World Canals Conference will be in NY in 2025 on 200th anniversary of Erie Canal

Posted 6 June 2022 at 8:03 am

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Kimberly Stawicki took this photo of the sunset last week on the south side of the canal in Medina near Fruit Avenue.

BUFFALO – Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State has been selected by Inland Waterways International as the host of the 2025 World Canals Conference, an event that brings together hundreds of canal and inland waterway enthusiasts, professionals and scholars from around the world to learn about a variety of topics related to canals.

The 2025 conference will be held in Buffalo as the State commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal’s opening there in 1825. The New York Power Authority, New York State Canal Corporation, and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, in partnership with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and Visit Buffalo Niagara, are the joint sponsors and will be coordinating all aspects of the conference.

“I am honored that New York State, and particularly the City of Buffalo, will host the 2025 World Canals Conference, providing us with the opportunity to host attendees from around the globe while highlighting a critical part of our state and nation’s history during the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal’s opening,” Governor Hochul said. “The Erie Canal has been an integral part of New York’s economy and landscape since Governor Dewitt Clinton began the 10-day inaugural voyage in Buffalo in 1825 on the newly completed canal, culminating in the famous ‘Wedding of the Waters’ ceremony in New York Harbor.”

The World Canals Conference is a key component of a comprehensive, four-month celebration of the Erie Canal’s bicentennial planned at the historic Buffalo waterfront between May and September of 2025. The event will highlight Buffalo’s transformed waterfront Canalside district, which has recently seen more than $400 million in new investment including new hotels, a major sports arena, a children’s museum, retail shops and a fabulous, re-created waterway on the footprint of the original Erie Canal in the Queen City. Today, Buffalo’s Canalside attracts more than 1,000,000 persons annually.

The conference program will be vibrant, relevant and undeniably future focused as canals and inland waterways are inexorably linked with the social, cultural and economic fiber of their surrounding communities.

Accordingly, the event will be structured to embrace discussion of the innovations, opportunities and challenges which are driving healthy and sustainable waterways of the world today. Sessions on waterways and communities, tourism and recreation, waterway management, historic preservation, and inclusion and accessibility will comprise a diverse and compelling conference agenda. International attendees will mark the indelible impact the Erie Canal has brought to North America and beyond and will be able to chart the course for a vibrant and promising future to be shared by inland waterways across the globe.

New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, Our New York Power Authority and Canal Corporation family is incredibly proud to join Governor Hochul and our partners as we celebrate the bicentennial of New York State’s iconic Erie Canal on a world stage. This international event will not only showcase our still working Canal system but will also promote its continued positive impact on local economies and highlight the endless opportunities for adventure along our network of water and trailways.”

The upcoming conference in Buffalo will mark the fourth time in recent years that New York State has hosted this international event. It was previously held in Rochester in 2000 and 2010, and again in Syracuse in 2017 which marked the 200 years since the start of construction of the Erie Canal in 1817. Specific details regarding the 2025 World Canals Conference will be announced as conference planning gets underway.

Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “For nearly two centuries, the Erie Canal has connected people and commerce across our state, and as the stewards of this iconic waterway, I am thrilled to celebrate its bicentennial alongside Governor Hochul and our colleagues as we bring the international focus of the World Canals Conference back to New York State. This global gathering of inland waterway leaders and canal enthusiasts allows us to truly showcase how our continued investments in the Canal system support recreation and local businesses in canalside communities across upstate New York.”