A visit to the Mill of Kintail is just what the doctor ordered!
While at the Mill of Kintail, tour through the museum, located in an old grist mill turned house, which showcases the life and works of Doctor Robert Tait McKenzie.
The museum exhibit ‘Summer at the Mill’ is very fitting considering Dr. McKenzie and his wife Ethel used the Mill as their summer home and sculpture studio in the 1930s. The couple hosted guests from around the world from artists to politicians. They spent many glorious summer days with friends swimming and canoeing in the Indian River which runs alongside the property. The exhibit showcases photos like the ones shown above which include Sir Robert Borden, Canada’s eighth Prime Minister, and his wife posing with Ethel McKenzie in front of the entrance to the Mill.
This exhibit will surely make you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time!
Here’s a peek at some of the photos you’ll see:
In 1931, Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie purchased the tumble-down Baird’s Mill on the Eighth Line of Ramsay, near Almonte. He had it converted into his summer studio and renamed it the Mill of Kintail. Montreal architects Nobbs and Hyde were commissioned to do the work, creating a fine example of early adaptive reuse of an old stone building. For seven years, McKenzie and his wife Ethel made the long road trip from their home in Philadelphia to this idyllic studio nestled in the Ottawa Valley.
Tait McKenzie was a keen naturalist, taking long walks in the woods behind the Mill every day. In addition to collecting and identifying native wildflowers and trees, he was also passionate about finding fungi, such as the large, fleshy puffballs found on his property. (Lycoperdon pyriforme) “The Mill was a great source of pleasure for McKenzie. He loved to walk in his woods and had endless paths and charming wooden bridges built over the creek. He often found huge puff-balls that grew as big as basketballs.” (The Joy of Effort, Jean McGill).
Tait McKenzie and his concert pianist wife Ethel loved to entertain. Summertime guests included artists, poets, diplomats, members of the military and business people. Prime Minister McKenzie King was a frequent visitor. Guests could be seen swimming at the dam behind the Mill, while Madrigal singers wandered the grounds, their voices “accompanied by the rushing water of the mill stream, the spruce trees nodding their heads in approval.” (Mill of Kintail Archives)