The Yak Shack is back for the 2023 season!

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The innovative kayak-lending program offered through the St. Marys Public Library returns for 2023. From May 23 to September 2, borrowers have the opportunity to discover St. Marys’ waterways through the free loan program.

New this year, a convenient online booking system allows borrowers to reserve their preferred kayak, date, and timeslot in advance.

There are six kayaks available, and each are named for notable St. Marys figures: Timothy, for famed merchant Timothy Eaton; Nora, for renowned violinist Nora Clench; Arthur, for Prime Minister Arthur Meighen; Kathleen, for pioneering prospector Kathleen Rice; Andrew, for influential philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and for supporter and recreationalist Andrew Hodges; and Agnes, for famous elocutionist Agnes Knox.

“The Yak Shack provides a great resource for residents and visitors to explore the Thames River and Trout Creek waterways.” says Town of St. Marys Tourism and Economic Development Manager Kelly Deeks-Johnson. “We’re anticipating another busy season for the program, and the new online booking system is a welcomed addition.”

While at the library to check-in for their reservation, borrowers will receive a lifejacket, paddle, water safety kit and a key to unlock the kayak. Participants must arrive 15 minutes prior to their reservation to show I.D., review a safety FAQ, and sign a waiver, before receiving their kayaks.

Following check-in, the kayaks are available for pick up at the North end of Milt Dunnell Field in a shelter affectionately known as “The Yak Shack”, alongside the Thames River.

Kayak loans are available during daytime operating hours at the St. Marys Public Library (15 Church St. N.) and are intended for individual users aged eight and older. 

For more information on the program and to make a reservation, please visit

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For media inquiries:
Stacey Frayne, Marketing and Communications Specialist
519-284-2340, ext. 218 |