Goldie Mill Park and ruins


Questions and answers

Why is Goldie Mill fenced off?

The City closed off access to the ruins at Goldie Mill last year as a safety precaution because of the sinkholes on the site. Environmental testing, commissioned by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) (the land owner of Goldie Mill Park and ruins) to address existing sinkholes, revealed chemicals found in the soil may pose health risks. The City and GRCA agree, it’s best to close the area until more tests are done.

Aerial map of Goldie Mill Park and ruins that details the GRCA-owned portion, the adjacent City-owned land, trail routes that remain open, new area to be fenced off, the existing fenced off portion and the area of City-owned land to be tested. If you require this document in an alternative format as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005), please contact Mario Petricevic at 519-822-1260 extension 2668 or

Aerial map of Goldie Mill Park and ruins, including the existing and new fenced off portions.

If the sink holes are further down in the park, why is access blocked at Goldie Mill ruins?

The fencing location was chosen to encourage trail users to use the safest route around the park.

The City may expand the fenced area depending on the results from additional environmental tests.

What are the potential health risks?

Please visit the GRCA’s webpage for details or contact at 1-866-900-4722 or

How much money will it cost to reopen the closed section of Goldie Mill Park?

The GRCA and the City won’t know all costs until the test results and recommended course of action is received from an environmental consultant.

The additional environmental testing will cost the City about $20,000.

How soon is this going to be done?

The additional environmental tests will start in a few weeks.

When will the sinkholes be fixed?

Once the additional environmental testing has been completed; the information collected will help guide the City in developing a plan to address the sinkholes.

Park features and amenities

  • Downtown Trail (Trans Canada Trail) – stone dust and asphalt trail
  • Goldie Mill ruins
  • Parking
  • Public washrooms at 75 Cardigan Street, adjacent to the ruins

Goldie Mill ruins

Virtual tour

Goldie Mill is located in Goldie Mill Park at the northeast corner of Cardigan and Norwich streets and on the west bank of the Speed River in the city of Guelph. This three-storey limestone building, now a ruin, was constructed in 1866.

Not accepting bookings

For more information, call 519-837-5678.


  • May be reserved for performances, weddings and other events
  • Hydro is available
  • Capacity: 160 persons
  • Public washrooms at 75 Cardigan Street, adjacent to the ruins

Goldie Mill on Canada’s Historic Places website

Goldie Mill was designated, by the City of Guelph, for its historic and architectural value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law (1983)-11323).

Heritage value

The former Goldie Mill site is one of the most historic manufacturing locations in Guelph. In 1827, David Gilkison, a cousin of Guelph’s founder John Galt, built a sawmill beside the Speed River. In 1845, doctors W. Clarke and H. Orton built the “Wellington Mills.” Shortly after a fire in 1850, the mills were rebuilt in stone and renamed the “People’s Mills.” After another fire, in 1864, the land was purchased by James Goldie, who enlarged and rebuilt the stone building, in 1866. As the owner of Goldie Mill, James was considered one of the leading flour manufacturers and dealers in Ontario, and served as president of the Ontario Millers’ Association.

The flour mills continued to expand and flourish under the direction of the Goldie family until sold in 1918. The mill continued to be operated until a spring flood in 1929 carried away the dam. A fire in 1953 completely destroyed the building, and it is now maintained as a ruin by the Grand River Conservation Authority.

In the 19th century, the manufacturing complex included a foundry, sawmill, cooperage, distillery, piggery and tannery. The diverse and long-time use of Goldie Mill contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity of Guelph. The mill has been characterized as a model flour mill in Canada.

Among the unique architectural features of the masonry construction of the thick stone walls are double-reinforced stone lintels, an unusual type of construction in Ontario. The most impressive remaining section of the structure was built in 1867 with quarry-faced limestone. All stone was quarried on the mill property.

The heritage designation covers all masonry construction, which survives after the 1983 stabilization project, the 90-foot brick chimney as well as the surrounding property as purchased by Grand River Conservation Authority in March 1976.

Legal description

Part of the Mill Lands on Cardigan Street and Part of the original bed of the River Speed, in the Canada Company’s Survey of the Town, now City of Guelph, and which may be also known as part of the Saw Mill Lot in Divisions “A” and “F”.

Designated portions

  • The three-storey stone walls of the north-westerly section
  • The two-storey stone walls of the Elevator Building (middle section)
  • The brick chimney
  • The riverside wall including ruins of the boiler room windows.

The remainder of the property is designated to include:

  • Foundations which are buried to the north and northwest of the ruins
  • River willows along the riverbank of the property
  • Retention of other trees on the property is not required under this designation.