The Merrickville Blockhouse is the first and largest of four blockhouses constructed on the Rideau Canal, and stands as a reminder of the canal’s original purpose in providing a secure military supply route for Upper Canada.
In the event of war, the blockhouse would serve as a mustering point for local militia — it could accommodate a garrison of 50 men — and as a supply depot for provisions, ammunition and arms. At Merrickville, the “wilderness buffer” that surrounded most lockstations had been breached by road improvements between the village and the St. Lawrence River, leaving it vulnerable to American attack.
The blockhouse saw military occupation in the period following the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 and again during the Oregon Crisis of 1846 (resulting from a border dispute with the United States). However, the main occupants of the blockhouse were the station’s lockmaster and his family. The upper storey of the blockhouse served as the lockmaster’s living quarters until the late 19th century. Today the blockhouse is a museum operated by the Merrickville and District Historical Society.
Approximate Visit Time: 1 hours