed in 1933.  They would not be able to operate for 50 years.  51 years later; John W. Sleeman would resurrect the business.The streetcar line (first run on September 17, 1895) was owned by Sleeman until 1902, when he could no longer afford payment, and the line was taken over by the Bank of Montreal and the Traders Bank of Canada (merged into Royal Bank of Canada in 1912) and renamed the Guelph Radial Railway.  The City of Guelph would purchase the line in 1903, followed by Ontario Hydro in 1921.  Losses grew and resulted in the line ending passenger service on September 30, 1937; being replaced by Guelph Transportation Commission buses the next day.  Electric freight service ended on May 26, 1939.  Car barns of the Guelph Street Railway still survive to this day as apartments, having been used by Guelph Transit buses into the 1970's.The road bridge in the foreground (built 1963-1964) which carries MacDonell Street over the Speed River is named after john Galt's friend, Bishop Alexander MacDonell, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada.  The west end of this street ending at the foot of Catholic Hill, upon which sits Basillica of Our Lady; one of if not the most prominent buildings in Guelph.  The original MacDonell Street bridge still exists today, as a fenced off,  one lane structure lying directly beneath the GTR bridge; running between the pillars across the river.Guelph Museums: Allan's MillWellington County Museum and Archives: Allan's MillGuelph Radial Railway: Map
Guelph Museums: Guelph Radial Railway
Copyright Notice: This image ©Jacob Patterson all rights reserved.



Caption: VIA 87 slows to it's stop at Guelph crossing the 1856 Grand Trunk 'Allan's Bridge.' So-named for Allan's mill and distillery which stood below next to the Guelph Junction Railway (eventual CPR Goderich Sub). Looking beneath the main span where the locomotive is, one can see the current Spring Mill Distillery. The mill and distillery (ruins of mill behind limestone pillar to right of distillery - Speed river running between them) were built in 1830 as wood structures by Horace Perry for the Canada Company. The Canada Company had been founded through an Act of Parliament in 1825 to settle the area of the Huron Tract, stretching from the shore of Lake Huron throughout Southern Ontario. The Canada Company was founded by John Galt; founder of Guelph (1827), and co-founder of Goderich (1827) with colleague William "Tiger" Dunlop (town plans for the two were apparently swapped for each other mistakenly during construction). The nearby settlement of Shade's Mills would eventually be renamed Galt, Ontario after John Galt; eventually his name also being used for the CPR Galt Subdivision.

From it's 1830 roots for the Canada Company, the grist and flour mill, distillery would be sold to William Allan, and his son, David during the 1840's, leading to the wood structures being removed and replaced with the current limestone structures circa 1850. The operations continued until a fire in 1883 that gutted the interior. The business folded and the buildings were used for other ventures in subsequent years. In 1909 the mill building would be used by the Flexible Conduit Company, expanding by 1918 to make light bulbs and changing to the Dalyte Electric Company. the business would close in 1929 as the Great Depression hit. The mill building ended it's life as Doughty & McFarlane; a feed and seed business. The business was entirely destroyed by fire on January 2, 1966, including the neighbouring brick structure erected by Daylite Electric (circa 1918 - also part of Doughty & McFarlane). The mill building partially remained in derelict condition until demolition throughout 1975 and 1976. The site is now known as Heritage Park (created 1977 as Allan's Mill Park), and contains stone ruins of the mill, a flywheel, and other industrial implements. Located on a trail by the river, it provides nice vantage points for the OSR, such as Steve's shot which includes the distillery building. After the 1883 fire, the distillery building area of the "Mill Lands" were purchased by Thomas McCrae and later David McCrae of the Armstrong & McCrae woolen Company. These two would be the Grandfather and Father to john McCrae; WWI Doctor and poet of 'In Flanders' Fields'. They expanded the site with a stone factory adjoining the old distillery property. The site would be taken over by the A.R. Woodyatt Company (1899) and, after merging with Guelph Malleable Iron Company in 1902, would be known as the Taylor-Forbes Company Limited. The company changed it's name in 1934 to Taylor-Forbes Ltd.. Taylor-Forbes would sell the property to the W.C. Wood company in 1956. W.c. Woods would expand the property until full capacity in 1973 and included restoring the distillery structure in their work. W.C. Woods would close in 2010, leaving the site to be demolished to make way for condos (seen above behind VIA 6411). Today, the distillery structure has been revived as the Spring Mill Distillery by John W. Sleeman of Sleeman Breweries.

John W. Sleeman; founder of today's Sleeman Breweries (1984) and the Spring Mill Distillery (2018), resurrected his great-great-grandfather, John H. Sleeman's, brewing recipes from the 1800's. The original brewery began in 1847 (Hodgert's Brewery) followed by the Silvercreek Brewery (1851), soon being passed to John's son, George Sleeman - John W's great-grandfather, who would incorporate these businesses as the Sleeman Brewing and Malting Company Limited. Eventually, George would lose the business from over-investing in another project, the Guelph Street Railway Company (1895). The brewery would continue into the prohibition era and after fraudulent dealing with smugglers including Rocco Perri; connected to Al Capone, the company was fined and eventually their license removed in 1933. They would not be able to operate for 50 years. 51 years later; John W. Sleeman would resurrect the business.

The streetcar line (first run on September 17, 1895) was owned by Sleeman until 1902, when he could no longer afford payment, and the line was taken over by the Bank of Montreal and the Traders Bank of Canada (merged into Royal Bank of Canada in 1912) and renamed the Guelph Radial Railway. The City of Guelph would purchase the line in 1903, followed by Ontario Hydro in 1921. Losses grew and resulted in the line ending passenger service on September 30, 1937; being replaced by Guelph Transportation Commission buses the next day. Electric freight service ended on May 26, 1939. Car barns of the Guelph Street Railway still survive to this day as apartments, having been used by Guelph Transit buses into the 1970's.

The road bridge in the foreground (built 1963-1964) which carries MacDonell Street over the Speed River is named after john Galt's friend, Bishop Alexander MacDonell, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada. The west end of this street ending at the foot of Catholic Hill, upon which sits Basillica of Our Lady; one of if not the most prominent buildings in Guelph. The original MacDonell Street bridge still exists today, as a fenced off, one lane structure lying directly beneath the GTR bridge; running between the pillars across the river.

Guelph Museums: Allan's Mill
Wellington County Museum and Archives: Allan's Mill
Guelph Radial Railway: Map
Guelph Museums: Guelph Radial Railway

Photographer:
Jacob Patterson [138] (more) (contact)
Date: 03/21/2020 (search)
Railway: VIA Rail (search)
Reporting Marks: VIA 6411 (search)
Train Symbol: P08731-21 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Guelph Sub. (search)
City/Town: Guelph (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 39454

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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3 Comments
  1. Great lighting and a really nice detailed history Jacob.

  2. Jacob, very , very nice picture, like the way you captured 6411 with beautiful evening blue sky behind it, and love the 2 ducks “paddling on the Speed “. And as Larry said, thank you for the extensive history of this area, most informative and provides historical details new to me – never too old to learn. Thanks for sharing this picture.

  3. Thanks for the extensive history Jacob, a very interesting read. You caught this train in lovely low angle sunlight.

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