Old mills are at the heart of most towns in Ontario, and mark the start of the industrial boom which provided good middle class jobs for nearly everyone for over a century. However, from 2002-2012, Ontario lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs, equivalent to 30% of the industry.* Typical of many rural industrial communities, Smiths Falls is left with the challenges of a shrinking population and underused industrial buildings.
This thesis explores innovative ways to adaptively reuse the Wood’s Mill Complex in Smiths Falls in a way that positively impacts the region by reconnecting the community with their industrial heritage. The project investigates the role of social equity, cultural vitality, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in the rehabilitation process and how this contributes to community resilience.
This study of the Wood’s Mill Complex could serve as a case study for the rehabilitation of other industrial sites in rural Canada. *Rubin, 2013.