Canalside is Buffalo's #1 outdoor event venue and home to hundreds of year-round activities from ice skating in the Winter to the concert series in the Summer. This long-term evolving project started out small, but has gained so much traction and brand recognition that anyone in Buffalo is familiar with.
If you haven't been there yet, you're missing out!
history of Canalside
The Erie Canal Harbor was originally built in 1825 as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. In its heyday, America’s “Gateway to the West” was one of the world’s greatest business centers, teeming with canal and rail traffic passing from the Atlantic seaboard across the Great Lakes. For much of the 19th century it was truly an industrious port that bustled with people and goods from all over the world. As a result of this prodigious commercial activity, by 1850 Buffalo was transformed from a small waterfront village into a thriving metropolis—eventually becoming the largest inland port in the nation as well as the unofficial grain capital of North America.
While Erie Canal Harbor and its “Central Wharf” represented the epicenter of commerce and trade in Buffalo, the surrounding canal district neighborhood enjoyed a much more ambiguous reputation. Home to a diverse cross-section of canal-era inhabitants and transient visitors, the district’s saloons, hotels and other establishments buzzed with activity, and the crime rate reflected it.
The arrival of trains and automobiles in the early 20th century led to the ultimate demise of Erie Canal Harbor as a functional hub of commerce. In time, the site was covered over with stone and dirt to make way for modern streets and vehicle parking.
Canalside is at the heart of Buffalo’s waterfront revitalization. It’s located in the city’s downtown corridor, at the intersection of Pearl Street and Marine Drive. The grounds can be accessed through entrances at the foot of Main Street and on Scott Street, or by way of the Naval & Military Park, located on the northwestern edge of the harbor site.
Original Photography Courtesy of Joe Cascio