The Merricks were at the centre of an inland settlement little more than a rough clearing before the Rideau Canal opened in 1832. Built to defend a British empire in the north against an American destiny to the south, the canal quickly found the convenience and unity of trade and commerce. The canal became a corridor and a gateway to the hinterland.
Most of the mills that once clung to the river shores are now ghostly reminders of a spectacular industrial heritage. An important architectural tradition envelops the entire village, reflecting the character of the people who built and lived in the buildings, and those who have lovingly restored them.