We love Ontario’s historic mills.
In August 2020, we fell in love with the Paisley community while exploring Ontario’s rivers and historic architecture. We were drawn to this stunning grist mill, an incredible, historic building in a beautiful natural setting. Stark’s Mill, also once known as Paisley City Roller Mills, immediately inspired our imaginations and captured our hearts. After realizing the mill was for sale, we met with the owners Paul and Helen Crysler. They were eager to find the right stewards to pass their twenty-year project on to, and see the continued development of this landmark property.
We have since assembled a group of people who love the mill and its surroundings. Different aspects of the mill draw in different people, and the ultimate vision for the property is still in development. We know that it is worthy of continued restoration, and that it needs a sustainable business plan to help her live for another century.
James Stark built a sturdy mill on this site to last generations. It has survived years of heavy work grinding grains for local and export markets, endured heavy snows and floodwaters, and passed on through family and other owners to reach today. Now we continue the Crysler’s work of restoring the mill.
The mill’s picturesque setting and immense wooden structure captured our imagination as the kind of place we would love to go for a retreat. While we are not able to operate Nature’s Millworks, we hope to continue the Crysler’s connections to the local arts community, and add guest suites for visiting artists and others. We have also heard about the shortage of short or longer-stay accommodations in the area. Given our experience in architecture and construction, we think this is an area we might be able to contribute solutions to the community by developing some new options. We will also be using the current residence ourselves.
If you would like to track this journey with us, please get in touch!
Who we are
We are Graham & Emma Cubitt. We have always shared a common interest and desire to preserve nature and historic agricultural and industrial buildings. Emma is the principal of Invizij Architects, based in Hamilton, Ontario. The firm specializes in low-carbon passive house design, multi-residential, heritage and institutional projects and she was the architect for the reconstruction of the Caledonia Old Mill. Graham is the director of Projects and Development for Indwell, a housing charity. Together, we have worked on the adaptive reuse of various historic buildings including churches, factories, coach houses, and historic estate houses. We are in the process of creating a collective of people with a common vision for how the Stark’s Mill redevelopment can create a showcase of adapting Ontario’s industrial heritage with an underlying ethos of sustainability, while meeting a current need in the community for accommodations and retreats.
Environmental sustainability is very important to us. We are looking to once again capture the energy potential the Starks harnessed for so many years through a new micro-hydro system. We are also planning to manage the forest lands, document and increase the biodiversity.
We love food and music, and look forward to co-operating with others so that our developments at Paisley Mill can help contribute to Paisley’s vitality and renaissance.
These values form our foundation:
- heritage restoration: care for and give new life to important parts of Ontario’s built heritage, maintaining as much of the original buildings, site works, and equipment as possible
- strong local economy: support local farmers, artisans, and other rural businesses
- community: strengthen integration across social and economic strata; create accommodations for local and visiting people; continue hosting artists, social, and other events
- environment & ecology: strengthen biodiversity and water quality, support sustainable ecology practices; expand bird, fish and animal habitats; work with natural systems as renewable energy resources
- sustainability: demonstrate and educate on sustainable building techniques, land management, and energy production methods
- education: share skills, experiences, information, and ideas; host food-related workshops and events; promote sustainable living and recreation for all ages