Merritt is located in the sunny Nicola Valley and conveniently accessed from Vancouver, Kelowna or Kamloops. Great location and wonderful climate are just two reasons to make Merritt a great place to live or visit – it is also an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
While Merritt was officially incorporated in 1911, its roots go back to ranching at the end of the 19th century. Jesus Garcia, a Mexican immigrant, is credited with being one of the first pioneers to settle in the Nicola Valley. Ranching still plays a major role in the valley, with Canada’s largest working cattle ranch – the Douglas Lake Ranch – being located near Nicola Lake. Forestry and mining also play a big role in Merritt’s economy and tourism has become a significant part as well – after all, Merritt is home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and a multitude of other attractions.
Beginning with the Nicola Valley Archives & Museum, to the Walk of Stars, the historic Quilchena Hotel and Merritt’s landmark – the Coldwater Hotel – there is so much to do and see for the whole family that you will want to make Merritt a stop every time you pass through.
A good place to start is the visitor information booth, located at the Baillie House. Open daily in the summer, this charming historic property offers lots of free information, tours of the heritage Baillie House and a wonderful back yard for a summer picnic. It will be your first chance to experience Merritt hospitality and you’ll want to come back for more!
The Baillie House is located at 2250 Voght Street, close to City Hall and open daily from 10 am to 6 pm during the summer months. Don’t forget to ask about the resident ghost during one of the free tours!
The Baillie House is also a good starting point for the Heritage Walking Tour (maps provided!), which takes you on a leisurely walk through Merritt and highlights the fascinating history behind the many historic properties.
The Nicola Valley is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. You can choose from over 200 lakes to fish in close by, explore endless bike trails and hunt for treasure with one of the many geocache opportunities that are made available through Gold Country Tourism.