a history of milling

     June 2007
     Pine Grove, Ontario:
     The lands located on the east half of lots 9, 10 and 11 of concession 7 were first patented to David Thompson on May 20, 1801. By 1830, it was a well settled community on the banks of the East Humber River. John Smith (Schmidt), a farmer from Edgely, England came to Pine Grove where he erected a grist mill and saw mill in 1828. In 1831 he built a store. In 1840 John Smith sold the mill to John W. Gamble who later became the first reeve of Vaughan Township. The mill was sold to Gooderham and Worts (Toronto distillers of fine grain spirits) in 1860. By the time of Confederation, Pine Grove was home to a flour mill, churches, three hotels, a Blacksmith shop, harness shops, a spool factory, one common school and a large general store with a post office. A Stage Coach ran daily to Weston.

     On October 15, 1954, Pine Grove was hit by Hurricane Hazel. The flooding of the village along Islington Avenue destroyed several buildings and the mill dam. The flour mill kept grinding away until it was the last operating mill on the Humber River.  Harold Hayhoe on June 1, 1935 bought Hicks Flour Mills in Pine Grove and renamed it Hayhoe Bros. He became the seventh owner of the mill dating back to 1828 and he paid more for the land that came with the business than the mill itself. Freshly graduated from the University of Toronto, Engineering, he took the advice of his father in the middle of the Depression and "got in the food business". Harold's brother Edwin joined him shortly after and a third brother Boyce came in 1939. 

     For years the Hayhoe Bros. operated the mill in Pine Grove, Ontario and built it into an efficient wheat milling business. Harold's son, John Hayhoe joined the company in 1964, one year after graduating from the University of Western Ontario. In 1964 Harold Hayhoe bought out his two brothers Edwin and Boyce. In 1968, Hayhoe Bros. became Hayhoe Mills Ltd., an Ontario Limited Corporation.

      Harold Hayhoe passed December 30, 1987 after selling the mill to John and his brother Don. In 1994, John Hayhoe, who had built up the wheat milling business in Pine Grove , bought out his brother. John Hayhoe solely owned the business until 1998 when he sold it to his sons Mark, Greg and Dean Hayhoe. The mill ground on under the third generation, becoming Canada's largest organic wheat flour mill. In March 2007 the mill was sold to New Life Mills, a division of Parrish and Heimbecker Limited. John Hayhoe, after a battle with Parkinson's disease passed on June 20, 2007; the same day the transition of the mill to the new owners was complete.

     On July 1, 2008, Canada's 141st birthday, Hayhoe Mills was konsumed by fire. For the first time in 180 years, the sounds and scents of grinding grain no longer hang softly in the cool, soothing air of the Pine Grove valley on the Humber.



     Mark Hayhoe setup k2MILLING in 2004 and has been actively milling lokally grown, whole grain flours since 2007. Milling in the spirit of 19th century Pine Grove. Once upon a time every village had a mill. Grind on.