Inventor Thomas Wilson developed a process for producing calcium carbide in 1892 and founded the Ottawa Carbide Company. He sold the American patent for the process to a firm which later became the Union Carbide Company. He built a mill on Victoria Island between 1899 and 1900 to produce acetylene gas (a product of calcium carbide). The building, which Wilson helped to design, was attractive in appearance (with stone exterior) and innovative in design. It was planned with a compartmentalized layout to mitigate the dangers of acetylene gas production. The buildings escaped the Great Fire in 1900 but were twice damaged by fire in the 1970s.
In October 29, 1901 there was an explosion in the mixing room that killed one man. Its later history is mixed. In 1922 the RCAF established an aircraft repair depot. From 1944-45 the RCAF Photographics and Records Section was located there.
By 1971 the NCC had acquired the property around the mill for recreational use. In 1972 the mill was designated as a heritage building. The 2 story portion of the building burned in one of the two fires of 1975 or 1978. In the 80's and 90's native squatters occupied the building as part of a land claim dispute. Victoria Island had been used by the Algonquin Indians as a portage around the Chaudiere Falls and is of great spiritual significance to them.