What’s Your 2020-2.0 Vision?

Coordinate a Retreat, Schedule a Meeting, Create a Product, Start a Business, Record a Podcast, Organize a Dinner, Plan a Party, Arrange a Farmer’s Market, Harvest a Crop, Build a Community Resource, Establish an Institute, Run a Workshop, Develop a Prototype, Film a Vlog, and so much more…

Two years ago, we thought we were so smart… we’d just come up with a lovely pun to launch a campaign to encourage others to do all sorts of wonderful things here. We’d never had as many great ideas, or planned such an amazing schedule as we had planned for summer 2020, but then COVID happened–putting a stop to everything.

We’re optimistic about 2022, though, and so we’d like to try again… the “2020 Vision” pun doesn’t really work anymore, but maybe we can pretend this is 2020 version 2.0?

The Grist Mill and Gardens is more than just a lovely heritage site; it’s the perfect platform to build your own entrepreneurial opportunity. We’re now accepting pitches from the community for ways you would like to use this site in 2022. Maybe you want to host a retreat or special event, maybe this is the perfect place to grow or add value to a product you’ve always wanted to create, or maybe you have a whole new business you’d like to develop.

Among our many assets are the 12 acre site itself and its heritage buildings, lovely gardens, wide-open spaces, 5 acres of uncultivated farmland and creekside campground. We have A/V equipment suitable for presentations, concerts and more. Our (newly renovated!) inspected commercial kitchen is available after-hours and off-season with a variety of gear you might need. We also have online infrastructure like an ecommerce store and ticketing system as well as thousands of fans on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, email and more. We even have tables, chairs, string lights, chalkboards and all the bits and pieces that help make events here a success.

We definitely have our own plans for 2022 as we we hope to return to our usual series of community and private events, give tours and offer a range of workshops, presentations and concerts but we recognize that there’s room for so much more. Maybe you’ve got the perfect idea and the drive to make it happen…

Although we’re always willing to entertain good ideas, we’re in the middle of planning for the coming year and will be considering pitches submitted before March 15th, 2022 . We will keep whatever you submit confidential and you own your own ideas–if we can’t support your idea, you’re certainly welcome to take it elsewhere. (Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions along the way; email us at info@oldgristmill.ca.)

So, what’s your 2020-Two vision, and how can we help make it happen?


Submissions will be reviewed in the order received; we’ll be in touch within two weeks to schedule a meeting, either in person or by phone.

Recipe: Susan’s Garden Veggie Soup

Susan’s Garden Veggie Soup

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Soup
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 stalks celery including leaves, chopped
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups green cabbage chopped
  • 2 cups Swiss chard
  • 1 cup fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • Salt and peppper to taste
  • 8 to 10 cups chicken flavoured or vegetable stock

Instructions

  • Lightly brown onion and chopped celery in a few tablespoons oil. Add broth and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add seasonings, reduce heat and simmer.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Roasted Squash Soup

Roasted Squash Soup

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Soup
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 butternut or acorn squash
  • 1 grated yam
  • 8 to 10 cups chicken flavoured or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Place whole squash (pierced the skin) on rake in 375ºF oven. Bake until soft (depending on size, 45 minutes to 1 hour).
  • Cut top off whole garlic bulb, wrap in foil and bake in oven for approx 30 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly brown onion in a few tablespoons oil.
  • Add stock, scoop out soft garlic into stock. Bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Christine’s Plum Cake

Christine’s Plum Cake

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cups grist mill flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup or less milk
  • 12 plums cut in half

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup grist mill flour
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add grist mill flour, baking powder and milk. Makes a stiff batter.
  • Spread into 9×13 inch greased pan. Place plums, cut side up, on batter. Sprinkle with topping (rub butter, flour and sugar until crumbly).
  • Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Freezes well.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Kellyann’s Alsatian Torte with Berry Filling

Alsatian Torte with Berry Filling

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Base:

  • 1 1/2 cups grist mill flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Filling:

  • 3 to 4 cups blueberrries or strawberries
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Custard:

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for base in a bowl. Combine well, mixing by hand, and pat evenly into the bottom of a greased 12 inch sprinform pan.
  • Lightly mix berries, rind and sugar and sprinkle evenly over dough.
  • Whisk together custard ingredients and pour evenly over berries.
  • Bake at 325°F for 1 hour or until firm and golden brown.
  • Cool before serving.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Sour Milk Gingerbread

Sour Milk Gingerbread

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sour milk
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 3/4 tsp soda
  • 2 1/3 cups grist mill flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Instructions

  • Add milk to molasses. Mix and sift dry ingredients. Combine mixtures.
  • Add butter and beat vigorously. Pour into a buttered shallow pan and bake 45 mins at 325°F.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Christine’s Black Bottom Cupcakes

Christine’s Black Bottom Cupcakes

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 oz pkg chocolate chips or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Mix first 5 ingredients. In another bowl, mix the remainder together.
  • Fill pans with the second mixture and then top with the cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and while hot, add one square of a milk chocolate bar on top of each.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Grist Mill Cheese Baking Powder Biscuits

Grist Mill Cheese Baking Powder Biscuits

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grist mill flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup milk and water half of each
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Sift the dry ingredients. Cream butter and add to dry mix. Add rest of ingredients.
  • Roll to 1 inch thick and cut with cutter. Brush with butter and bake at 350ºF for 10 to 20 minutes.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

Recipe: Sesame Crisp Cracker Biscuit

Sesame Crisp Cracker Biscuit

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Resting Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups grist mill flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Use ungreased baking sheet.
  • Combine flour, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cheese.
  • Add water to mix. Stir until forms soft dough.
  • Turn dough onto floured surface and knead about 10 minutes.
  • Place in greased bowl. Cover with damp cloth and rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • Divide dough into four portions. Roll each piece into very thin rounds 12 inches in diameter.
  • Transfer to baking sheet and brush lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle sesame seeds on dough.
  • Bake 10 to 15 minutes until crisp.

