Explore the Rideau Canal…

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. Whether viewed by land or water, the Rideau Canal offers an abundance of experiences that are unique to our community.

Niknaks Paddle Shack is 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.

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 were 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.

Meet the Team


Nicola Thomson

Founder & Director

Nicola is an active volunteer in the community. She currently assists the Rideau Paddlefest planning committee, is a Scouter with 2nd Smiths Falls Scouts, and is a Board Member of Together Smiths Falls, a community enhancement association. She lives in Montague with her husband, co-owner Chris Thomson, and their two daughters, Claire and Penny.


Chris Thomson

Founder & Director

Chris Thomson is an avid reader, podcast-enthusiasts and all around nerd. He currently has a brown belt in JKA Karate and spends most of his free time at the local dojo, perfecting his freestyle sparring.  He works for the City of Ottawa driving heavy machinery.

“I don’t know Karate, but I know ka-razy” – James brown


Yvonne & Glenn Kerridge


They say it takes a village… and this is certainly true for Niknaks. Glenn and Yvonne Kerridge spend a great deal of time assisting with the planning and administration of Niknaks operations. They are avid travelers and enjoy spending quality time with their grandchildren, Claire and Penny.