The Old German Mill Ruins

This summer I’ve been making an effort to see more of my own country – Canada. I must admit, that even though I’ve travelled as far east as India, have stood on top of Inca Ruins in Machu Picchu, and have frolicked down the streets of Paris with a baguette in hand; I haven’t been very good at exploring my own backyard.

I live in the second largest country in the world and have only been to three of its major cities, two of which I lived in, so do those even count? Now that’s a bad track record for a travelling Canuck!

Summer in Canada; the Great Canadian Outdoors.

Earlier this summer I drove out to Hamilton to visit a friend. She mentioned there were ruins along an old trail, so we decided to go on a little hike. Leaving the car behind in a dirt parking lot, we followed the path that runs through this forest. Aside from two lone hikers and a family that rode past on their bicycles, this place was completely desolate.

We arrived at the old mill which sits on the banks of Grand River. Built in 1867, these may be no Rock of Cashel ruins like what you’d encounter in Ireland, but considering Canada doesn’t have a very long history, I was surprised by what little remained of the structure.

The Old German Mill Ruins near Hamilton, Ontario

There is nothing German about this mill, aside from the fact that it once belonged to a family with the surname ‘German’. Over the years, this building evolved from woollen mill to traveller’s lodge to private summer residence, and considering it was only abandoned as late as 1944, not much remains of the place. Today the mill is believed to be haunted and few are willing to venture there past sunset.

Have you explored ruins in your own hometown?

10 Comments

  • mattmcgee215att says:

    I LOVE old abandoned places. I think they are perfect for photography. I didn’t go to ruins, but I snuck in to an old abandoned pipe foundry in my home town. It had operated for years, and then just closed shop one day. There were papers still in the drawers of desks. Chairs were just randomly strewn about.

    • thatbackpacker says:

      Isn’t it crazy how some things remain intact?! I was watching a documentary on abandoned buildings in Detroit, and some had been closed for decades but like you said, there were still documents in the drawers and the furniture was still in place. It was kind of eerie seeing how things had been left…

  • Gaby says:

    Next time I’m in Hamilton I’m totally going to have to check this one out!

  • Kelsey Freeman (@driftingfocus) says:

    If you enjoy this sort of thing, you should definitely check out urban exploration! It’s a blast. I wrote a bit about it here: http://www.driftingfocus.com/2011/03/tips-for-safe-successful-urban-exploration/

    • thatbackpacker says:

      Looks like fun! 😀 I’ve been wanting to explore some abandoned factories in my city, but so many of them have been boarded up. There’s also a half demolished hotel not far from where I live, but even that has 24 hr security. I’m not sure what they’re trying to protect…

      • Faith says:

        themselves, from lawsuits. if they still own the property they’re liable.

      • Ashley says:

        I checked that hotel out before they got the 24h security, and it was beyond creepy! It was destroyed, there were random objects in rooms (a boat in a conference room), and it just felt super dark. I wouldn’t do it again.

  • Nomadic Samuel says:

    I can totally relate to not checking out my own backyard! I’m also from Canada and I haven’t done a domestic trip since 2007. I prefer international travel and would prefer going back to Argentina -where you grew up – for more adventures.

  • Faith says:

    How cool! I like exploring pretty much whatever is around me, but the closest I’ve come to ruins in a place that I’ve lived was the abandoned elementary school. It was a small town, and in town, so I always thought it was weird they just left it there. Things were still in the desks, too.

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