Nestled in the serene Nicola Valley, Merritt is a vibrant city with a rich history. Surrounded by ranches, lakes, golf courses and trails, Merritt is a great destination for outdoor adventures.MAP OF THE CITY
In the 1880’s, three ranches on the Nicola and Coldwater Rivers joined to form a community known as Forksdale. In 1885 coal was discovered south of “The Fork”. Mines were opened and the coal was transported by horse until the CPR track was extended to Forksdale in 1906-1907. At around the same time the name of Forksdale was changed to Merritt in honor of William Hamilton Merritt, a mining engineer and railway promoter.
As the people of Nicola Valley moved closer to the railway, many new businesses developed. The main industries included ranching, mining and forestry. Merritt was incorporated as a city in 1911.
To honour Merritt’s reputation as the Country Music Capital of Canada, over 100 bronze stars are dotted around the city emblazoned with the handprints of the biggest names in music history, from Johnny Cash to The Dixie Chicks. The Walk of Stars is accompanied by artists’ murals that illuminate the sides of many buildings. You can pick up walking tour guides at the Visitor Information Centres.
The history of the Historic Baillie Property is one of unrequited love. Built for a couple about to be married, the bride-to-be found a new sweetheart on her voyage to Canada! The restored and beautifully maintained Victorian property is much loved by locals and visitors alike. Ask at the Visitor Information Booth on site to take a look around the old buildings, fitted with period furniture. The friendly staff will be sure to make you feel at home in Merritt, and will be more than happy to assist you as you continue your travels in Gold Country.
A Merritt landmark, the copper dome of the Coldwater Hotel harks back to an era of booming coalmines and ranches. Spend a night or stop in for a drink at this historic site.
With twenty-eight fascinating historic buildings that chronicle Merritt’s past, this tour is well worth taking. The Baillie Property, the Coldwater Hotel, pioneer houses, churches, a theatre and a general store harking back to the Chinese community in the valley are just a few of the sites on offer. Walking tour guides are available at the Visitor Information Centres.
Merritt has a great variety of different dining options for visitors to experience. Classic western meals are served at the Grand Pub & Grill (2099 Garcia St. Phone: 250-378-4618), the Coldwater Hotel and the restaurant at the Corbett Lake Country Inn (reservations required). Try mouth-watering Japanese cuisine at the Garden Sushi Restaurant (2701 Nicola Ave. Phone: 250-378-5504). For excellent Chinese fare, visit Crystal Gardens or the Golden Palace (1953 Nicola Ave. Phone: 250-378-8283).FULL LIST OF DINING OPTIONS
In July the Nicola Cruisers have an annual Show & Shine car show in Merritt.
There is music in the park, Art in the Garden shows at the Baillie House, and Farmer’s Markets to enjoy in downtown Merritt.
Come and visit the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and Fall Fair, held on Labour Day weekend in early September.
The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club hosts an Ice Fishing Derby every January on Mammette Lake.UPCOMING EVENTS IN MERRITT
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