Regional Roadtrips: Village of Merrickville chock full of creativity and entrepreneurship

Pickle & Myrrh Merrickville
Erin Kergan is the co-owner of Pickle & Myrrh. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.
Editor's Note

Regional Roadtrips is a column prepared by local travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet of Ottawa Road Trips to inspire day trips and weekend getaways a short drive from Ottawa.

Not many Eastern Ontario villages are home to a caramel shop, glass-blowing studio, award-winning mustard maker and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, I’m pretty confident there’s only one: Merrickville, less than an hour’s drive southwest of Ottawa.

Merrickville sits on the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

The pretty village on the Rideau Canal (that’s the World Heritage Site) is one of my favourite day trip destinations. 

My first stop is usually Mrs. McGarrigle’s (311 St. Lawrence St.). Along with a huge array of house-made mustards — try the balsamic and cracked pepper — you can pick up local and imported fine foods, including cheeses, charcuterie, jams and dressings. Bring a cooler and you’ll be all set for a great picnic.

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Mrs. McGarrigle’s in Merrickville. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

If you prefer a restaurant lunch, drop by the Yellow Canoe Café (108 St. Lawrence St.) for sandwiches, salads and soups, the Goose and Gridiron (317 St. Lawrence St.) for pub fare, or Iron Forge Pizza (206 Main St. W.).

Of course, you could just skip right ahead to dessert — you’re on a mini-vacation, right? The Downtowne Ice Cream Shoppe (165 St. Lawrence St.) serves small-batch ice cream and gelato, including vegan and dairy-free treats. Violets on Main (318 Main St. W.) is a lovely little bakery brimming with treats such as butter tarts, almond croissants, lemon squares, ginger cookies and mini cheesecakes, along with all sorts of breads.

For sweets to go, I’m a big fan of Pickle & Myrrh (110 Main St. E.), housed in a heritage building that was once a law office — look for the big documents vault behind the cash desk. Co-o

Visitors to Merrickville can choose to stay at Maple & Rose, a whole-home vacation rental in a renovated 1840s mansion. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

wner Erin Kergan handmakes delicious caramels in lots of flavours, including sea salt, vanilla bean, coffee and pretzel.

Pickle & Myrrh opened its shop in 2020, one of several Merrickville businesses recently spearheaded by local families. Another is Maple & Rose (205 Mill St.), a whole-home vacation rental that opened in 2023. General manager Kate Folk and her extended family extensively renovated the 1840s mansion, which now has seven bedrooms with ensuites, a sleek modern kitchen, multiple gathering spaces and a 1,200-square-foot outbuilding that can be used for small corporate retreats.

Folk grew up in the village and hopes that Maple & Rose will draw new visitors. “There’s so many incredible things to do in Merrickville, so if we can help bring people here, then that helps boost Merrickville as well.”

She showcases local products throughout the property, such as soy candles from Wick Witch Apothecary (108 St. Lawrence St.), and hand-blown glasses from Gather Brewery & Glassworks (635 St. Lawrence St.). If guests like the samples, they can stroll into the village to pick up their own versions to bring home.

Gather Brewery & Glassworks sells hand-blown glasses, including colourful glass ornaments. Photo by Laura Byrne Paquet.

Merrickville is something of a hub for artists and makers of all types. MonSky Creations Gallery (108 St. Lawrence St.) sells glass and ceramic pieces by founder Monica Viola, as well as pottery, musical instruments, prints and other items by local makers. Laura’s Shop (106 Colborne St. W.) is creator Laura Starkey’s linen clothing shop and art studio. The Merrickville Arts Guild ( is a good source of information on artists and artistic events. On April 13-14, you can check out the Merrickville Makers’ Market at the Merrickville Community Centre (106 Read St.).

Interested in a hands-on activity for a corporate group? Both Mrs. McGarrigle’s and Gather Brewery & Glassworks offer workshops.

Award-winning Ottawa travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet shares her sightseeing tips for Eastern Ontario and beyond on her website, Ottawa Road Trips.

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