Blockhouse Museum

Inside the Blockhouse
The design and supervision of construction of the Merrickville Blockhouse was carried out by the Royal Engineers, commanded by Lt. Col. John By, R.E., in 1832-3. It is one of four blockhouses built at that time for the defence of the Rideau Canal. It was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1939 and forms part of the works of the canal which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. The Blockhouse is located immediately adjacent to the wall of the top lock at Merrickville.

The design of the building follows the principles of military engineering prevailing at the time of its construction. The walls of the basement and first floor are constructed of stone, while the projecting second floor wall, which is clad in non-combustible tinned sheet shingle, and the pavilion style roof, are constructed of timber.

The Blockhouse was threatened with demolition in 1960. Thanks to the initiative of concerned local citizens, a rescue plan was agreed with the Federal Department of Transport. Under the plan the Government funded and supervised an extensive restoration program completed in 1965 and the restored blockhouse was leased to the village of Merrickville. At the same time, the Merrickville and District Historical Society was formed and charged with establishing and operating a museum within the blockhouse. Maintenance of the building fabric is now funded and carried out by Parks Canada.

The Museum, which opened in 1966, comprises a collection of local artefacts and archives reflecting the history and industry of the canal and the surrounding urban and agricultural community. Recorded attendance is rising and has averaged 9,000 over the past ten years.

2016 Blockhouse Museum Operating Hours
Spring Weekends & Holidays, noon to 4 p.m.   May 21, 22 & 23 : May 28 & 29 : June 4 & 5 : June 11 & 12,
Summer Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 13 to Sept 5
Fall Weekends & Holidays, noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 10 & 11 : Sept. 17 & 18 : Sept. 24 & 25 : October 1 & 2 : October 8, 9, & 10.
Winter Closed  

Admission: There is no charge for admission but voluntary donations are much appreciated.

Spring and Fall openings will depend on the availability of volunteers drawn from the Society, which always welcomes new members.

Blockhouse during Canalfest
photo by Ken W. Watson          

Merrickville and District Historical Society
PO Box 294
Merrickville, Ontario K0G 1N0

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