Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

May 14, 2022

The Rundown

In this episode, we learn how COVID and a fortuitous canoe trip led to an affordable housing expert and an architect buying and giving fresh purpose to a 135-year-old grist mill in Paisley, Ontario. Next, how cities and citizens can make their communities more friendly for birds, and why that makes sense for urban sustainability. So birds and flours all in one episode.

By the way, if you want to read Harrowsmith Magazine instead of listen to it you can subscribe to the print version online at and you can find Harrowsmith Magazine on selected newsstands across Canada. But for now, settle in for the next half hour of Harrowsmith Radio.

The Reborn Grist Mill

When COVID hit, Graham and Emma Cubitt wanted to get outside and away from it all. For the affordable housing expert and architect, that meant an August 2020 canoeing on the Saugeen and Teeswater Rivers, just east of Lake Huron near the little town of Paisley, Ontario. That trip, in turn, led them to discover the old Stark mill, once a thriving flour then grist mill on the Teeswater River. The mill imported grain from across Canada and delivered flour around the world through a robust railway system and the port of Owen Sound to the north. In 2002 Paul and Helen Chrysler renovated parts of the mill and opened it as Nature’s Millworks, a beloved hub for artists, crafters, and tourists to Paisley. The Cubitt’s bought the mill 18 years later, after that canoe trip. Their plans for the five-storey mill and four-storey wooden silo are ambitious, as you’ll hear. And they intend to be good stewards of the 30-acres of wetland and two kilometers of Teeswater riverfront they now own. Here’s our conversation about a conversion that started with a canoe outing.

You can learn more about the Paisley Mill at

The Sustainability of City Birds

Barry Coombs is a visual artist, an avid bird, and the former co-chair of Bird Friendly Hamilton-Burlington. Barry’s been tirelessly working to make cities more sustainable for birds, which in turn contribute to urban biodiversity and sustainably. Here’s our conversation about the biggest threats cities pose to our feathered friends and what we can do about it.

You can learn more about saving birds at

End Notes

Want more Harrowsmith? No problem. Visit our website. Or you can check out Harrowsmith Magazine on selected newsstands across Canada or you can order subscriptions online at

By the way, the music in the podcast? It's by good ol' Canadian singer, composer, and friend of the 'cast, David Archibald. You can find more of his music at his website,