The summer season at Buffalo’s Canalside will officially commence on Saturday.
The Buffalo News reports that the city’s Canalside attraction, a development that took years to organize and build, is finally underway for the summer season. City officials hope that Canalside will revitalize the downtown area and provide Western New York residents something fun to do in the city.
“Those who said Buffalo doesn’t have a waterfront to be proud of can now say we have an extraordinary waterfront,” said Sam Hoyt, a board member of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC), the organization responsible for Canalside. “Especially when you look at where we were seven or eight years ago, when the canals and HarborCenter were a vacant lot.”
Among Canalside’s attractions are ice cream vendors, craft beer, bicycle rentals, and small shows and venues. The canals themselves are an 18-each deep pool filled with more than 487,000 gallons of water. They used to serve as an ice-skating rink in the winter.
“We want to appeal to the masses, and make this a fun place to come down,” said Tom Dee, the President of ECHDC. “I expect this will be a destination for office workers to also come and hang out.”
One especially exciting activity at Canalside is boat racing. Remote-controlled model boats can be raced in the canals. Though the miniature sailboats are wind rather than power-driven, the operators can control them by moving the boat’s rudder and sail.
“It’s old-time sailing,” said John Barbieri, the Director of Project Development for model boat company Freeze Frame. “It takes a very specific location to make this worthwhile operationally, and fun for everybody, and this area exceeded our expectations.”
Outside of the water, the Canalside features a sea-themed playground with two spacious picnic pavilions. The playground includes a tube slide, climbing tubes, and a balancing bar, and is all surrounded by soft rubber matting for safety. In addition, it features a landscaping design that vary the topography and masks the unsightly parking lots nearby.
The landscaping services industry in the United States is considerably large, generating an estimated $80 billion by the end of this year.