There’s a great new way to flow through the summer months by taking advantage of the Rideau Canal in Lanark County this summer. Niknaks Paddle Shack is a seasonal kayak, canoe, paddleboard and bike rental service that is set to open in mid-June in Smiths Falls. Located in the Murphy building on Park Avenue, Niknaks is conveniently located right on the shore of the canal.
“I saw the potential of the land under the water-tower and figured we should tap into the canal as a tourism destination,” said Nicola Thomson, the owner of Niknaks Paddle Shack. She said the goal is to add to the sense of community and to encourage people to travel to Smiths Falls.
“We also have a canteen at Niknaks so people have that convenience in case they need it,” Thomson said. Water, juice and snacks will be for sale. “We’re not focusing on the canteen though because we don’t want to take away from the other businesses in town.”
In fact, Thomson hopes Niknaks will be able to partner with other local businesses to cross-promote the attractions that Smiths Falls has to offer. “We want to make people aware of what’s in town,” she said. “We’re hoping people will come enjoy the Rideau Canal and then go downtown to spend money at the shops and restaurants, and maybe even spend an overnight in a hotel or bed and breakfast in the area.”
Thomson, who is originally from England and has also lived in Florida, said her inspiration for Niknaks Paddle Shack partly comes from her own love for kayaking and the outdoors. “I figured there was a need for it in our community so that people who don’t want to buy [kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and bikes] can still enjoy them.”
“We’re just really excited to bring tourism to the town,” said Thomson. “I think it’ll be a huge benefit for people since they’ll be able to explore more.”
Thomson said she wants to extend a sincere thank you to all the local businesses who helped Niknaks Paddle Shack come to life. “It has been a great adventure so far and we’re really looking forward to the year ahead.”
Get more information about renting boats and bikes on the Nicknak Paddle Shack website.
This article was first published in the June edition of Hometown News.