Jim Angus, chairman of the Coldwater Mill Board, also sits on the board of Ontario Heritage Foundation and was part of the sub-committee that originally developed the Doors Open campaign.He said the mill is now regaining its place as a community focal point.
"We have a mandate to provide service to the community.We've set up a heritage centre and developed programs." They host free summer concerts in the bandstand, recreated like a model of the famed 'musical barn' where a violinist played in the cupola a century ago. The Coldwater Mill is also home to the popular Christmas pageant which Angus said attracts 800 to 900 people, many of them youngsters, who get to discover a piece of their past.The mill is a bustling community place, housing a museum.A café is set to open here in May, and 10 historic weather-proof plaques dot the site explaining the history of mill and how it operated, as well as telling the story of Coldwater, the oldest village in Severn Township.
Mills and Mill Villages of Severn Township – James T. AngusWallbridge House Publishing
JAMES T. ANGUS
James T. Angus
Born in 1928, James T. Angus was raised in the isolated community of Big Chute on the Severn River, where he received his elementary education in a one-room log school.
After graduating from Parkdale Collegiate in Toronto, Angus attended the University of Toronto acquiring B.A., B.Ed., and Med. degrees.In 1951 he obtained a First Class Teaching Certificate from the Hamilton Normal School and, in 1968, he graduated with a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Alberta.Angus spent 40 years in public education as a classroom teacher, principal, college master, professor and university administrator.As founding dean of education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1969, he organized the first four-year concurrent teacher education program in the province and a native teacher education program.He retired to Orillia, Ontario in 1993, where he has been active in community organizations, writing and publishing.
He is president of the Coldwater Mill Heritage Foundation, vice-chair of the Orillia Museum of Art and History, a member of the Sparrow Lake Historical Society and the Orillia Rotary Club.He was recently appointed to the board of the Ontario Heritage Foundation.Angus is the author of four books - A Respectable Ditch: A History of the Trent Severn Waterway 1833-1920 (1988); A Deo Victoria: The Story of the Georgian Bay Lumber Company 1871-1942 (1990); Severn River - An Illustrated History (1995); Mills and Mill Villages of Severn Township (1998).
Author: James T. Angus
"The Trent Canal - now the 384-km-long Trent-Severn Waterway - is a typical outcome of the conflict between history and geography, a struggle between humans and nature from which humans benefited," writes James T. Angus in the introduction to A Work Unfinished: The Making of the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Opening of the Couchiching lock (No. 42) in July, 1920 marked the final phase in the 90-year struggle to convert the natural chain of rivers and lakes between Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario into a navigable watercourse.
With a finely crafted text and over 300 illustrations, Angus tells how the "foot soldiers of history" - local politicians and merchants who promoted the canal and engineers who designed and built it - gradually overcame nature's many obstacles to navigation with 44 locks and an equal number of dams.
Angus explains why the last set of locks planned for Big Chute on the Severn River was never built (marine railways were substituted), ensuring that the waterway remains an unfinished work.
Author: James T. Angus
In Mills and Mill Villages of Severn Township, James T. Angus identifies 73 mill sites in the township.
With considerable archival detective work, he has tracked down the mills, traced the backgrounds of the millers who built them and reconstructed life in many of the now extinct villages that surrounded the mills.
OAAG online: Ontario Association of Art Galleries website
Orillia author and noted mill historian James Angus served on the board for seven years and remains a member of the non-profit organization.
"That mill is the foundation stone of Coldwater," Angus said yesterday.The group raised $120,000 to purchase the mill from a private owner in 1995, Angus noted."He was going to tear it down and sell the timber," he added. The group then raised the funds to restore the timeworn building, which required a new roof, replacement siding and extensive foundation work. "It cost us almost $300,000 to do the restoration," Angus added.
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