Notes

This recipe comes from a fantastic cookbook prepared by the Friends of the Grist Mill in 2003 based on some of the most popular recipes in the Tea Room.

A Note from our General Manager

Hello friends!

I’m writing to you today with a specific and critical request for our friends and supporters.

For the last decade, our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to protect, preserve and share the rich history of our beloved heritage site. We’ve invested heavily in our heritage gardens, facilities and educational content of the place. We’ve curated arts, culture and community events, playing host to special family events like reunions, weddings and celebrations of life. We’ve presented artisan markets, informative lectures and school tours. Throughout this journey, we’ve strived to be good neighbors, and honour the essence and efforts of those who have contributed to this exceptional place over the years.

We’ve accomplished this in spite of a unique set of challenges associated with our unusual situation: we get no operating funding from any level of government and shoulder the responsibility of maintaining the site—we even have to pay property tax on a piece of land we don’t own. We continue to do this because we care deeply about this place and our community—in many ways, this is the best and most impactful work we’ve ever done.

We’re blessed to have the guidance and support of so many wonderful people, yourselves included. Volunteers have played a crucial role in providing engaging experiences for tourists, supporting community events, and fundraising for special projects on site. Our patrons, friends and neighbours have been generous in their words of encouragement and enthusiasm for what we do. This community’s steadfast support has empowered us to carry out so much of this meaningful work.

Recent times have presented us with a seemingly unending series of challenges, however, from forest fires and the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to shifts in tourism and economic changes. This year, which we anticipated as an urgently-needed rebound, took an unexpected turn when another fire in August disrupted our busiest weeks, leaving our cherished site far quieter than it should have been. Our usual reserves have already been stretched thin by the last few years of difficulties, and this most recent set-back has tipped us into a tough situation.

What we need, most urgently, is immediate revenue to get us through the winter and into the start of next season. We have lots of activities and products available for you to purchase—we’re always willing to hustle for your support. Specifically, though, there a few things that would make the biggest impact on our cashflow right away and help ensure we can weather these challenges and build into an amazing 2024:

  • Pre-purchase Season Passes: By pre-purchasing a season pass for next year, you not only support us financially but also ensure your access to a year full of heritage, events, and cherished memories.
  • Book a Stay in Our Campground: Enjoy the tranquility and beauty of our campground by booking a stay. Your visit directly contributes to the maintenance and preservation of our beloved site.
  • Spread the Word: Your advocacy and word-of-mouth support are invaluable. Share your positive experiences and memories of the Grist Mill and Gardens with friends, family, and colleagues. Encourage them to explore and engage with our historical site and any of the things we do!

(If you want to make an even bigger impact, you can always make a donation to the Grist Mill Foundation, the volunteer-run charity associated with the site, or even talk to us about sponsoring one of our events or activities in 2024.)

Your contributions, whether through pre-purchasing passes, booking a stay, or spreading the word, will strengthen our efforts to overcome these current financial hurdles and continue our mission of preserving this significant heritage site.

We remain committed to providing a place where history breathes and nature thrives, but we cannot do it without your support. Let’s stand together to ensure that the legacy of the Grist Mill and Gardens perseveres for generations to come.

For those willing to offer their support or have any questions, please reach out to us at info@oldgristmill.ca.

Thank you for your unwavering support and belief in our shared heritage.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Chris Mathieson,
Operator / General Manger

Big Renovations Underway

New cabinets and concrete countertops in our kitchen.

Through the off-season, we’ve been busy with all sorts of improvement projects around the site, from kitchen renovations and washroom upgrades to plumbing and electrical improvements. We’re also significantly expanding the deck around our Visitor’s Centre, reorganizing all our gardens (and adding some new ones) and much, much more!

As difficult as COVID has been for us (since we rely on tourist visits and hosting large events), we’ve been really fortunate in finding grants and other supports that are allowing us to make some much-needed improvements on the site.

A new wrap-around deck for our Visitor’s Centre makes the perfect place to enjoy lunch in our garden

We’re now in the process of installing new site furniture (benches, garbage barrels) as well as updated informational signage. In fact, the Grist Mill Foundation volunteer group will soon be offering up dedication plaques on our new benches as a special fundraiser for their work. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to hear about this unique opportunity to commemorate a loved one or special event on our spectacular grounds.

New slab benches provide the perfect places to stop and contemplate the beauty around you.

We’re particularly excited about the upgrades behind the scenes, like all the improvements to our kitchen including new cabinets, concrete countertops, electrical upgrades as well as a new commercial range and oven that will give us even more capacity for our Pantry Share program, for catering special events here and elsewhere and for our popular lunch service.

Serious upgrades to our kitchen equipment!

We’re also excited about our ongoing garden upgrades, which are intended to bring back some of the incredible heritage seed research and preservation done by the amazing Sharon Rempel back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It’s truly amazing how many rare heritage varieties of food and ornamental plants she was able to collect, display and share. Although bringing back her work is a long-term project, this is the season that visitors will see the largest changes to our gardens as we massively reconfigure them in exciting ways!

With all this big work happening on site right now, we hope you can make plans to come visit us this summer, we’ve got some really big things to show you!