Mac Paddle Shack opens for paddlers of all ages

The Mac Paddle Shack is operated by Mac Athletics and Recreation for the McGill community, as well as the public, and offers kayak, stand up paddle board, canoe rentals and classes in paddling and paddle board yoga classes. The classes are run out of an innovative structure made of recycled shipping containers.
The new Paddle Shack at Macdonald Campus serves kayakers, paddle boarders and canoeists.

The new Paddle Shack at the Macdonald Campus makes McGill the only Canadian university with an on-campus boat house.

The Mac Paddle Shack, which opened July 15, gives paddlers and would-be paddlers a chance to enjoy the waters of Lac St. Louis on a kayak, paddle board (SUP) or in a canoe. Hourly rentals, paddling instruction and paddle board yoga classes are available to the general public, and McGill and John Abbott College communities.

The new facilities are perfect for adventure seekers, water lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and families looking for an active outing. It’s an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful shoreline on the island of Montreal. Groups, families and individuals are welcome.

Jill Barker, Assistant Director, Athletics and Recreation at Macdonald Campus, worked hard to get the project up and running, and is proud that the new Paddle Shack giving people better access to water sports. As for paddle board yoga, Barker explains:

“In paddle board yoga a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) is used instead of a yoga mat. SUP Yoga forces the body to use more muscles since the board is always moving, even if the water is fairly calm. If you fall you’re in the water, so you just get wet, climb back on and start again. Your yoga practice is done on a paddle board in the water instead of on a mat. It’s challenging, but the environment is unbeatable!”

Adding yet another cool factor is the fact that the Mac Paddle Shack is made of re-purposed shipping containers. The installation also includes boat storage and a soon-to-be-installed dock.

The two 40-foot shipping containers, designed by David Covo of McGill’s School of Architecture, were used for the project. Mitchell McLarnon, a PhD candidate in McGill’s school of Education, and an experienced paddling coach with a Master’s in Outdoor Education, helped set up the program. Paul Guenther of Campus Planning played a key role in advancing the project.

Located right on the waterfront of McGill’s Macdonald Campus in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, the Paddle Shack is directly across from the 211 STM bus stop.

McGill’s Macdonald Campus is situated amidst the verdant fields and forested lands in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, on the west end of Montreal Island, 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of the main campus.

During the season, the shack is open every day from 9 a.m. until dusk.

The McGill Rec app (available at the App Store or Google Play) allows paddlers to book and pay for boat rentals or classes from their mobile device. Bookings can also be made through On-Line Services.

Keep your eye on the Mac Paddle Shack Facebook page for updates on programs, weather and paddle info.

You can reach staff at the Paddle Shack at

Keep calm and paddle on!