Merrickville, a village of picturesque Victorian-era stone houses perched along the waters of the Rideau Canal, modestly claims to be Canada’s prettiest village, a claim not without merit. As Merrickville is half an hour from the edge of urban Ottawa, it is a popular destination for summer day trips.
The nearest passenger rail is in Smiths Falls, Ottawa or Brockville. The nearest airport is Ottawa-Uplands (IATA: YOW), at the southern edge of that city. Merrickville itself is reachable from Ottawa by car or (seasonally) by boat.
From Ottawa, take Highway 416 to Kemptville, then old Highway 43 one town westward to Merrickville.
From Brockville, take Highway 401 east to Maitland (exit 705) then head about half an hour straight north.
- Aylings Boat Yard, ☎ , fax: +1 613-269-2969. 9am-6pm. Rentals, docking, ice, fuel and marine service. Rideau King boat tour of canal/locks $90/person, charters available.
The village itself is small and easily covered by bicycle or on foot; a canoe permits exploration of the local shore and the canal.
The best way to see Merrickville is by walking, popping into shops and admiring the heritage houses.
- Blockhouse Museum. 10am-5pm daily (summer), weekends only in spring/fall, closed in winter. This tiny fortress, built in 1832, housed up to 50 soldiers who guarded the Canal. Restored in 1966, it now contains local artefacts and archives reflecting the history and industry of the canal and the surrounding urban and agricultural community. By donation..
- Industrial Heritage Complex, County Rd 2, Merrickville lock station, ☎ . A group of historic buildings which serve as a museum of local Merrickville industry, Collection includes foundry tools and products, woollen mill machinery, home making products, furniture and machinery for power generation. Free..
- Bicycles, canoes and kayaks may be rented locally; contact Canal Gallery.
- Paddlers may follow the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa, either going through each lock or portaging around them.
- Rideau Trail. Kingston to Ottawa hiking trail.
- Tip to Tip trail. Hiking trail through nearby Burritts Rapids.
- Spa Sans Souci, 306 St. Lawrence St., ☎ . Tue-Sat 10am-5:30pm or by appointment.
Merrickville is filled with small boutiques operated by local artists, artisans and craftspeople.
- A Touch of Whimsy, 236 St. Lawrence St., ☎ . Ladies clothing, jewellery and accessories.
- Canal Gallery, 230 St Lawrence St. (Larkspur Lane Mall), ☎ . Original art, custom framing, books, prints, canvas transfers. The same company rents bicycles, kayaks and canoes as www.canaltripping.com at the Blockhouse Park in Merrickville.
- Dorée's Habit, 212 St. Lawrence St., ☎ . Women's clothing and accessories, unique selection of scarves, jewellery and purses.
- Grotto Artworks, 110 Main Street E., ☎ . Artists' gallery with local crafts (pewter, pottery, jewellery, wood turnings, woven silk scarves, soapstone carvings, gourds and glass) and original works of art in oil, collage, acrylics, watercolour and mixed media.
- Kevin Robert Gray Glassblowing, 635 St. Lawrence St., ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 613-269-2020. Creative glass art made from recycled crystal, studio and gallery open daily for demonstrations.
- Kiss My Glass, 109 Brock Street W., ☎ . Hand-blown artistic glass created by local artisan Bronwen McKnight.
- Miller's of Merrickville, 323 St. Lawrence Street, ☎ . 10am-5pm. Country store and outdoor “Garden Fixins’ Courtyard” with vintage candles, hardware, clocks, tin barn stars, lighting, earth rugs, wreaths, garland, linen, hand-crafted decorations, pictures and frames, signs, toys, games and whimsical garden accessories.
- Mirick's Landing, 106 St Lawrence St., ☎ . Today's example of yesterday's country store; quilted bedding, braided rugs, framed prints and wall hangings, candles, furniture, books and decorative items.
- Mrs. McGarrigle's Fine Foods, 311 St. Lawrence St., ☎ , toll-free: . Cooking classes, Friday night take-out dinners, gourmet foods, kitchen gadgets and housewares. Mrs. McGarrigle's famous handmade Canadian mustards are manufactured on-site for export.
