Mill Lofts, 45 Cross Street and 26 Ontario Street

The factory at 45 Cross St. (mainly along Arthur St. frontage) was built for the Guelph Worsted and Spinning Co. beginning in 1902. It is an example of the rapid growth of major industries in St. Patrick’s Ward during the early 20th Century. Separate sections of the complex display the skills of two of Guelph’s best-known, turn-of-the-century architects, W. Frye Colwill (Carnegie Library, Torrance School) and Wm. A. Mahoney (Tytler School). The masons’ craftsmanship is evident especially in the arched lintels and corbelled brick cornices. For these reasons, it is now appropriate to designate portions of the exterior of the structure as it is being prepared to be adaptively re-used for residential purposes (2003).

W. Frye Colwill was the designer of the first section, on Queen St. East (now Arthur St. South), opposite Alice St. (Section 1, Schedule 1). It was built in 1902 as a two-storey, timber-framed, brick structure with a low-slope gable roof. A flat-roofed, timber-framed, three-storey brick addition filled in the Queen St. frontage, all the way to Cross Street, in 1907 (Section 2, Schedule 1). Some brickwork details, identical to the 1902 section, suggest that the 1907 addition was probably also designed by W. Frye Colwill.

In 1920, a third major three-storey section was added, fronting on Cross Street, from plans prepared by Mahoney & Austin (Section 3, Schedule 1). It has a reinforced concrete framework for its ground floor and for its exterior walls which originally contained large, multi-paned windows atop brick spandrels. The rest of the internal framework combines timber posts and beams with steel trusses. Section 3 is not part of the designation. At the same time, Mahoney & Austin placed a brick and steel third storey on top of the 1902 two-storey portion, noticeably wider than the original and featuring a gable roof (Section 4, Schedule 1). Many other accessory structures have been part of the complex but of these only the “Powerhouse Chimney” and the gable- roofed “Bleach House” in the southerly yard are part of the current heritage designation.

The mill continued to turn out worsteds, yarns, and/or carpet fibres until 1975, operated by Guelph Worsted Spinning, Guelph Carpet & Worsted Spinning Mills, Guelph Yarns, Newlands-Harding Yarns and Dobbie Industries. It has been used for a combination of commercial and industrial uses since 1978, most notably by Len’s Mill Store.  Today, the building houses condominium loft units in the heart of what is now becoming a popular mixed-use neighbourhood.

Source: City of Guelph Designation By-law (2003)-17098 amended by (2003)-17144