People were keen to be among the first to get out on the water at the official opening of the new boathouse at Rushden Lakes.
Family, friends and supporters gathered to see the ribbon cutting for the new home of Canoe2 at the multi-million pound retail and leisure development just off the A45.
Richard Nelson and Ian Blackwell, who have known each other since primary school and started the business together in 2009, thanked everyone for their support both now and over the years.
And Ian added: “A big thank you to all our staff that are here.
“We certainly couldn’t do this without them and it is all coming together really well.”
Chairman of East Northants Council Colin Wright had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the top of the pontoon before people were able to go out on the water.
He praised Canoe2 for giving people the chance to enjoy and explore the beauty of East Northants and added: “I am proud to do the opening of Canoe2, but I want to say to Ian and Richard good luck, well done, and to all the people that have helped you, thanks for putting Rushden and East Northants truly and clearly on the map.”
Anyone wanting a paddle as the sun went down on Tuesday evening had several choices, including canoes, kayaks and swan pedalos.
People queued up to be among the first to head out onto the water, while others took the opportunity to look around the new boathouse and community room, which will be available to local community groups and charities.
Canoe2’s relocation has seen them move downstream from their former base of seven years at Ditchford Lock.
While they will continue to offer river canoe hire trips, comfy camping and B&B short breaks, Canoe2’s move to Rushden Lakes means they can also hire out craft on the lake for those that fancy 30 or 60 minutes on the water as well as paddling across the lake to the adjoining River Nene via the specially constructed portage point.
They are also opening a canoe shop selling canoes, kayaks and related goods.
Canoe2’s boathouse has a wildflower roof consisting of local grass and wildflower species native to the area.
It has been designed to minimise heat loss in winter and restrict heat gain in summer with the aim of keeping running costs as low as possible.
The boathouse is located on the edge of the lake and creates a gateway to the Site of Special Scientific Interest and lakeside walks.
Canoe2 will be opening its new home to the public on Friday (July 28).