Backus Heritage Conservation Area is located just a short distance from Port Rowan. It features a campground with 160 sites over five campgrounds, the Backhouse Mill, the millpond, an education centre, and a heritage village, including an old pioneer cemetery. Several plaques located at the mill read as follows:
The John Backhouse Mill
John Backus emigrated from Yorkshire to the United States in 1791 but, shortly thereafter, moved to Upper Canada. He served as a Major of the 1st Norfolk militia in the War of 1812 and became a chairman of the Quarter Sessions, then the chief instrument of local government. He is believed to have erected this mill in 1798. It remained in the possession of his descendants until its purchase 1955 by the Big Creek Region Conservation Authority, having been in a continuous operation for a longer period than any mill in this province.
Erected by the Ontario Archaeological and Historic Sites Board.
Backhouse Grist Mill
This rare technological and architectural survivor of early grain milling in Upper Canada was built by John Backhouse in the 1790's. Typically found in frontier agricultural communities of the early 19th century, this heavy timber-framed structure used water power to mill grain. More contemporary machinery, added in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, was common in small-scale, commercial establishments in the countryside. These mills marked the beginning of what became one of Canada's major industries.
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Region 1: Southwest Ontario • Region 2: Niagara Canada • Region 3: Hamilton, Halton and Brant • Region 4: Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington • Region 5: Greater Toronto Area • Region 6: York, Durham and the Hills of Headwaters • Region 7: Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe • Region 8: Kawarthas and Northumberland • Region 9: South Eastern Ontario • Region 10: Ottawa and Countryside • Region 11: Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley • Region 12: Muskoka, Parry Sound and Algonquin Park • Region 13a: North Eastern Ontario • Region 13b: Sault Ste. Marie – Algoma • Region 13c: Northwest Ontario