About US

At Niknaks Paddle Shack, we believe all visitors and residents of Smiths Falls should have access to the Rideau Canal, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ontario, Canada.

Our Story

Niknaks Paddle Shack was created by Nicola Thomson, former Coordinator of the Smiths Falls Downtown Business Association (DBA) and her husband, Chris Thomson. The couple was inspired to create a venture that would provide visitors and residents with the unforgettable experience of locking-through the Rideau Canal’s historic locks.

“We are so fortunate to have the Rideau Canal right in our own backyard, yet many locals have yet to truly experience it.” – Nicola Thomson, Director

Through Niknaks, Nicola and Chris are living their dreams: providing an affordable, family-friendly activity that encourages health and wellness in their community.

Our Location

Whether viewed by land or water, the Rideau Canal offers an abundance of experiences that are unique to our community. Niknaks Paddle Shack is conveniently located between two of the Rideau Canal’s 45 operational locks, allowing visitors to witness and experience two very different kinds of lock, both within 400m of our home base.

Detached Lock – One of the Rideau Canal’s original locks, built between 1826-1832. Detached Lock is manually operated by the staff of Parks Canada each season, using 19th-century technology to facilitate the flow of both water and boat-traffic through the canal.

Combined Lock – A fully automated hydraulic lock, built between 1973-74. The Combined lock was built to replace three original locks (lock #’s 27-29) in order to save time and space. With a lift of 26ft, the Combined Lock is the tallest lift along the canal.