Historic N.S grist mill to shut for repairs

A 137-year-old flour mill and museum in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County will close for a $1.1 million maintenance project from Monday (Aug. 15) until next June.

The Balmoral Grist Mill, one of 27 sites in the province’s museum system and still functioning as a flour mill, will shut for the remainder of its summer and fall season for repairs to its dam and walkway.

Repairs are needed “to maintain the safety and protect the natural environment of the museum and surrounding area,” the province said in a release Friday.

The mill on Matheson’s Brook was built in 1874 at what’s now the community of Balmoral Mills, about 45 km north of Truro, by miller Alexander McKay.

His flour milling operations previously were in the same building as a sawmill upstream from the current site, and he sought to separate the two for greater efficiency and reduced fire hazard.

By 1966 the mill had passed through several private hands and was purchased by the province, which began a major restoration, adding an electric motor, rebuilding the mill’s dam and replacing the mill’s water wheel, which now operates mainly for show.

“We’re pleased to be making this investment in the Balmoral Grist Mill as part of government’s commitment to make life better for families in every region,” acting Culture and Heritage Minister Frank Corbett said in the province’s release.

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