The Alton Mill, also known as the Beaver Knitting Mill, was originally built in the 19th century. It is an industrial stone complex buried in the bank of Shaw’s Creek right in the heart of Alton Village. The complex is comprised of two main entities, the two-storey mill and the three-storey water tower. Industrialist William Algie the “free thinker”, established the Alton Mill in 1881. Today, it remains the longest-running water-powered mill on the upper Credit River system as it remained in operation until 1982.
In 1988, the mill was acquired by Jack Grant, entrepreneur, social activist and founder of Seaton Group, a land developer that works in small towns near the Greater Toronto Area. was a mere $150,000. Their real estate agent advised them to tear the building down as the land beneath it fetched a higher price on its own. Jack and his two sons Jeremy and Jordan, who had taken over management of the company at the time, had a devotion to the building that was unyielding. They were not prepared to give it up so easily. They developed a plan to turn the structure into a unique blend of art studios, retail, special event space and a restaurant. With all the elements in place, this revitalization would a become tourist destination and breathe life back into the Alton Mill.
Construction began in autumn of 2006, and continued through to spring of 2009. The project was extensive both . Restoration included preserving stored energy already inherent in the existing building and adding more modern energy-conservation features to help the Alton Mill be not only attractive, but more sustainable than ever before. While the original budget for the project was exceeded, the Seaton Group saw this project as in dollars.
The Town of Caledon has since recognized the Alton Mill for its heritage value by law. Today, the historical landmark is used for special events such as weddings, anniversary parties and corporate events. The Alton Mill is proud to be one of the most popular Canadian venues for young artists. This historical gem is used to showcase local artists and provide visitors with the opportunity to support them by purchasing local artwork. The centre also a number of classes and workshops that visitors can take in various art forms, including painting, drawing, photography and pottery.