Yak Shack grand opening

The Yak Shack: sure to float your boat this summer!

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Borrow a kayak for free from the St. Marys Public Library


Those looking to explore the pleasant waterways of St. Marys but may not own a kayak are no longer up a creek without a paddle, thanks to an innovative program offered through the St. Marys Public Library!

Kayaks are now available to borrow from the St. Marys Public Library. Adults 18 years can sign out kayaks at the Library, located at 15 Church St. N. While at the library, borrowers will receive lifejackets, paddles, water safety kits and a key to unlock the kayak.

The kayaks are conveniently stored at the north end of Milt Dunnell Field in a shelter affectionately known as “The ‘Yak Shack”, which is a short distance to the Thames River.

There are four 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; and Kathleen, for pioneering prospector Kathleen Rice.

“Our waterways have long been a great recreational asset to our town,” noted St. Marys Mayor Al Strathdee at a ribbon-cutting event earlier this week. “The Yak Shack is a perfect way for residents and visitors alike to have access to a kayak and to experience our Thames River and Trout Creek.”

The unique project is the result of much community support. Building materials were contributed by the St. Marys Home Building Centre, and the St. Marys Kinsmen constructed the structure. Kayaks and safety equipment were donated by Canadian Tire, Grason International and the Hodges family. The project is also supported by a grant from the Annie and Isabelle Chesterfield Fund, held within the Stratford Perth Community Foundation.

Kayak loans are available during daytime operating hours at the St. Marys Public Library (15 Church St. N.), and are intended for individual users age eight and older. Participants must review a safety FAQ and sign a waiver before receiving their kayaks. For more information on the program, please visit www.discoverstmarys.ca/yakshack.


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Image attached: The Town of St. Marys recently launched a kayak borrowing program through the St. Marys Public Library. At the ribbon cutting event, from left are Kinsmen Wayne Barber and Chris Swarthout, Brian Beacham of St. Marys Building Centre, Daniel Lubimcev of Canadian Tire and Mayor Al Strathdee. (Town of St. Marys photo)


For media inquiries:

Andrea Macko, Events Coordinator
519-284-2340, ext. 249 | amacko@town.stmarys.on.ca