Victoria Woolen Mill
When I first noticed the Victoria Woolen Mill Building when driving through Almonte a number of years ago, two things caught my attention. The first was its somewhat triangular shape and the second was its layered appearance due to the difference in shading between the stones used on the lower levels and the stones used for the upper level. During this trip, I had a bit more time to wander around the building and was able to see that although somewhat triangular in shape it was not modeled on any traditional flatiron building designs but rather just had to be built that way to maximize the land use with construction being constricted on one side by the falls and on the other by Mill Street. The layered look was equally interesting and came about through the use of stone from two different quarries during the period of the building’s construction.
As one looks uphill along Mill Street today, it is not hard to imagine how the local native peoples (Ojibway) and early settlers might have traveled this same route (now a central roadway through Almonte’s business section) as they portaged their canoes and supplies around the Great Falls.
Partway along the street, a very impressive 2 1/2 story Romanesque-Revival style building constructed of a combination of Beckwith limestone and North Elmsley sandstone occupies a prominent location. The building was designed by Canada’s Chief Architect of the time (1880’s), Thomas Fuller and housed the former Almonte Post Office. As was typical of the government buildings of the time, this building was designed for multi-use rather than housing only one government operation.