Latlng: (43.661104, -79.907942)

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Halton Hills

Barber Paper Mill- Georgetown

Discovered by sir2nv
Created Apr 06 2009
Recent status Being Demolished
Category Mill/Foundry
City Halton Hills, Ontario
Location # 603

In 1823 a descendant of the United Empire Loyalists by the name of George Kennedy purchased 200 acres of land upon. Mr. Kennedy constructed a woolen mill along the banks of the Credit River. A small settlement formed around the mill that took on the name of Hungry Hollow. The name was in reference to the difficult times that the settlers faced. The land was scarcely cleared, roads were poor and the area full of hungry wolves. For the first few years only two other people lived in Hungry Hollow: Marquis Goodenow and Sylvester Garrison

In the nearby settlement of Crook's Hollow lived a man named Joseph Barber and his family. The Barber family immigrated to Canada in 1822 where Joseph found work as a stonemason working for James Crooks.

The Barber sons gained experience working in nearby paper mills. The youngest and the eldest of the brothers worked in the woolen factory. The second worked in the paper-making business. The third worked in the mill-wright business.

In 1837, six years after the death of their father Joseph, the four Barber sons (Joseph, Robert, William, and James) left Crook's Hollow and moved to Hungry Hollow.

Relying upon their mill experience, the four brothers purchased a portion of George Kennedy's land and built a mill and metal foundry located south of Kennedy's mill.

By 1840 Hungry Hollow had grown to include John Sumpter's general store and Elijah Travis' planing mill. By 1842 there were two Inns, a tailor, shoemaker, carpenter and blacksmith. In 1844 a second general store opened operated by James Young. Philo Dayfoot opened a tannery and boot factory during that same year.

In 1843 the Barber mill had become successful enough that the brothers opened a second mill in the settlement of Streetsville.

Around 1853 the Barber brothers consolidated their two woolen mills in Georgetown due to failing water power. The new larger facility became known as Toronto Woolen Mills. At it's prime, the paper mill produced over 5000 pounds of paper for books and newspapers per day.

A fire in 1861 completely destroyed the Streetsville woolen mill and during that same year a boiler exploded in the paper mill at a loss of $8000.

By 1864 the population of Hungry Hollow had grown to approximately 1250 people.

In 1869 the Barber Brothers operation was dissolved. Joseph retired, Robert and William took over the Streetsville woolen mill and James took over sole operation of the Georgetown paper mill.

Upon James' death in 1880, his son John Roaf Barber took over the mill and changed the production to wood pulp. The wood pulp was used for a specialty newspaper known as Number 3, which sold for 5 cents per pound.

By the 1880's the Georgetown mill was requiring increased power to operate. To harness the power of the river a water dam was constructed with a twenty-four foot fall that was able to provide 175 horse power. John Roaf Barber hired the Brush Electric Company to create a 100-horsepower electric generator and a 60-horsepower DC motor. The generators were placed in the power house located 2.4 km downstream from the mill. Hydro electric power was transferred back to the mill by copper wire. This was the first mill of it's kind in Canada to generate electrical power for industrial production.

John Roaf continued operating the Barber Paper Mill under 1911 when he retired and sold the mill to the Provincial Paper Company who had mills in Thorold, Milleroches, and Port Arthur.

Provincial Paper was progressively shut down beginning on November 15, 1948 due to weakened financial markets. Production would eventually resume.

The Provincial Paper Company continued to operate until March 31st, 1991 when it was closed permanently.

Today the property is owned by Victor Boutin of Everlast Restoration. Mr. Boutin's plan is to convert the property into a country inn, fine-dining restaurant, and art studio. A 14 storey condominium is also to be built on the site. As of 2010 the developers had submitted their plans to the Town of Halton Hills.

Some Southern Ontario paranormal investigators believe the site to be haunted by the ghost of Robert Barber.

Writeup by OAP.

Black & White photo source: Esquesing Historical Society

FUTURE PLANS: (Added April 6th 2014 by Kenndruuh) The property is now owned by a company called Everlast Restoration. Their plan was submitted to the town of Halton Hills in 2010. They want to convert the property into a country inn, a fine-dining restaurant, and an art studio. A 14 story condominium is also to be built on the site.

Latlng: (43.661104, -79.907942)


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avatar of hgalkema
hgalkema Visited this location yesterday and unfortunately didn''t have much time to explore. Police were called and an officer escorted us off the property. He did let us take a few pictures inside before we had to leave, which was much appreciated.
Apr 08 2020
avatar of Adder
Adder If you plan on exploring the place fully, be sure to bring a flashlight because even during the day, the basement is extremely dark and there are many holes in the floor.
Jun 26 2019
avatar of Darknights
Darknights the place is still standing when I went a couple of weeks ago. pretty easy to get in from the riverside. as long as you keep quiet while you're there you shouldn't have a problem.
Apr 28 2018
avatar of Sauce
Sauce They definitely increased security on this place so be careful. Was much more difficult than it has been in the past but absolutely beautiful site!
Jan 16 2018
avatar of LivingGhost
LivingGhost Still a lot left to explore here.
Feb 22 2016
avatar of jp196400
jp196400 such a shame to loose a great piece of history
Nov 18 2013
avatar of f.o.s.
f.o.s. Why don't you post it here and add to the description?
Aug 15 2013
avatar of Kenndruuh
Kenndruuh If you want to know more about current plans and more pictures go here for my blog. OAP covered everything else :)
Aug 15 2013
avatar of ann_faith
ann_faith There was talk about what they wanted to do with this plave back in 2010 when my mom lived close was in the papers and everything...there was even some talk about saveing someof ot....but i guess the stupid condo builders won their like to send oit a bog F -U to all tje idioys that let this place get demod to the ground- and didnt fight to keep such an important and beautiful p
Jul 29 2013
avatar of rashomon
rashomon Thank you Barber Mill for so many years of fun. It won't be the same without you. You will be missed.
Jul 25 2013
avatar of The Duke
The Duke Wow I was there a few days before demo began. I'm going to miss this place. Did many fun photo shoots here over the years.
Jul 21 2013
avatar of animefreak13
animefreak13 I'm gong to go check what's left of it tonight if anyone wants to tag along
Jul 19 2013
avatar of ground state
ground state The loss of a legendary location... arguably one of the most visited site in Ontario.
Jul 16 2013
avatar of HudsonTL
HudsonTL They've started demolition to make way for the river-side condos. I suggest making a trip down before its completely gone.
Jul 15 2013
avatar of animefreak13
animefreak13 Just was there the other day it's so different with all the windows borded up
May 26 2013