Everyone loves a good abandoned building, whether you are interested in exploring, knowing the history, or just curious about how the building is still standing.
Northern Ontario experienced a population boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and with it came an explosion of new industrial buildings, homes, services, and schools. As its population shifts away from certain areas and industries, it leaves a wealth of abandoned buildings in its wake. McFadden mill was one of those forgotten buildings, consumed by the forest around it and hidden, just waiting to be discovered.
What is McFadden Mill?
Deep in the forest of Northern Ontario lies McFadden Mill. We aren’t sure of the actual name of the Mill and are just going off of information that was passed down through my family. This old Mill sits on the banks of the Vermillion River just North West of the city of Sudbury.
This Mill has captured my family’s interest for years; a secret location passed down from generation to generation. It was first discovered (in our family at least) by my grandfather, who frequented the area for fishing. He soon took my Dad to this secret place, and after many years my Dad would show me.
How To Find The Mill
Getting there is a whole day affair, but if you pack a picnic lunch and your fishing gear, it makes a great adventurous outing. This article goes into detail about how to find this abandoned Mill for yourself. Always come prepared for anything, and bring plenty of water and food and a charged phone and GPS if you are new and unfamiliar with the area. It is also essential to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Getting to McFadden Mill will require three different modes of transportation: a car, an ATV, or bike, and your legs! Although it is possible to drive to the trailhead and walk in, it is not advised as it adds significantly to the trail length.
For the sake of clarity, we will start our journey heading north from Lively, ON.
Traveling northwest on RR 24, you will turn right onto Highway 144 north towards Chelmsford.
Continue north; you will cross two large power lines; the entrance to the trail is on the left-hand side of the road, under the second powerline.
Once you have parked your car at the trailhead, you can bike, ATV, or hike down the trail, following the powerlines west.
Follow this trail straight until you reach a river; you may see other people fishing at this spot.
Continue north (against the flow of the river). The trail gets tricky as you will need to cut through some of the bush. This is not a well-defined trail; stick as close to the river as you can, keeping the river within earshot.
Continue north until you find the Mill!
No one knows just how old McFadden mill actually is; from the stone frame, we place it around mid 1800’s-the 1900s. Due to its abandoned nature, you should keep in mind that it is not maintained at all and can be dangerous to walk around. Teenagers have thrown parties here, so there may be broken glass and rusted metal.
There are also several large metal-lined pits around the Mill, full of various debris. Avoid them at all costs; if you happen to fall in, you will likely be severely injured and unable to get out. The rapids near the river are also quite strong, so if you are going to do any fishing, stay on the mill side of the river.
Enjoy discovering this old Mill for yourself, and remember to pack out what you pack in, practicing leaving no trace so that others may enjoy this area as well.
If you or anyone you know has any information on this area or the Mill, please leave a comment; my Dad would greatly appreciate it.