The historic Yorkton brick flour mills kicked off a fund-raising drive on Dec. 6, 2021 to raise $2.2 million for a major expansion of the mill to include an interpretive centre, meeting and event facilities, spaces for use by businesses, community archives and offices.
Capital campaign chair Terry Tyson made a presentation to City Council providing details of the campaign and what it will accomplish at the mill site at the corner of Livingstone Street and Beck Avenue, along the rail line that the mill once shared with grain elevators.
The Mill Society is planning a two-level addition to the east side of the mill. It will house an atrium which will provide access to the mill itself for tours once interior renovations are finished, as well as an interpretive centre which will focus on rebuilding connections between today's society and agriculture, which has long been the backbone of local and prairie economies.
At one time the mill was a vibrant gathering place for the fledgling Yorkton community, and the Mill Society feels the addition to the historic mill can again fulfill that purpose.
Yorkton's historic ﬂour mill, also known as the "brick mill" because of the construction material, is one of the oldest remaining buildings from the community's early years. Yorkton moved south from its original location in 1891 to be alongside the newly-built rail line, and in 1898 John J. Smith built the ﬂour mill with bricks from his own brick plant to support the new settlement's agricultural base.
Over the next 80 years, the old mill changed ownership a number of times before falling into disuse in the late 1980s. It is now one of the last remaining heritage mills in Saskatchewan, and the only one of its kind made from brick, and it is also the oldest remaining local commercial/agricultural heritage site.
The objective of the new capital campaign is to create a new agricultural interpretive centre to educate and promote connections between society and agriculture and to restore the mill site to a thriving cultural hub and gathering space.
The new complex will be connected to the historic mill via a two-storey main entrance directly into the interpretive centre and its walk-in interactive agricultural displays. These will tell the stories of primary producers and prairie agri-businesses, demonstrating their focus on generating safe and wholesome food products by sustainable means.
The rest of the complex will be a vibrant, bustling hub of activity. It will offer a mid-sized event centre, shared meeting space for service groups, artists, youth and seniors, as well as office spaces and spaces for use by businesses.
It will house a community archives for use by scholars, researchers and historians.
The exterior grounds provide a comfortable, park-like setting featuring large aluminum panel signs that display important aspects of Yorkton’s history, including York Colony, the railroad, and the signing of Treaty 4.
The building will feature the iconic railway station roof design reflecting York Colony’s relocation to the railway in the late 1890s. The building design will seek to minimize carbon footprint and maximize sustainability.
The building will adopt state of the art technology, creating a juxtaposition of the past and the present - a stunning mix of character and modernity that will be a coveted location for tenants and events, such as:
The following have made a commitment to support the capital campaign to date:
City of Yorkton $300,000 in matching funds;
Kinsmen Club of Yorkton $250,000
Harvest Meats $100,000
Legacy Co-op $100,000
Ernie Aniuk $100,000
Grain Millers $100,000
Richardson International $50,000
Rotary Club of Yorkton $25,000
Royal Auto Group and the Terry Ortynsky family $25,000
Allan Bailey family $25,000
Cornerstone CU $10,000
RBKR Law $10,000
Baker Tilly $5,000
Bode Family $2,500
RM of Walllace $2,500
RM of Orkney $2,000
Wagner's Flooring $1,500
Sperling Industries $1,500
PCL Construction $1,000
National Bank $500
To date $1,111,500
Launch of the fundraising campaign,
December 6, 2021
at Yorkton City hall