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For Immediate Release:

Steven Gosset | |(914) 390-8192


Hundreds of Participants from Across Globe Expected in City this September as New York Begins Celebration of Erie Canal Bicentennial

ALBANY—The New York State Canal Corporation today announced that registration has opened for the 2017 World Canals Conference, which will be held this fall in Syracuse as the state marks the 200th anniversary of construction for the Erie Canal.

Held annually, the World Canals Conference brings together hundreds of canal experts, enthusiasts and historians to discuss the latest developments, innovations and strategies tied to canals and other inland waterways. The conference was last held in the U.S. seven years ago, in Rochester.

“The timing for having the conference in New York couldn’t be better,” said Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “It takes on special meaning as we mark the Canal’s bicentennial and how its building transformed the nation into an economic superpower.”

The Canal Corporation is hosting the conference, which will run from Sept. 24-28 at the Syracuse Marriott Downtown, along with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Visit Syracuse.

“New York is proud to host this prestigious conference at a time when we will pay tribute to one of America’s iconic waterways, the Erie Canal,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, which runs the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary. “Conference-goers will not only get to experience the Canal as well as many of the great attractions Central New York has to offer.”

The Canal Corporation is planning a series of events statewide to commemorate the start of construction of the Erie Canal, which occurred on July 4, 1817 in Rome. It was completed eight years later.

The Erie Canal is part of a 524-mile canal system, which also includes the Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champlain canals. The system was recently designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, which places it among the premier historic sites in the U.S.

“The recent National Historic Landmark designation for the NYS Canal System, upcoming bicentennial celebrations, and the World Canals Conference in Syracuse make 2017 a momentous year for the canal,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “We look forward to sharing our world-class heritage and exchanging ideas and innovations with multi-national delegates at the conference in September.”

The canal system remains a link for commercial and recreation vessels to travel between the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean.

In addition, more than 1.5 million people annually use the trails along the canals for a variety of recreational activities, including jogging, biking, hiking and cross-country skiing. As part of his 2017 State of the State message, Governor Cuomo proposed completing unfinished portions of the Erie Canalway Trail and link it to the Hudson River Valley Greenway to create a 750-mile Empire Trail ranging from New York City to Canada that would be the nation’s largest multi-use trail system.

For more on information on the conference or to register, go to