Dubbed ‘the Jewel of the Rideau’, Merrickville has become a favourite weekend getaway spot on the gorgeous Kingston-Ottawa Rideau Heritage Route. Located near the mid-point of the Rideau Canal system, Merrickville evokes fond memories of times gone by. You won’t find any parking meters or traffic lights here but you might find the Town Crier and very friendly villagers.The Rideau Canal, a monumental early 19th-century construction covering 202 km of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers from Ottawa south to Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario, was built primarily for strategic military purposes at a time when Great Britain and the United States vied for control of the region.
Merrickville is home to a variety of artists: glassblowers, potters, painters, sculpture, metalsmith, jewellery makers and much more. Many artists open their studios daily for the visitors’ enjoyment. Others Merrickville artists chose to display their work in a local gallery or artists’ cooperative shop.
Merrickville is renowned for its boutiques, which are filled with one-of-a-kind items made by local artists and artisans. Their unique talents are on display at studios where craftsmen demonstrate their trade as well as sell their wares. Glassblowing, leather-working and baking are just a few of the skills you can witness firsthand. You can buy the creations made before your eyes. The village streets are lined with shops carrying such things as home & gardening accessories, locally-made products, specialty foods, antiques, furniture, collector’s items, art of all kinds and more.
When visiting Merrickville, you can find a myriad of activities to enjoy, whether you want a relaxing vacation or one filled with new adventures. Merrickville has something for everyone with activities such as: fishing, canoeing & kayaking, cycling, hiking & walking, birdwatching, skating, cross country skiing & snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and more.
Take a walk down the marvellous Dam Trail or Rideau Walking Trail, visit the Rideau Bird Sanctuary, canoe or kayak along the Rideau, skate on the village ice rink, and enjoy the wondrous outdoors that Merrickville has to offer. These great outdoor amenities are perfect for your furry four-legged friends as well! Merrickville is a great place to bring your whole family, including the pets! We have pet friendly accommodations and shops and we ask that you please remember to poop and scoop.
Need another reason to visit Merrickville?
The Jewel of the Rideau…formed by history, brought together by community.
Getting To Merrickville
From within Ontario and from the Quebec border, Merrickville may be reached via Highway 401 which runs alongside the St. Lawrence River.
The exit off the 401 is #705. From that head north up County Road #15 until you reach the village (about 46 km). From Ottawa, go south on Highway 416 and take exit #34 which is County Road #43. Go west on CR #43, past Kemptville to Merrickville (18 km).
As an alternative scenic route from downtown Ottawa, follow the Prince of Wales south past Manotick, all the way to North Gower; turn left onto County Rd #5 to Becketts Landing, then veer right onto County Rd #2 which will take you right to Merrickville where you can turn left at the junction with Hwy 43 and enter the Village.
The Village of Merrickville-Wolford spans the Rideau River southwest of Ottawa. The current municipality dates to 1 January 1998 when the Village of Merrickville and Wolford Township amalgamated. Merrickville, where village streetscapes reflect the era of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, has blossomed into a favoured tourist destination. Merrickville has deep Loyalist roots. Lieutenant Roger Stevens, a King’s Ranger from Vermont, lived with his family at the north side of the Rideau River by 1791 above what is now Andrewsville. His mill was at the Great Falls, the future site of Merrickville. However his untimely death by drowning ended his early improvements.
Captain William Merrick, a Massachusetts Loyalist, received a Crown Grant of 200 acres at the Great Falls in 1793. He completed Stevens’ unfinished mill and developed water-powered industries. Intrepid settlers moved toward to the region.
The three sons of Benedict Arnold received land grants on the west side of Wolford Ward south of the current Kilmarnock Lockstation. In addition to Merrickville, the village comprises smaller communities in Wolford Ward. Only Easton’s Corners and Jasper to the west stand as more than names on a map. Easton’s Corners was named for Joseph Easton, a Loyalist, who settled in the area in the 1790s. Jasper, a later community, owes its origin to the arrival of the railway in 1859. To the east Andrewsville was founded around water power.
The Merrickville flourished with the opening of the Rideau Canal in 1832. What was built as a defensive work, to bypass the St. Lawrence River should there be another war with the United States, immediately became a transportation route for the settlers coming to the interior and the growing number of businesses. More than 50 industries clustered by the river. Grist mills, sawmills, a cloth factory, woollen mills and foundries accompanied manufacturers of farm equipment and domestic goods, along with a tannery, creamery, cheese factory, and other industries essential to supplying an increasingly populous Canada.
Merrickville survived the late arrival of the railway in the 1870s and flourished until the shocks of the 20th-century. Over the past four decades, they have been relegated to the past. Merrickville-Wolford is committed to an attractive living and working environment based on preserving the the community’s heritage character and natural resources.Written by Michael Whitaker of the Historical Society