Erie Canal Harbor

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The Erie Canal Harbor, now called locally Canalside, is a historic redevelopment district within Buffalo, NY that was once the western terminus of the Erie Canal. Today, it has become a rich site of development, revival, and activity in Buffalo. The site includes the Commercial Slip, historically reconstructed Erie Canal and Main-Hamburg Canals and a mix of building including: First Niagara Center, One Canalside, and HARBORcenter among others.[1]

Early history[edit]

Erie Canal Commercial Slip in Spring 2008.

Originally built in Buffalo, New York in 1825 as the "portal to the west," the Erie Canal Harbor served as the terminus for the passage of goods and passengers from the East Coast across the Great Lakes for much of the 19th century. More importantly for Buffalo, the commercial activity fueled by the harbor helped transform the city into a thriving metropolis. Buffalo's notorious Canal Street was a short distance from the canal terminus. made in 2014 not 1893

Reconstruction and redevelopment[edit]

Demolition of Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and Slip, 2006-08[edit]

From 2008 to 2009 the former Buffalo Memorial Auditorium was demolished, as it was an ailing structure. Initially, plans were in place to construct a Bass Pro store on the location. The plans eventually were scrapped as Bass Pro decided against the location.[2]

As the culmination of nearly a decade's worth of effort, the first phase of the historic canal harbor area redevelopment opened to the public in 2008. It included the recreation of several distinctive features of the original Canal district, such as the Commercial Slip, which served as the historic juncture between the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes; the wooden-plank Central Wharf, which stretched from the foot of Main Street to the Commercial Slip; the award-winning Whipple Truss foot bridge, which accurately resembles traditional canal spans and connects the Central Wharf to the cobblestone Commercial Street; prominent canal-era buildings, which house various naval and military artifacts; as well as the excavation site of the original Steamship Hotel building foundations, which are presented alongside several interpretive exhibits showcasing the historical significance of the Erie Canal.

Replicating canals: 2009-2014[edit]

Canals with a freezing system were built to replicate historic canals. The canals were constructed on the old Memorial Auditorium site and were compleated in 2014.[3] The canals have water in the spring and summer and ice in the winter for skating and ice biking.

Economic development[edit]

The first major private development in Canal Side was the Buffalo Sabres' hockey themed HarborCenter. The development is the most expensive privately funded single building in City of Buffalo history. Construction of the project began in March 2013.[4] The building contains two NHL sized hockey rinks, a parking garage, restaurants, a hotel and retail space. The building is partially open and is expected to be fully completed in 2015.[5]


The Erie Canal Harbor is located at the intersection of Scott and Lloyd streets in downtown Buffalo, New York and can be accessed through a temporary entrance near the Commercial Slip, or by way of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park located on the western edge of the harbor. The City of Buffalo also plans to operate floating docks on the harbor site, including hourly water and electric service for up to 40 vessels beginning the summer of 2010.

There is a dock for boats, Water Bike rentals, kayak rentals, a sailing school, sunset and daytime sailboat rides. The Miss Buffalo is sometimes docked there. The Naval Park is directly next to Canalside. First Niagara Center is also within a few feet. The NFTA Train is free downtown and runs along Main Street.

Buffalo Place hosts Thursday and Friday Concerts, Thursdays are generally free while Fridays are relatively low cost show, $10 - $20. Major acts include Wallflowers, Salt n' Pepa, LL Cool J, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus, moe., G. Love, Halestrom, O.A.R.. Previously listed at Thursday at the Square, moved to Canalside after it was updated.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "City picks Pegula's Webster Block plan". Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Bass Pro Out of Buffalo". WGRZ TV. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Canal To Be Built at Old Aud Site". Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Terreri, Jill (11 March 2013). "Streets to close around First Niagara Center". Buffalo News. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Terreri, Jill (13 February 2013). "Cost of Sabres’ HARBORcenter project rises 40% to $170 million". Buffalo News. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 

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