Downtown Almonte Heritage Conservation District Study now available

Almonte Downtown - historical

The Downtown Almonte Heritage Conservation District Study  is now available here. Read the executive summary below.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In the fall of 2013, the Town of Mississippi Mills initiated this study of downtown Almonte as a potential Heritage Conservation District. The Study Area encompasses central Almonte including the historic commercial area on the south side of the river, a largely residential area on the north side of the river, and the residential area of Coleman Island, and includes the Mississippi River and its infrastructure where it passes through downtown Almonte. The Study Area comprises a total of 264 properties.

The community of Almonte is located on the Mississippi River within the larger Town of Mississippi Mills, in Lanark County. The community was established when the area was settled as a mill town beginning in the 1820s. Today, Almonte has evolved into a creative community and social hub that serves as a tourist destination, a business destination, and a residential community for families, retirees and Ottawa commuters. It is also a social and cultural hub for those in the surrounding community. Many former industrial sites have been converted to residential or commercial uses, and century-old commercial buildings have found new roles in a 21st century economy.

The cultural heritage value of downtown Almonte lies in its historical significance as an example of a 19th century mill town on the Mississippi River, its strong sense of place, its association with community well-being, its aesthetic value as a picturesque townscape, and its river-based cultural landscape. The natural appearance of the river, in combination with its cultural edges and surviving industrial, commercial, institutional and residential architecture create a compelling and unique sense of place.

Research undertaken for this study entailed an historical overview of the development of the town, a survey of existing conditions including field reviews and urban analysis, and community consultation. The assessment of cultural heritage value of the Study Area is based on the research results and the policies contained in the Community Official Plan related to the establishment of a heritage conservation district. Based on these findings, the following approach is recommended:

That the Town of Mississippi Mills:

i. Designate a portion of the Study Area as the Downtown Almonte Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. This area includes the properties on both sides of Mill Street, Little Bridge Street, parts of Almonte Street, all of Main Street West and parts of Main Street East, all of Union Street South, and parts of Queen Street extending into parts of Bridge Street; all bridges connecting these streets; the Mississippi River where it passes through downtown Almonte including infrastructure in the river and associated shorelines; and the former CPR rail bed and bridges where these pass through downtown Almonte.

ii. Designate individual resources under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act;

iii. Add “Contributing” properties outside the boundaries of the recommended HCD to the Heritage Register;

iv. Further study areas outside of the recommended HCD boundary for consideration as future Heritage Conservation Districts or Heritage Character Areas;

v. Protect surviving heritage resources in areas of low resource concentration through re-zoning under a Heritage Overlay zone;

vi. Ensure consistency across heritage conservation policies and other Town policies in managing and protecting the heritage character of individual resources, districts, character areas and their environs.

These recommendations support and are consistent with the Town of Mississippi Mills’ policy framework and strategic planning goal, to:

  • Protect and enhance the area’s built and natural heritage resources for their cultural, historic, architectural and/or economic value to the community” through “…the establishment of Heritage Conservation Districts in concentrated areas of heritage resources.” 1

1. Community Official Plan, Section 4.3.1.