Wickens Dry Ice Blasting Restores 19th Century Mill Left Vacant for Two Decades

Wickens Dry Ice Blasting restores 19th century mill that has been left vacant for two decades. The historic Alton Mill a 23,000 square foot structure, is given new life, starting with the mold remediation and cleaning expertise of Wickens Dry Ice Blasting.

Once part of a thriving industrial centre, servicing the former village of Alton, now Caledon, the Historic Alton Mill sat vacant, unheated, unoccupied for nearly two decades. The owners, Jere

my and Jordan Grant (of Alton Development Inc., affiliate of the Seaton Group) enlisted Wickens Dry Ice Blasting, and a special project team to head the restoration that would have the Mill operating as a school, and creative arts studio for the surrounding area.

Receiving two-tier funding from the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, RED (The Rural Economic Development Program, a program dedicated to infusing new life into rural communities throughout Ontario) and CHPIF (the Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund, a program that helps owners upgrade their heritage building) commandeered the project, assisting financially with the cleanup and restoring project.

Hugging the banks of Shaw’s Creek, the 23,000 square foot stone and wood mill suffered the wear of weather and time. Decay, mold, dirt and stone deterioration threaten the integrity of the massive structure. Much of the concern was that the building and its materials would be over-cleaned, destroying years of historic character and precious protective coating of patina that now covered the Mill.

The project team assigned to the restoration of the mill consisted of designers, consultants, and specialized construction companies, and its head architect Catherine Nasmith. After thorough research into dry ice blasting and teams of dry ice blasting, Alton Development Inc.’s project team called Wickens Dry Ice Blasting to test and clean the Historic Alton Mill.

The building had been cleaned before using sandblasting however the current state of the structure and the integrity of the stone would not allow for this procedure, for threat of destroying the original materials.

Upon their initial visit Wickens Dry Ice Blasting brought a dry ice unit and proceeded to conduct extensive testing that illustrated how efficient dry ice blasting is on heritage buildings.

Jeremy Grant, Vice President of planning and development for Seaton Group stated, how the testing and the results were, “very impressive. The mold was successfully removed, as was the caked on dirt, yet the method was very sensitive to the building’s charm.”

Wickens Dry Ice Blasting cleaned the mill by providing mold and remediation services and also cleaned its turbine room which is now open to the public as an exhibit showcasing the history of the building and the community.

The overall project received a National Achievement Award from the Heritage Canada Foundation to honour the individuals and groups that were involved in the restoration of the mill.

Patina is a film that is developed by weather elements over time that protects the original material from erosion. A more recognized form of patina is the green coating that forms on copper or bronze statues as per above example.