Case study: Mudtown Station Brewery and Restaurant (Owen Sound)


Erin Semande

Economics of heritage, Buildings and architecture, Community, Food, Adaptive reuse

Published Date: Oct 01, 2019

Location: 1198 1st Avenue East, Owen Sound
Owner: City of Owen Sound
Partners: Kloeze Family (Mudtown Station Inc.)
Original use: Passenger train station (Owen Sound Canadian Pacific Railway Station)
Current use: Restaurant/brewery

The Owen Sound Canadian Pacific Railway Station (CPR), designed in the international modern style, was constructed in 1946-47. It was one of four stations built as part of the CPR’s modernization program that began after the Second World War. It is the only CPR station from this era that remains intact.

The station sat vacant for almost 30 years and suffered fairly significant interior fire and water damage. The City of Owen Sound bought the station in 2010 and undertook several restoration projects to secure the building exterior (roof, soffit, fascia repairs, new exterior pot lights, window repair, sill repair and brickwork repointing) and interior (lead paint removal, mould and asbestos removal) to try and secure a tenant for the building. Interior alterations were kept to a minimum by the city to ensure that the building would be suitable for any future tenant.

Mudtown Station Brewery and Restaurant

Mudtown Station Brewery and Restaurant

Mudtown Station Brewery and Restaurant (Photo: City of Owen Sound)

The Kloeze family fell in love with the property when they were on a tour during Doors Open Owen Sound in 2014. Fast forward a few years until the timing was right, when the Kloeze Family (Mudtown Station Inc.) responded to a request for proposal and negotiated a lease with the city to transform it into a brewery and restaurant.

Despite all of the restoration work taken on by the city, there was still a lot of work to be done on the interior. The Kloeze family revitalized the station’s interior through 595 hours of in-kind labour. The Kloezes were responsible for restoring the interior, including the original washrooms, light fixtures, tile floors, ceiling and birch panelling, and adding an accessible washroom, full commercial kitchen and brewing equipment.

City of Owen Sound staff said that the “the biggest challenge was the patience it took to find a tenant who appreciated the heritage attributes of the property and had a clear vision that aligned with Council’s vision for the heritage property and the waterfront.”

Mudtown Station opened in May 2018 and is serving up craft beer and local food to residents and tourists. The partnership between the Kloezes and the city demonstrates the importance of securing a tenant with a clear vision and appreciation of the property’s unique heritage attributes and the ability to attract people to Owen Sound’s waterfront.

The significant heritage features of the former station are protected with an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement and by the municipality with an Ontario Heritage Act designation bylaw. The rehabilitation project associated with this property was recognized and awarded a Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award in February 2019.