The Gilmour steam mill ruins allow us to touch and experience our local history. Located downtown Hull and easy to access.
The following historical information was written by Michael Davidson on April 1998 and provided by the University Of Ottawa.
"Between 1873 and 1930 the Gilmour and Hughson Company had a lumber mill operation at the eastern part of Jacques-Cartier Park.
Gilmour and Hughson built the Brewery Creek office and a new mill in 1893. In the mill logs clamped to carriages would be forced by steam engines against high speed saw blades. The cut lumber was carried by horse drawn railcars and stacked over the area of the modern Jacques Cartier Park. It would be loaded onto barges from either the Hull wharf, then known as the ship yards, or their own wharf at the bottom of Brewery creek.
In the year 1900 the great fire swept through Hull. Two million board-feet of of their stacked wood was lost although the office building was spared. As a result of the fire there was widespread public protest against the practice of stacking wood inside city limits. The International Pulp and Paper Company bought the site in the 1920’s and the company was dismantled in 1930. The Federal District Commission purchased the land from the IPPC in 1933 and removed the entire mill infrastructure excepting the head office and mill smokestack. The smokestack was demolished in the 1950’s.
The Gilmour Hughson Building (1892) is located at the north end of the park and houses La Maison du vélo. It is one of the last sites on the Ottawa River linked to the Gilmour Hughson Lumber Company, a major Canadian lumber company in the 1800s.
The ruin foundation is about 9.2 meters across along the waterfront and 8.9 meters deep. The front wall is 2.8 meters high and 70 cm thick. In the walls there are two openings each only 75 cm wide - one facing the river and the other facing north. Perhaps there was a door at the back which is now lost. The concrete used in the building has aged well. There is no floor visible. Instead it looks like the building had red brick walls and one of these walls had tumbled down flat inside. There is also a pile of sawdust dumped there. The bottom lintel of the front door was finished using some kind of mechanical stone cutter/grinder. At the bottom of the south wall there are other finely finished architectural stones which were not originally destined for this rough project.
There is a short riveted steel tower which was likely set up as a convenient steering mark for boats rounding the bend at Rockcliffe Park. Its riveted construction suggests that it was fabricated around 1920. If you go due east from the tower you will see in the river remains of the company wharf. That wharf almost certainly dates to the 19th century. The steel tower was likely built after the mill closed else it would have interferred with traffic on and off the wharf. Various kinds of debris are found in the shallow water to the south of the wharf and tower along the shore of the Ottawa."
Michael Davidson - April 1998., http://aix1.uottawa.ca/~weinberg/gilmour.html