Lost Mills of the Humber River

"Lost Mills of the Humber River" and the Humber River Bingo have been created for the enjoyment of young people. Listen to the spoken word story and discover more about how water power drew colonists to settle along the Humber River in the first phase of the urbanization and industrialization of York County and the future city of Toronto.

Heritage York acknowledges the lands we are on were part of and subject to the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and the Confederacy of the Anishinaabe and allied nations, to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes including along the Humber River.

We also acknowledge this land has been sacred territory of ancestral Wendat and Tionontati First Nations, Haudenosaunee peoples, and most recently Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Today, Toronto is home to many indigenous people from across Turtle Island, including Métis, and we celebrate the Covenant which binds all generations to protect and care for these sacred lands on which we gather today.

To learn more about mills on the Humber River:

Benn, Carl. The King’s Mill on the Humber, 1793-1803: Toronto’s First Industrial Building. Etobicoke Historical Society, 1979.

Fisher, Sidney Thomson. The Merchant-Millers of the Humber Valley: A Study of the Early Economy of Canada. Toronto, NC Press Limited, 1985.

Macia, Mireille and Cohnstaedt, Joy. Lost Mills of the Humber River. Etobicoke Historical Society, 2020.


“The Lost Mills of the Humber River” exhibition was largely made possible because of the involvement of various individuals and institutions.

For the opportunity to develop and implement the exhibition, I am grateful to Heritage York.

For the excellent advice and encouragement I received in creating the exhibition, I am grateful to Joy Cohnstaedt and Mireille Macia.

For the creative exhibition design by my internship colleague, Defne Inceoglu, I sincerely thank you.

The contributions of these institutions to “The Lost Mills of the Humber River” are sincerely appreciated:

  • Archives of Ontario
  • Baldwin Collection of Canadiana, Toronto Public Library
  • Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
  • Joan Miles, West Toronto Junction Historical Society
  • The Etobicoke Historical Society
  • The Royal Ontario Museum
  • The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto Libraries

Funding for this project was made possible by the Government of Canada’s CSJ

Devin Benczik

Master of Museum Studies and Master of Information Studies

Graduate Student Intern, 2019

University of Toronto

Exhibition curated by Devin Benczik, Master of Museum Studies and Master of Information Graduate, 2020.

Exhibition design by Defne Inceoglu, Master of Museum Studies Graduate, 2020.

Online exhibition created by Kate Campbell, Master of Information and Master of Museum Studies Graduate, 2019.

Audio recording by Mireille Macia.

Audio editing by Kate Campbell.

Audio written by Joy Cohnstaedt, Mireille Macia, and Paivi Evars.

June 2020