- Pottery by Boz, 330 Main St E., ☎ .
- Rideau Woodland Ramble, 210 Burritt's Rapids Road, ☎ . Trees, flowers, vines, seasonal gardening supplies, open mid-April to November "to capture the imagination of gardeners and collectors".
- Rowland Leather, 159 St. Lawrence St., ☎ , toll-free: . 10am-5pm daily. $160-260 leather handbags manufactured locally in restored 1847 stone Kemptville Store building. Short-term B&B suites above store are $175/night (with continental breakfast) at www.merrickvillesuites.ca
- Village Foundry, 117 Mill St., ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 613-269-3510. Oldest operating Canadian cast iron foundry, producing anything from signs and plaques to street fixtures. Next to the locks.
- Downtowne Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe, 165 St. Lawrence St., ☎ . 11am-5pm daily. Ice cream, ice cream cakes and confections made locally.
- Elements Bistro and Bakery, ☎ . 9am-3pm, closed Mon-Tue.
- Gad's Hill Place, 118 St. Lawrence St., ☎ , fax: +1 613-269-2973. Dining in a Victorian setting.
- Mainstreet Family Restaurant, 112 Main St. West, ☎ . 7am-8pm daily, 7am-9pm Thu-Sat.
- Yellow Canoe Café, 108 St. Lawrence St., ☎ . 11am-4pm daily. Licensed restaurant, café, bakery. Sandwiches, scones, soups, coffee, beer, wine, wide variety of desserts. Across from the Blockhouse at the Merrickville Locks.
- Goose and Gridiron, 317 St Lawrence St., ☎ . open 11am daily. Restaurant and pub, established 1856. Patio, pub fare, burgers, clam chowder, good draught beer selection on tap, large screen TV for sporting events, banquet room. $10-20/main course.
Merrickville has many small, charming bed and breakfast establishments. Two (Millisle and Wolford) are among the top 5% of Ontario B&B's as reviewed by Janette Higgins, author of “Best Places to Bed and Breakfast in Ontario”.
- Baldachin Inn, 111 St. Lawrence St., ☎ . Harry McLean’s Pub serves imported and domestic beer and wine. Baldachin Fine Dining Room offers casual dining from 11am, with savoury and organic daily specials. Wi-fi in rooms, non-smoking, pets $10/night extra. $120-230/night.
Bed and breakfast
- Aincroft House Bed & Breakfast, 323 Wallace St., ☎ . Check-in: 3pm, check-out: 11am. Wheelchair accessible retreat on a quiet wooded acreage. Large comfortable rooms with ensuite bathrooms, full breakfast. $95-105 (double).
- Millisle Bed & Breakfast, 205 Mill St., ☎ . 1840s Victorian heritage home with verandah and all the grace and tranquility of the past. $135-165 (double).
- Wolford House Bed and Breakfast., 826 County Rd. 23, ☎ . Country house with three rooms, hardwood floors, antique furnishings, en-suite bath, full breakfast. $100-115 (double).
- Merrickville Lockstation, Main St. at St. Lawrence St., ☎ , toll-free: .
- Lions Club Park Campground, Main Street (St John St. beside the Depot building), ☎ .
An unincorporated village of 3500 people on the Kemptville Creek, a few kilometres south of the Rideau River. Kemptville is the midpoint on the 416 freeway between Prescott and downtown Ottawa. The University of Guelph operates an agricultural campus in the village.
- Rideau River Provincial Park, 2680 Donnelly Dr, Kemptville, ☎ . On Rideau system, canoeing, boating, camping.
- Saunders Country Critters, 1058 County Road 44, Kemptville, ☎ . Farm with private zoo and greenhouses; garden centre with 1500 varieties of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables.
- Clothier Mills Inn, 8 Clothier St E, Kemptville, ☎ . 14-room downtown motel, refrigerators, Internet.
- Sandy Mountain, Hwy 43, 4km E of 416, Mountain Twp.. Nine-hole golf course, mini-golf, camping and RV park. Showers, toilets, convenience store, ice cream.