Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today announced that this summer exceeded all expectations, with more than 1 million visitors making their way down to Canalside for festivals, activities for children, concerts, arts and culture, fitness and more. This year ECHDC was pleased to provide thirty percent more events and activities than what was offered in past seasons. There was something to do every single day this summer at Canalside.

“Food, fun, music, games, exercise, relaxation and history all played a role in Canalside’s growing success this summer,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “I applaud the Canalside staff for making the site and the daily activities so enjoyable for visitors and residents. Now we can look forward to our fall events and skating on the canals.”

Here is some of the positive feedback we have received via the Canalside facebook page:
“I think it’s great that you’re still keeping free concerts!! Love that!”
“Buffalo’s got it going on! So exciting to see all the fun ideas on the waterfront and the crowds are overwhelming!”
“I feel like a visitor in my own hometown!”

New offerings this year include an expanded Clinton’s Dish with an innovative menu, additional seating and a beer garden; Patty’s People Buffalo picture, music and dance series, World Cup viewing parties, WNY Bike Rentals and daily tours to learn the story of Buffalo. For the kids, there were daily family activities, including F BITES with Chef Bobby Anderson from the television show “Hell’s Kitchen,” which got hundreds of kids cooking their own tasty dishes.

Old favorites, including Zumba, Pilates, Power Yoga, boot camp, yoga, the Saturday Artisan Market and children’s programming with Explore and More Children’s Museum, the Buffalo & Erie County Library and Young Audiences of WNY, continued their success. Amenities, such as table games/game rentals, a reading room, QR Code tours, BFLO Kayak tours/rentals, water bike rentals, Queen City Water Ferry, Buffalo River History Tours, Spirit of Buffalo rides, also were available throughout the summer.

“It has been a summer to remember at Canalside , said Ryan Coate, Global Spectrum General Manager at Canalside. “Like our over the top July 4th celebration, this season has been an explosion of music , color, crowds and most of all -fun. I want to thank everyone whom supported Canalside and all of the staff members that kept the site buzzing with activities and looking beautiful for people to enjoy. We look forward to our autumn events and gliding along the canals on skates this winter.”

Ascetically, Canalside has never looked better with additional seating, expanded garden areas and landscaping. An array of artwork also added to the visual excitement on the waterfront. Albright Knox brought the very popular Shark Girl sculpture; drawing hundreds of people anxious see what the buzz as they lined up to take selfies of their own. The extraordinary MirrorMirror exhibit reflected the beauty of Canalside from all angles. In addition, the echo Art Fair brought three site-specific art installations to Canalside. The public has until September 5th to vote at the Information Booth at Canalside for their favorite echo installation. The winner of the People’s Choice Prize will be announced at the fourth annual echo Art Fair, which takes place at the downtown Buffalo and Erie County Public Library September 6-7th.

Buffalo Spree Magazine recognized Canalside for “Best New Workout Spot” and “Best Outdoor Concert” in its Best of WNY Awards. Canalside was also proud to be nominated in three categories—Most Inspiring Place, Best Place to Watch a Sunset and Best People Watching—this year for the Artvoice Best of Buffalo Awards!

Just because sandals and sun hats are packed away doesn’t mean the fun is done at Canalside though. There is still much to look forward to, including Buffalo’s Biggest Football Pep Rally on Friday, September 5 with free admission and live music from Nik and the Nice Guys; the last paid concert of the season, featuring Foster and the People on September 11; the Buffalo Maritime Festival from September 19 to 21; Canalside happy hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday continuing through September; Buffalo Saturday Artisan Market continues through October and more. For more information, visit www.canalsidebuffalo.com.

And, before you know it, there will be ice skating on the historically aligned canals on the site of the former Memorial Auditorium. The ice is expected to be ready by Thanksgiving 2014.