History of Margaret’s Mercantile

The history of Margaret’s Mercantile is quite interesting.

A number of year ago, staff from Saugeen Conservation began conducting tours of the Greenock Swamp – the single largest forested wetland in Southern Ontario.  People became very interested in the swamp, the history of the incredible logging era, the culture, stories and lore!

The swamp was once home to thousands and thousands of acres of White Pine, a widely sought after tree in the late 1800’s for ship masts in Britain. Henry Cargill and his wife Margaret moved to Cargill to build their vast logging empire in the early 1880’s. Margaret. it is said, was quite disappointed to be moving to rural Ontario and to a logging town at that! She was said to be a woman who loved shopping and getting away to the city. Thus we decided to name the store after Henry’s wife, Margaret.

The Hamlet of Cargill was named after Henry, the great lumber barron. His great logging empire operated throughout the late 1880’s well into the 20th century.

Once the tours became a success, it became apparent that people were very interested in Cargill and it’s incredible history, thus the decision to revitalize the Hamlet of Cargill and ‘Make History Come Alive’!

Special artwork was incorporated in the Hamlet and an Interpretive Centre was opened highlighting the amazing history of this famous area.  

Due to the success of the Interpretive Centre, the Cargill / Greenock Swamp Promotional Association decided to open up the building next door (previously empty and somewhat derelict) and open up a store that would take on the 1800’s theme and incorporate goods and wares from local artisans, highlighting the varied talents of the local area.

The idea is to make Cargill unique given its amazing history and lore. Making History Come Alive has expanded now to include train rides, a passport program, a bbq (Wednesday to Sunday, including holiday Mondays, from 11am to 2pm and so much more!)