Keremeos’ historic grist mill is grateful and excited to have been awarded a “huge” grant to improve the site’s grounds.
The Grist Mill and Gardens Historic Site was awarded $150,000 in funding through the Heritage Infrastructure stream of the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP).
The funds are designated to restore and improve the heritage gardens and landscaping on the site, returning them to their original status “as one of the best heritage gardens in Canada,” reads a news release from the Grist Mill issued Feb. 22.
The Grist Mill is known for being Western Canada’s only working heritage waterwheel-powered flour mill. However, it has also been at the front and centre of heritage garden interpretation, seed saving and research movement over the last 30 years, said general manager Chris Mathieson
“One of the site’s first interpreters, Sharon Rempel, was a true visionary who saw, before many others, the value in collecting and preserving endangered and historically-important fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants,” Mathieson said.
“It’s not an understatement to say that her work in these gardens, which wasn’t even her main job, has had a massive influence on the modern popularity of artisanal bakeries that are using heritage grains, on the seed companies that are reintroducing heritage varieties for sale and now an apple cider industry specifically interested in the sorts of heritage apple varieties she collected for this site.”
Over the next twelve to eighteen months, this funding will be used to re-landscape large portions of the site to highlight the significant heritage seed research and collection done on-site. It will also provide improved outdoor amenities including a multipurpose garden gazebo and install expanded interpretive signage among other improvements.
Sharon Rempel’s original garden designs for the site, developed between 1989 and 1991, will serve as the foundation and inspiration for much of the work undertaken.
The Grist Mill plans to share more specifics later in the spring and summer at a series of community engagement events.