Little Known But Very Pretty Victorian Town Merrickville

Tourists and locals alike recognize Ontario not only for its big-name attractions like Toronto or Niagara Falls, and not even for hungry mo...

Tourists and locals alike recognize Ontario not only for its big-name attractions like Toronto or Niagara Falls, and not even for hungry mosquitos and black flies in the springtime, but also for its pretty, historic towns. Carefully preserved in time and maintaining they original 19th century look, many of them compete to be named the quaintest or the coziest town in Ontario. Merrickville, located only 40 minutes from Ottawa and known as the "Jewel of the Rideau", often makes the cut.

Like many other little towns in Eastern Ontario, Merrickville emerged along the world-renowned Rideau Canal, an engineering feat and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rideau Canal makes the oldest continuously operated canal system in all North America. Most of its structures including all 47 locks, stone walls, blockhouses remain intact since 1832.
Do you know what prompted British to take on such a difficult undertaking as building a 202 km / 125 mile long canal in the middle of nowhere? The fear of another war with the United States after the War of 1812-1813. Like many other technological advances, this one was also driven by a war. Which never happened, fortunately.
But Rideau Canal not only gave birth to those pretty towns like Merrickville, but also enabled further exploration (and colonization) of what in a few decades will become Canada. Long before railroads and highways were built, water was practically the only way to transport commodities (mostly timber and fur) from remote places to large settlements in North America and the rest of the world. Even now, after almost two centuries, Rideau Canal is still in operations. Albeit used exclusively for pleasure.
But let's go back to Merrickville. With just slightly over 3,000 residents, time in the town is moving at a much slower pace comparing to neighbouring Ottawa or Kingston. 
Especially slow now, due to COVID-19. 
Only a handful of businesses were open on Victoria Day long weekend including an ice cream parlour that sells some of the most delicious ice cream I have ever tried.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Some pretty wealthy customers came to buy some ice cream, too.
Another place worth mentioning is a local Fish and Chips wagon. Although I haven't tried their food, but it smells really good.
Many artists are proudly calling Merrickville home. It's safe to assume that a number of artists per capita is one of the largest in Canada. 
According to Merrickville's official website, the town features more designated heritage buildings than any other Ontario community of like-size.
A very old London's telephone booth with a fully functioning Bell phone. 
I know for certain that I'll come back to a glass blowing studio that provides free demonstrations once it's re-opened. 
I particularly liked the picturesque ruins of an old mill with an original turbine generator which was in operations from 1915 to 1993. Almost a century! The place can easily be found just across a canal from the Main Street. 
Rapids on the Rideau River attract not only people, but big birds, too. Like this blue heron that is looking for fish.

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