The Merrickville Blockhouse
The Blockhouse Musuem was originally a defensive building built by Col. By to protect the Rideau Canal from possible invasion. By the time it was completed in 1832, the threat of invasion had passed and the building was repurposed as the home for the lockmaster and his family. Sgt. Johnston and his wife and children lived in the Blockhouse from 1833 to 1855. The Blockhouse has had many other purposes in the intervening years, including a storage facility and a church. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 1939, but was largely abandoned until Transport Canada decided to demolish it in the early 1960s. The community of Merrickville raised funds and created the Merrickville and District Historical Society to renovate the Blockhouse in partnership with Parks Canada.
The Blockhouse Museum opened for the first time in 1967 and has opened every summer since. Its mandate is to preserve the heritage and history of Merrickville-Wolford and the surrounding districts, and provide access to the public to this heritage and to the building.
Planning Your Visit
Please note the the Merrickville Blockhouse Museum is closed for the summer 2020 season.
Spring Hours: 12 PM to 4 PM Saturday and Sunday (from mid-May until mid-June)
Summer Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM 7 days a week (mid-June to Labour Day weekend)
Fall Hours: 12 PM to 4 PM Saturday and Sunday (from Labour Day Weekend to Thanksgiving)
Where are we?
The Blockhouse Museum is situated on the corner of Main Street and St. Lawrence Street in Merrickville, Ontario. Parking is available at Blockhouse Park, which is accessible from Main Street.
The Blockhouse Museum entrance and ground floor are accessible. Access to the second story is only available via a staircase. MDHS is committed to providing alternative access to the information and collections housed on the second story, including "virtual" tours using photographs.
Please note that there are no washroom facilities available in the Blockhouse Museum. Between the May long weekend and Thanksgiving weekend, visitors are welcome to use the Parks Canada facilities at the Merrickville Lockstation, located next to the turning basin (across the street and down the stairs).
During the Blockhouse Museum's summer season, tour groups are welcome during regular hours. To arrange guided tours, or to arrange tours outside of regular operating hours, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our exhibits are made up of items donated by community members, and reflect the evolution of Merrickville-Wolford.
Use the gallery below to explore our exhibits!
Centered around the hearth, the only heat source of the Blockhouse, our recreation kitchen houses many interesting items including as a blueberry picker and an adjustable stroller/high chair.
The second story of the Blockhouse holds several galleries including the Domestic Gallery, where washing machines and spinning wheels can be found. And of course the Lincoln Logs, our most popular table!
Long before Merrickville was a quaint tourist destination, it was an industrial hub. Our Industrial and Agricultural Galleries house examples of some of the tools used in Merrickville's development.
This gallery, designed by Parks Canada, tells the history of the Rideau Canal and its importance in the development of both Eastern Ontario and Canada.
Students from two local elementary schools fill the Blockhouse with excitement and energy as they see their essays on display for the first time (ca. 2016).
Michael Whittaker set up his display of tools in the Parks Canada Gallery, right in front of our one-room schoolhouse. This schoolhouse was originally used in Acton's Corners, and was moved into the Blockhouse in the 1970s.
Devoted volunteer Nina Donald gets ready for the Blockhouse to open by cleaning up the Parlour Gallery. This recreation Parlour mimics the room which would have been used for special guests in 1800s houses.